📖Finale (Academy of Stardom Book 4) by Bea Paige

From the gutter to the stars…
Dance has always been the answer to everything. It soothed my soul, kept me sane, gave me purpose. It brought the Breakers back to me. It healed us. This time dance isn’t enough.
It’s time to face our enemies. It’s time I fight back. But at what cost? My soul? The death of everyone I care about? All I can be certain of is this…
I’m willing to do anything to protect the people I love. Even becoming a monster. This time there’ll be no rehearsals, just our grand finale. I pray it won’t be our last.

I didn’t read this as I read the others. I read this at a more sedate pace. Not that the action way any less than the others, I just felt like this book was slower and it was a little harder to capture my attention straight off.

Having read the series, I knew the confrontation was coming but I didn’t know it would be so twisted. Parts of the reveal felt so left wing I didn’t understand why they were pieces on the board at all. Even after reading to the end some of the climactic plot feels funny to me. Like added extras instead of part of the grand plan.

Pen goes through a lot in this book and it’s here that we see her vulnerability take over and see her grasping for straws. It was needed and in pushing the character further, I got to understand her a lot more.

There were again, new characters in this book as well as the exploration of some existing ones. It wasn’t unwelcome but I did wonder at the reasoning behind it.

Which brings me to the final chapter. After the end of the final plot I wanted a more in depth HEA but what I got was the set up to another series and that pissed me off. It showed off the reason new/existing characters were being explored as the author has written books on their stories. But here’s the thing…

In ending the book that way I feel like the characters were cheated out of a more concrete HEA/ The ending of the book is the only thing that stops this being a 5 star read.

To see Pen’s story come to a close was rewarding because as a character, she’s been through a lot and anything less than perfect for her in the end would have been disappointing.

There is a lot of ‘I’ll die for you’ talk in this book and while that would usually make me groan and shake my head in annoyance, this spoke of the bonds between them and showed me how far they had come. Don’t get me wrong, it was totally a ‘male protection’ thing but it was written correctly and in the right context to fit the characters.

Xeno, Dax, Zayn, and York while still four of the main characters, take a step back to allow Pen to shine more brightly. It is after all, Pen who has the most demons to battle, so she needed the light to be able to get there.

Amid all the violence and vulnerability, dance is still important and their need to dance doesn’t diminish. It may falter and face challenges but dancing is such a passion to these characters that without it, the narrative just wouldn’t function.

The author felt the ending worked or she wouldn’t have ended it, so, I am miffed but happy.

I give this book: ✨✨✨✨

On the series as a whole – I have been thoroughly entertained and involved. TikTok may have won this round of recommendation. Let’s see what happens next.

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