(I got an ARC from NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.)
Still a page-turner for me: there was something quite compelling to it no matter what. Unfortunately, I didn't like it as much as I did the previous two books.
I felt Anne had lost some of her intensity, and that her needing to juggle with her school work, friends and investigation looked less like a conundrum, and more like her detaching herself from everything, not caring anymore. The daily scenes with friends, frenemies and people who didn't like her at school were mostly gone. Her "love life" made me wonder what the point to the whole (slight) triangle was, after all. Of course her character couldn't get unscathed from the previous series of events, but this wasn't the Anne I knew and had grown to love.
The mystery this time also seemed less satisfying, perhaps because it was less tied to Wheatley's daily life and occurrences than those in the other books? It answered some questions, which isn't bad, yet it also left a few other strings hanging. For instance, what about Alexis's part in here, what happened to her afterwards? She's one of those unpleasant characters with a past that explains some of their reactions and attitude problems, and it would've been interesting to see her part of the story given an ending as well. However, it's like her arc was just dropped and never picked up again. Same with
who barely appears anyway. And some characters were clearly introduced for the sake of being plot devices, like the rio of boys and their freshman girl target. This could have developed into more, yet never did.
Speaking of the ending, the big reveal and how it unfolded was sort of rushed; and what happened after, the offer made to Ann, was rather unrealistic. It hints at a potential new series, one that would happen on a whole other level, but I'm not sure if I'd appreciate that or not. Part of my interest for the series was the boarding school setting, so with this potentially removed, I don't know...
I'm torn, really. I liked this series a lot, and I sort of liked this third installment as well, but it left me terribly unsatisfied, compared to the others, and way too flat.