The final book in The Divide trilogy - and yes, definitely the final book, there is no way the story could continue ...
I have already reviewed the first two books ('The Divide' and 'Back to the Divide') and would strongly recommend that they be read first, so although I will include a very brief synopsis of what has gone before, really I am writing on the assumption that the reader is familiar with the story so far.
~~~ The very brief synopsis ~~~
Felix is our hero, who in the first book crossed the Divide to a world where magic is reality and science is a legend. He became great friends with a tangle-child named Betony, and other creatures who are myths to us but fact in Betony's world. His quest is to find a cure for the heart condition which threatens his life. The world across the Divide is populated with pixies, griffins, sphinxes, magic carpets - but no science. In the second book, Felix needs to cross the Divide again to find the antidote to a spell which turned his parents to stone.
~~~ Plot of this book ~~~
At last it is Betony's turn to visit Felix in our world - she duly arrives on Nimby, the flying carpet, but there is a hitch. On his last visit, Felix brought back a brandee (genie) in a K'Faddle magic lamp. Steven Rheinhart (Rhino) - a bully at Felix's school - inadvertently lets the brandee out, a very disgruntled brandee at that ("spending most of your life as a cloud of gas is as disappointing as liver without onions"), but then gets trapped himself inside the lamp. Inside the lamp he comes across a Jinx Box - and this is the Jinx of the title.
One of the main premises of this series is that "magic and science don't mix". The magic needs to be got back across the Divide - so we very soon find ourselves back in Betony's world - so much for her holiday with Felix!
As the story develops, we discover that each in their own way, both Rhino and the jinx box threaten the delicate balance, putting both Felix's and Betony's worlds at risk.
The plot is complex and I don't want to give too much away, so I'll leave it at that!
~~~ Characters ~~~
Characterisation is really well-developed. The friendship between Felix and Betony is a really strong and believable one. Plenty of old friends are back in this third book - but also new ones. With unprepossessing looks and habits the carrionwing Scoffit is not immediately appealing, but shows a soft side. My favourite of the new characters is Fuzzy - the chick of mathematician male brazzle (griffin) Ironclaw and historian librarian female Thornbeak. She hatched at the end of the second book, but is now rather rebellious "she'd had some of her spikiest golden feathers dyed black and her talons painted with pink and orange lacquer".
~~~ Opinion ~~~
This whole trilogy is wild, funny, clever, imaginative and original, with plenty to think about. It is definitely a complete story - the third book rounds things off nicely. I really like the mathematician brazzles and puzzle-loving sphinxes - they add an interesting element to the whole. The ending is amazing - I never guessed at all what was going to happen, but it is so clever, especially from a mathematical perspective. I found it deeply satisfying. I should say that my daughter didn't like the ending at all - so a bit controversial, and a great talking point.
My daughter loved these books from around age 9, but she is quite an advanced reader. I really loved them as an adult too, and have reread them all more than once. They are books with characters and issues we could talk about.