Parents' Guide to

The Bronzed Beasts: The Gilded Wolves, Book 3

By Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Venice-set finale combines thrills and depth.

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This treasure-hunting magical series with fantastic characters ends in a flourish of divine light and profound feeling. But thanks to Ruslan, The Bronzed Beasts' fabulous villain, the story nearly ends much differently. Ruslan is charming, casually violent, incredibly unhinged, and a worthy adversary for Severin who's rarely ruffled by anyone. Both Severin and Ruslan want to be gods, both are obviously misguided, but in very different ways.

Severin's quest to save Laila with the divine lyre only he can play, and only in the most sacred place, is also about saving himself and regaining the trust of his friends. It takes him through the wonders of Venice all masked up for a secret, magical carnival, and to the horrors of a place called Poveglia, or Plague Island -- it actually exists, and why aren't more creepy stories set here? Wow. The quest tests everyone to the extreme. Zofia's struggle to free herself from the darkness and be a light for others feels particularly poignant. And Severin's transformation continues long after whatever happens in his divine encounter (we won't spoil it here). While chapters after climactic action that recount months and years of characters' lives can often feel like too much, here's a time when it almost doesn't feel like enough. Severin, Zofia, Enrique, Laila, and Hypnos all deserve their long encore.

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