I enjoyed this for what it was, but this series has never really been a 5-star series for me. To be honest, I think I’ve fallen out of love for this series. I loved And I Darken, but Now I Rise and Bright We Burn I just felt lukewarm about. My problem with this book (and Now I Rise) basically comes down to one thing: too much plot, too little character. I like books where characters talk. I’m not talking about superficial, expository dialogue. I’m talking about the kind of dialogue that builds characters: complicated, messy conversations rife with anger and jealousy and revelations and just a lot of Feelings. And I don’t need this dialogue to be dramatic, I just need it to develop the characters and their dynamics with each other. Where Bright We Burn falls short is that that dialogue is just not there. The 3 main characters are almost never together, so naturally, they never get the chance to properly talk. And I love introspection as much as the next person (Call Me By Your Name was my favourite book of last year, and lol that book is like 99% introspection), but I’d also like to see the way characters articulate and express those introspections.
To add onto this, I felt like, just as with Now I Rise, this installment was really bogged down by its plot. There are so many moving parts to this plot that the characters end up taking a backseat to its various details and complications. Political maneuvering and planning is all fun and games until you stop caring about the characters involved in it. All of this is not to say that I was disappointed by the ending of this trilogy, per se. It was more its execution that I found subpar, not necessarily the plot itself. Though White arrived at the book’s ending kind of abruptly, I liked the ending nonetheless. It’s a solid trilogy with a lot to offer, but it’s unfortunately not gonna become a favourite of mine anytime soon.