When I was fairly young, I read Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. Although, for one reason or another, I never got more than halfway through the second book in the series, I read Inkheart many times. In Inkheart, one of the characters talks about the importance of endpapers in books. It’s been years since I’ve read it, so I might be wrong, but I think they said the endpapers were like the curtains before and after a play, and they should be dark blue or red. The endpapers in the Pretty Little Liars series are all white. I didn’t notice this at first because I read at least the first six books in paperback. After that, I started getting the books from the library, and I think those have all been hardcovers, but I didn’t notice until now that every single book has white endpapers. Even if I can say nothing else positive about this series, I can say that it had the opportunity for beautiful endpapers. Each book is a different, bright color, so why not make each book have endpapers that are the same color as the cover but in a darker shade? The last book in the series has a black cover, so it could have bright red endpapers. It would have a nice contrast, and, in my opinion, it would make the books look a lot better. At the very least, it would satisfy that part of me that was shaped by obsessively reading Cornelia Funke’s books as a child.
There was a little more character development in this book, but it wasn’t done the way I would have liked it to be. In a very short amount pages, Emily went from being her normal self to tearing apart a kitchen with her bare hands and threatening to murder someone. In her defense, she had been through a lot (Ali tried to drown her, her girlfriend was murdered, and, of course, all the things that happened in the books before this), but it seems like she changed very quickly. I’m a musician, not a psychologist, so I might be wrong, but my uninformed opinion on this is that she changed very quickly, and, to me, it seems like it may be unrealistic. In the span of two pages she went from being fine to driving to the house Ali might have been hiding in and trashing part of it. That seems like it’s a bit much.
I’ve mentioned in previous reviews that, since so many of the guys who are love interests in this series end up being horrible, it’s hard to not suspect the new love interest. Like Spencer’s new love interest – Greg. From the start, he seemed far too clingy and obsessive. The emphasis he put on always being there to listen to her, and always being there for her, and always believing whatever she said came off as creepy instead of endearing. (Side note: I’m not adding the italics because I’m putting emphasis on it. Those were in the book. It’s creepy.) Obviously, in a relationship you want someone who’s there for you, and you want someone who listens, but this guy moved way too quickly, which made it seem more creepy than romantic. Of course, Greg ended up being someone who was helping Ali, and, in the end, died because of it, which isn’t really surprising. I’m sure I’ve said this in other reviews, but it’s relevant, so I’m going to say it again. If there had been less relationship drama, and more trustworthy love interests, I wouldn’t automatically suspect the new guy who seems so sweet and nice of actually being a murderer. Since there have been so many horrible love interests, and so many dramatic romantic subplots, it makes you wonder about every new guy introduced, and, more frequently than not, if you think he’s too good to be true, you’re right. In my opinion, with all of the drama happening with Ali, romantic subplots are unnecessary. I’d much rather have chapters from Ali’s perspective than yet another bad boyfriend.
My last complaint is about how Aria’s art was handled. That’s not how being an up and coming artist works. The storyline would have you believe that a collector wants to buy art and decides on a piece by an artist who has literally never sold anything. Then, he offers a hundred thousand dollars for it. After that, Aria gets several calls from art galleries offering to display her work. Those galleries just move around the work by the artists who were going to be having openings that day to fit her work in. In addition to that, she gets many calls asking her for interviews, even though she’s an unknown artist who has only ever sold one painting. It turns out that the famous art collector never actually bought her painting, and it was actually someone posing as his assistant, which still seems unrealistic.
The next paragraph is written by a friend who is an art historian and knows more about these things than I ever will.
Here’s why this doesn’t work. You don’t call a gallery and offer to pay some incredible sum for a work of art by an unknown artist. The sale is a dance. The gallery owner suggests a work, probably several works, the client looks them over and picks one or more they might be interested in. Then they talk about price. The artist and the gallery want a high price, but there is only so much a client will pay, especially for work by an unknown artist. The client doesn’t say what they will pay upfront. The gallery suggests a price, they discuss, and then settle on a price based on what the gallery was originally asking for the piece. Can you imagine walking into a store, seeing something you like, and announcing the price you will pay instead of asking what it sells for? This is bad business. No one does this. As a side note, no gallery owner is going to tell you a work is essentially worthless if you are willing to give up lots of money for it. They’ll just take your money and think you a fool. So, if the character really did call and pay such a price for the work, the gallery would be befuddled by the whole deal. But that’s just the beginning. If a gallery sells a work, that doesn’t entitle the unknown artist to immediate shows in other galleries. This sale sounds like a fluke. An artist would have to have more sales and build a bit of a following before other galleries would be interested. Galleries can’t just drop everything to throw in a new artist for a large show, either. Galleries organize shows months in advance. They have contracts that set the number of works to be shown, when they will be delivered, how long they will be on display, and what prices they will be asking. One might dump a show for Van Gogh (recognizing that there might just be some legal issues with the contract). One would not dump a show for an unknown artist who sold one work to someone who wants to burn their money.
I do think that this book is as successful as the last one I read, which is giving me slightly higher hopes for the last book in the series and the prequel. In addition to that, I’m just glad that the series is going to be over soon. I don’t mind reading a series, but there are so many books in this series. After it’s over, I can read other things, and I can get into a different series that’s maybe a little bit longer.
I gave the last book two stars, so I’m giving this one two stars as well.