Monday, April 27, 2020

MG Fantasy review of The Key of Skeleton Peak (Legends of the Lost Causes #3) by Brad McLelland & Louis Sylvester

44281017The Key of Skeleton Peak (Legends of the Lost Causes #3) by Brad McLelland & Louis Sylvester
Format:  Hardcover
Henry Holt & Company
Number of Pages:  464
March 17th, 2020
Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Opening Line:  "For eighty-five days, Miguel Herrera rode on Chantico's weary back."

Publishers Description:    Dark magic meets the Old West in this third installment of the Legends of the Lost Causes, as a group of vigilante orphans go head-to-head against an outlaw sorcerer in pursuit of an ancient and powerful magical artifact!

Keech Blackwood and his fellow Lost Causes have won their share of battles, but the war against the ruthless sorcerer Reverend Rose still rages on.

This time, the Lost Causes face their most perilous trial yet: stopping Rose and his henchmen from retrieving an ancient, powerful object that would help return him to his full, frightening strength. As the vigilante orphans race to the dangerous depths of Skeleton Peak, the sight of the magical object, they’ll have to outmaneuver Rose’s most faithful—and menacing—ally: an inhuman creature spawned by darkness and shadow. But ever in pursuit of justice and vengeance for their fallen families, the Lost Causes won’t give up without a fight.

My Thoughts:  

I must say it's been a wonderful distraction and pleasure to read the Legends of Lost Causes series over the last month.  The world-building has been awesome and the authors really root you in the wild west.  Including even the smallest details like using cottonwood buds as a natural remedy for wound healing.  There's plenty of instances of traveling by horseback and all the perils associated with climbing up mountains.  With some exciting moments of danger thrown in to ramp the suspense.  

The Key of Skeleton Peak also contained an exceptionally dark character which I loved named Ignatio, who was one of Reverand Rose's lieutenants and created these creepy shadow demons by peeling off their tattoo from his body.   He's the kinda character of nightmares, but boy is he done so well.  And poor Keech, who seemed to be straying away from his Pa's teaches, causing his trail mates to distrust him, even questioning his motives.  Were his actions rash or was he really following his gut instincts?  Normally, he wouldn't be the kind of person who you'd think would barrel into danger, but Keech started to change.  He started to perform more dark magic and I was really concerned about what kind of influence it was having on him.  He made some horrible mistakes and put others in danger by performing dark magic, and it was hard not to worry that it would overwhelm him.  

But most of all I really enjoyed all the twists in the story and spending time with all the characters I've come to know and love across the series. Getting a better grasp on their past, be it in the flashback from part 2 where we learn how Miguel got the name Cutter or finding out his connection to Duck's family.  Or reading the excerpts from Doyle's journal punctuating the beginning of each chapter to fill in the missing pieces in Reverend Rose's connection to his Enforcers, including their deceptions and tricks to keep the magical artifacts hidden from him.  Or meeting the two new characters, the tracker named O'Brien and Achilles the dog.  Who aren't who you think they are at first.  Or maybe it's just the moments where I connected all the past tidbits of information and finally saw the hints for something I missed.  Even the moments that came as a total surprise.  It's truly a wonderful story that empathizes teamwork, sacrifice, and the spirit of friendship.  

 **A huge thank you to the Henry Holt & Company for the review copy.  And to Darby Karchut for agreeing to buddy read The Key to Skeleton Peak with me, it was such a pleasure to discuss the final book of the series with you.  ** 

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