Title/Author: Splendor (Luxe, #4) by Anna Godbersen
Published: October 13 2009 by HarperCollins
How I Got It: I didn't feel the need to waste my money, so I took a trip to the library.
Why I Read It: Sigh. Mostly just to see if Godbersen redeemed herself any from what she did in Envy, and to finish the series so that I could move on to better things.
Godbersen has a gift for descriptions that continue to display her abilities as a writer. In this, Splendor matches its three preceding books in its effective descriptions that are not, as in other young adult novels, abused by an overuse of adjectives (can someone say Brisingr?). I could clearly see every scene in my mind's eye as if it was a movie playing just for me.
That said, Splendor's purpose as a novel became painfully clear to me towards the end: a book to tie up loose ends of the plot. While I as a reader regained some measure of the respect I had lost for Diana in Envy, I felt her particular ending to be overly predictable for a character with her personality. As a whole, she plays the overdone part of the strong, independent heroine to a T, and yet it caused me to ho-hum in all its tediousness. The same kind of circumstance can be applied to Carolina's character, as well: a girl who plays the bumbling, lying fool who in the end owns up to her mistakes, and yet still receives a happy ending (though never the one this kind of character expected).
The remaining two females, Elizabeth and Penelope, are different in that there appears to be a sense of forethought and originality on Godbersen's part in their respective personalities, particularly that of Penelope. The selfish, bitchy girls readers love to hate don't often receive their due in their own point-of-view; it was thus a delight for me to be able to follow Penelope in such an intimate way throughout the series. Her character in particular enchanted me until the end. In this respect, Godbersen did not disappoint.
Even so, there was something distinctly missing in Splendor, and with how it met its conclusion. Not quite would I describe it as predictable, but rather that it gave me a nagging sense of "Haven't I seen this somewhere before?" Even after I finished it, knowing this to be the proverbial The End, I couldn't - and still can't - shake the feeling that there HAS to be more to it than what's written in Splendor. Godbersen clearly has talent as a young adult fiction writer, but it may be that she hasn't fully developed and primed her skills yet; I feel she has the potential to have done better with Splendor as a concluding novel.
For what it is, the Luxe series carries its appeal all the way through 'til the end, that appeal being directed towards a young adult audience. For a more mature and experienced reader, however, he or she might find something wanting in Splendor just as I did.
2 ½ stars.
There's really not much to say as to why it warrants 2 ½ stars. I think in this case, my review is self-explanatory.