There is something deeply bittersweet about the last book in a series.

Has anyone else ever felt this? You spend two, three, even five books lost in a single world, traveling with a group of characters through hardship, loss, and triumph, and then suddenly, you pick up the final book and realize . . . this is it.

This is the final adventure you will share together. The last glimpse into a world that lives within the page. You can go back and revisit where you’ve already been, of course, but you can’t move forward any further. Once you reach the last page, your ticket into this particular world has reached its limit, and you have to find another book to wander in.

(Or reread the old series obsessively because you aren’t ready to let go just yet. We’ve all been there. No judgment.)

For me, one of the hardest ends to a brilliant series was Inkdeath, the last book in Cornelia Funke’s Inkworld series. The two previous books in the series, Inkheart and Inkspell, are some of my favorite fantasy novels ever. They are beautifully written, deeply engaging works that have held me spellbound from the moment I picked them up.

Inkdeath, as the last book in the series, had a lot to live up to as a finale, and yet it more than surpassed any expectation that I had of it.

Now permanent residents of the Inkworld, Mo and his daughter Meggie are adapting to the beauty—and the darkness—that surrounds them on a daily basis. The Adderhead, now rendered immortal by the White Book that Mo bound for him, is ruling the Inkworld with an iron fist. Dustfinger has been taken by the White Women, and the Adderhead’s pompous brother-in-law has taken over Ombra castle, taxing the already impoverished people into starvation. Their only hope lies in the Bluejay, the name of the robber that Fenoglio, this world’s author, has styled after Mo.

Mo himself has taken on the role of the Bluejay, and his dangerous escapades have his wife and daughter fearing for his safety. But Mo, far from being willing to listen to their warnings, has found that he has a taste for the danger that he’s put himself in. In many ways, he has forgotten that the Inkworld is anything but an exciting story, one in which he is allowed to play the hero.

But his new role—and his defiance of Death’s supremacy in the previous book—soon land him in more trouble than he can escape from. All too soon, he is struggling to save not only his own life, but his daughter’s as well.

Inkdeath is a stunning conclusion to the Inkworld series, and although there have been rumors of a fourth book in the works (we can always hope, right?), it perfectly finishes the series off on its own. Still, I was sad to see this stunning series of books come to an end.

Do you have a book series that you were disappointed to see end? If so, let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear about it!

He looked up at the towers, as many of them as if a new one grew every year, at the maze of oriels and bridges and the stone griffin above the gateway. “It didn’t look like a happy ending, Meggie,” he heard himself reply. “It looked like a place from which no one ever comes back.”

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