Bex Ellman and Ketty Smith meet in London. As the war heats up around them, Bex and Ketty must learn to trust each other. With her friends and family in danger, Bex needs Ketty to help rescue them. For Ketty, working with Bex is a matter of survival. When Victory is declared, both will be held accountable for their decisions.
It’s always going to be hard ending a series and especially one that has been as emotive and compelling as Battle Ground. Living up to reader expectation about a finale that has been building over four previous books may not always hit the mark, but interestingly, what Rachel Churcher does, is to take you in a completely unexpected direction entirely!
Rather than slowly building tension up to a final climactic showdown and rescue, that is only part of the story and one that is over surprisingly quickly. It then becomes clear that Victory Day is more of a reflective piece, what comes next and how does society rebuild? Just how do people reconcile the choices they have made? One of the most touching parts of Victory Day is how the group reflect upon their actions and actually hold themselves to account in a show of maturity beyond their years. That though, is masterfully balanced with scenes where time is taken to remind us that these characters are just still kids underneath it all. This stark contrast really stood out and left me feeling pretty emotional at times.
Bex and Ketty continue to blur the lines between them with the way they are being used, morphing from one front line doll to another as their manipulations become the same, both inhabiting and then rejecting the roles that they had been bound in. Bex did pull it back for me in this book, I found her to be a little cold and, I thought, going down a dangerous path in Fighting Back, but as always it’s her friendships that see her right. I just also want to take this point in time to say Kudos to the author for not once sending Bex down the romance route, and letting her be the strong and brave character that she is by her own volition. Ketty, I have slowly warmed to in the last couple of books and whilst I did still find her to be calculating and out for herself, probably more than ever, her human side was given a chance to shine. I really liked how she slowly came to realisations about her choices and how each time she was challenged she again reflected rather than lashed out. There are some nice touches with their last chapters but I’ll let you see those for yourself.
In balance, I did struggle a little with the quick fire POV changing chapters near the start, it left me a little dizzy with the back and forth and the slight overlap. I suppose it gave more of a feel of what the characters were going through with the chaos going on around them, perhaps it’s just my old brain! I’m not sure how I felt about the King either, but hey, its fiction and it’s really a small part that he plays.
Victory day was a truly satisfying ending to the series though, I felt it went in a great direction and the ending was spot on without resorting to saccharine and left a feeling that everyone is where they should be. Given the turn of events in the UK which occurred between the release of Fighting Back and Victory Day it really did bring a new dimension to how I felt reading, I hope more than ever that this series remains a fiction.