My thoughts: So, my story with this series starts in 2011, when I devoured books 1-5 (Blue Bloods to Misguided Angel), plus book 5.5 (Bloody Valentine), plus the companion (Keys to the Repository), almost back-to-back. And I read book 6 (Lost in Time) later that year. Which ended up being pure torture, since I had to wait way more than a year to read this lastest and last instalment in the Blue Bloods series, Gates of Paradise. (Yes, there was Wolf Pact, the spin-off, to tide me over until this one came out, but it wasn't the same - I found Wolf Pact a bit lacking.)
Was it worth, all the waiting and worrying? Completely. I expected closure for my favorite characters, and that's what I got. I expected to have some loose ends tied, and to finally learn some details about the past, and that I got too. In the end, I loved these series for what it is: pure, silly fun, but also cleverly plotted and using vampiric, angelic, and a bit of werewolf and Norse mythology in an impressive way.
This book goes back to the first few books' main narrators (Schuyler, Mimi and Bliss), but it doesn't shy away from having a few chapters with the point of view (POV) of some other characters. Schuyler, separated from Jack, struggles with her role in the final battle and how she may be able to fulfill it. Her story goes on a tangent for a bit, but one that gave her purpose, and I loved how in the end she managed not to repeat the mistakes of the past.
Mimi and Jack, meanwhile, are working for the Dark Prince, as part of their attempt to break their bond. Both face impossible choices and are asked to endanger loved ones. I think Jack played the part of traitor better (probably because I wasn't in his head and didn't get to witness his doubts), he took a chance and he did manage to protect Schuyler after all, and he wasn't afraid of sacrificing himself.
Mimi, on the other hand, tried to stall everything she was asked, and she did only half-hearted attempts at everything, and I'm glad Kingsley saw right through her pathetic attempts at being bad. And, by the way, Kingsley is awesome - he is clever, he kicks ass, and he fights for Mimi. Well done.
Bliss is with the pack, trying to reopen the passages of time and fix something that may well break her heart. The storyline with the wolves is still the weakest one for me, though it is much better than Wolf Pact. I wish there was more time to develop the wolves, because I think they are promising. And I do enjoy how Melissa was able to weave werewolf and Norse mythology in the series.
There are a few chapters on Tomasia's POV, Gabrielle's alias on Florence, and on Gabrielle's POV, and with those we finally get to find out what happened exactly in Florence (and prior to that, Rome). It ties everything nicely, and it answers some doubts I had concerning the Uncorrupted, Lucifer, Ben Chase and Gabrielle's children. I enjoyed to figure out and learn the final pieces of the puzzle. Bliss' origin had had me questioning a few things in earlier books, and it was heartbreaking to learn some of what had transpired between Gabrielle, Michael and Lucifer.
In the end, I found it interesting that, although all of these characters are very old, and have endured many cycles of reincarnation, the physically younger characters in this cycle are the ones that broke the rules, and that brought change to the Blue Bloods. How fitting to have youth to bring forth a new status quo.
I enjoyed to read the final chapters, because they close the story nicely and allowed me to give everyone a farewell knowing they'll be okay, wherever they are, and whomever they are with. The ending that intrigues me is Oliver's. I believe the author mentions in her website a possible second cycle in the Blue Bloods stories, and I think Oliver may play a big part in that. But that's just me speculating.
Publisher: Atom (Little, Brown Book Group UK)