Friday, March 30, 2012

Happy Birthday to You is an ending with a BANG!


The last book in Brian Rowe’s Happy Birthday series does not disappoint. Rowe ended his second book of the series, Happy Birthday to Me Again, with an ending I was not expecting. So I was excited that I was asked to review the third book in the series and be able to find out what happens to Cam and Liesel when the entire world suffers from the same aging spell as Cameron did in the first book. I was impressed that Brian Rowe was able to transform his series into something totally different from the first two books. He includes a series of short stories throughout the entire book that enable the reader to see what’s happening to the rest of the world while Cam and Liesel are trying to save it.

In the third installment of the Happy Birthday series Cam and Liesel have managed to escape Liesel’s evil sister and finally be together. But not until Cam finds that Liesel has another secret that she must tell him and oh yeah, the entire world will begin to age an entire year everyday they are alive. Now Cameron and Liesel must save the world and Cameron will have to come to terms with a destiny he never saw coming.

Cameron is no longer the arrogant teen boy from the first book. Rowe has managed to take an unlikely hero that would normally be hated by most and turn him into someone that a reader can feel protective of. Cameron now is a fighter for what he loves and does not take anyone in his life for granted. He loves Liesel more than ever and I as a reader felt so bad for the things that Cameron goes through in this book. He’s punched in the stomach over and over with emotional hits that I would have never expected. I think with age people have a way of learning from mistakes and become better versions of themselves. Cameron has this quality now because of his past experiences with the aging spells. That’s why I have the buy in when it comes down to his nobility in Happy Birthday to You.

I was so happy that Liesel was included more in this book. She certainly seemed to wear the pants a bit more in the relationship this time. She does seem a little bit colder when it came to the loss in the world at times but I think that’s to be expected considering the amount of loss she herself has suffered from in her past. Liesel has been hurt a lot, way before she met Cam so she has to have a bit more bite when it comes to her character. I liked that she pushed Cameron to see the ultimate task at hand.

I loved the individual short stories that tied the book up. They sort of reminded me of the first Final Destination movie. You know everyone’s fate but you have to see how it’ll play out no matter how bad it looks. I think Ryan’s story was the most OMG moment of the book. The suspense was written perfectly. Then came the story about Cameron’s dad and I had to literally stop and read it again just to make sure author Rowe did what I think he just did! It was so awesomely gruesome and weirdly perfect. Now I want to check out Mr. Rowe’s horror story Townhouse just because of these great individual stories.

Happy Birthday to You had great pace and was a quick read. It is very different from the first two books but it works. This is the book that should be different only because it’s the one closing up the series. Brian Rowe pulls out all the stops in Happy Birthday to You, and pushes the characters his fans are invested in to their limits. The series closes out beautifully and the ending, even though hard, had to happen. It wouldn’t have been good otherwise. So take a look at Brian Rowe’s series and check out his other books if you want a fun rollercoaster read.    

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