Sealed with a Kiss by Natalie Severine and Eric Severine
I’m rather sad as I write this review today as one of my favourite series of the year has come to a close. There are some characters that simply find their way into your heart and their story holds you always.
This, the thirteenth and final review of the Lily Quinn series written by Natalie and Eric Severine leaves me wanting and needing something more, which for me is the single thing that the best written stories have. But there’s something more to share, which you’ll find in the postscript to this review.
You can find my first review here, the second here, the third here, the fourth here, and the fifth review here. The sixth review be found here and the review of the seventh work can be found here. The review of the eighth work in the series can be found here and my review of the ninth work is here with the tenth review here. My review of the eleventh work can be found here and my prior review in the series can be found here on the Tale.
There are some truths we never see. We have the expectation, knowing, without fear, that a smile will be there, the warmth is awaiting us. When that is threatened, when the choice to be made isn’t really one, the one thing we’ve never been able to say… is.
Knowing what you must do is not the answer. Having your truth, being able to express it is. For doing the impossible means not listening to those that say it is… It is listening to one’s own soul that does.
It tells the story of:
My name is Lily Quinn and this is my last story.
It’s been a long, strange year. The strangest of my life and you know by now just how weird that is. I fought off everything that Asmodai could throw at me and thought it was all finally over. I thought the world was safe and Asmodai had no more tricks left to pull.
I was wrong.
There is no such thing as a free lunch. There’s always a price to be paid, an obstacle to overcome. Things can change, but at the same time there are some things that never do. For Lily, the price is one that she cannot pay, but needs to. It’s a choice to be made, but at a price. The truth that has been staring into her eyes for years needs to be accepted, believed in. For when you are trying to do the impossible, you need something to believe in. Sometimes, that’s a simple as the smile you’ve always known.
One of the things that I’ve wanted to see unfold in Lily’s story was her finally seeing what’s been there for her entire life. To open herself to being able to tell Max she loves him, to accept the truth which she’s always been on the edge of, but never going over. The same is true of Max, he’s always almost been there, trying to say the words, but never actually done so. Considering this story as a whole, this is what all else revolves around. The opening of Lily’s eyes to what Max has always been there for.
How that story plays out involves a lot of twists and turns, but they are silly or out of place. Lily’s past, those she’s helped, or been at odds with, come back in this story and in doing so that forces Lily to develop that last little bit as a character that she’s needed to. The wall that she’s had around herself and what we, as the reader, sees, gets torn down at several times. The most achingly devastating moment doesn’t involve demons, wizards, battles or any sort of action. It comes from Lily crying, knowing that she hasn’t said the one thing she needs to and she might not be able to.
Lily has been lost for the last little while in the series. That one scene, that one truth that hammers at her emotionally turns things around and Lily makes a telling choice. It’s that one step on a long path which needs to be taken, once it is, then the story ramps up the action, the characters and the plot to an amazingly good telling of what comes next.
There are, of course, plans within plans, and in being so there are a few twists and turns, but they aren’t silly or out of place. They make sense, they push the story along and in doing so they didn’t take away from the core plot. There is some erotica, a lovely scene between Max and Lily at the beginning that I adored, but also a scene involving some “full” succubi that was hot and very evil at the same time.
The telling of the story allows for many threads to be tied up, which I thought was done well. The climax of the story was a revelation that just made me smile. Beyond that, one secret that Lily was keeping, looking for the right moment to reveal, was even more thrilling and where that particular thread went to just made me want more.
The conclusion of the series was a little bit melancholy for me, mostly just from turning each page and knowing there were fewer and fewer to be. There are threads that I really want to see unfold, there are characters that I’d like to know what happens next, especially Max and Lily, but many others as well. The circle around Lily finds a way to come to an emotional conclusion, to allow the possibly of Lily to have some parts of her life reconciled. The story matters, the characters have their stories told and told well. That, more than anything else, it what captivated me.
A story that’s true to Lily, that tells of her world, what she needs and has. It’s transformational for Lily and Max in so many ways but never leaves who they are to the side. It’s important, always, to have an ending, after being invested in characters that means something. To have that, truly, makes this series wonderful.
Five pitchforks out of five.
A truly satisfying ending to Lily’s story, but with the door open to, I hope, something more to be. It’s rare to have threads tied up well, for a series to answer the questions that have been haunting it since the beginning. I was expecting quite a lot and in almost every way Lily’s story came to a conclusion that made everything worthwhile.
But I want more and dearly so. There are so many paths open to be explored, and the epilogue teases something delightful that I’d dearly love to see. This might be the end of Lily’s beginning, but I’m going to hope that it isn’t the end of these authors playing in this universe.
A Postscript: There’s a bit of a personal note that I’ll make here. There is, as I mentioned, an epilogue to this work, a new character appears to bring the series to… if not a conclusion, then a hopeful pause. It is the very last line which… really made me break down in tears. Earlier his year, my Eternal’s mother was called home by Goddess. While I know where the character’s name comes from within the series… and it is exactly what I would have expected Lily to do in all honesty… It struck myself and my Eternal very hard.
While I know that it shouldn’t have done so, being as emotionally attached to this series as I have been, and the events of our past year, the moment of seeing her name made me cry, but smile as well.
Something I am grateful for.