A little while back I read the first four novels in Sara Shepard’s Pretty Little Liars series – Pretty Little Liars, Flawless, Perfect and Unbelievable. I loved them; I loved the mystery surrounding Alison’s disappearance, the mystery of finding out who ‘A’ was and I thought the first four books rounded off the series nicely so I stopped, eager to collect books 5-8 before finishing the series. Turns out, book 8 isn’t the final Pretty Little Liars novel (although it was meant to be – evidently money speaks, if I’m being totally honest) and Sara Shepard is currently working on four more. Book 9 came out this month, with book 10 to follow in December and 11 and 12 to probably be released in 2012!
However, as I mentioned, book 8 rounds off the series so I decided to spend the week finishing up the series – Wicked, Killer, Heartless and Wanted. I expected everything to be resolved, but not in the way it was. Let me tell you, this series has blown my mind. I mean, wow. The books were everything I expected and more. Sara Shepard is excellent at keeping the suspense up. I mean it took 8(!) books for us to find out who Ali’s killer was and 4 to find out who the first ‘A’ was and 4 more for the second ‘A’. I’m sitting here a bit stunned, in fact. I reckon Sara had a lot of help – she has a team of editors, 6 if I counted correctly – but to produce a series so mind-blowing is just something else, despite the undoubted help.
I don’t want to give anything away about the books, because believe me you wouldn’t believe me even if I tried to explain – I don’t even think I entirely believe it all myself. It was an epic conclusion and I think many readers who read the series will be satisfied if they read it all the way through. I was satisfied. I didn’t expect ‘A’ to be who s/he was at all. I was struck dumb, in fact. It was like “Whaaaaaaat?” but it also made sense.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the ride – I love the girls, even if some of their decisions are a bit dubious and it’s a brilliant woven, tight series. My only qualm would be how many boys these girls go through. I mean it was a bit insane, constantly changing book to book and it was all a bit unreal. Nevertheless though I loved the books. They were ridiculously good.
I do debate the wisdom of extra books. No doubt motivated by the fact that the TV series is doing well and the publishers obviously want to make more money, it seems Shepard finished 8 with the intention of being the last one and it seems strange to put them through another spin cycle, another new ‘A’, when it’s all been wrapped up brilliantly. Except for that last freaky page of Wanted, which kind of opens up a can of worms. But really, for me, 8 books is enough and I do wonder if it’s possible to continue the series without messing up everything that’s come before it. I mean it was an epic conclusion, an epic last 30 pages. I’ll probably wait until the final 4 books are released and go from there, because I do love me some Pretty Little Liars…