Jaclyn Moriarty, A Tangle of Gold (The Colours of Madeleine #3). Pan Macmillan Australia, 23 Feb 2016. 508 pp., $19.99 (pbk). ISBN: 9781743533239
The third and final instalment of The Colours of Madeleine is finally here. The first two books inspired many Goodreads gifs about grabby hands, and ticking clocks. They were also imaginative, magical, whimsical, enchanting, unique, and complex. So what’s left to say about the third? All of those still apply, but A Tangle of Gold includes another important element. It concludes the series in a highly satisfying and impressive way.
I was utterly charmed by the first two books. So it’s difficult to write about this one without sounding like a demented fan. There’s always the chance when a person speaks so highly of a book, or a series, that it might not live up to those expectations. Of course, I think the series does, and I think A Tangle of Gold actually exceeds them.
A Tangle of Gold is narrated mostly by Elliot and Madeleine, however, often their friends are not with either of them, so Keira is a strong voice as well. The first two books built a complex array of events and places, and A Tangle of Gold, at just over 500 pages, adds even more complications, and weaves even more characters through the story. It also further develops established characters. The word ‘tangle’ in the title is most illuminating—both in terms of the themes of the book, and the way readers have to navigate it. We need to reach into that tangled web of characters, motivations, and relationships to tease out the threads, smooth them down, and follow them to the origins of the disturbance of Cello. It’s demanding and tantalising, and nerve-racking.
I love that the beginning does not go to plan. Madeleine and Elliot are finally together, in the same dimension, in the same location. And it’s awkward, and uncomfortable, and mostly silent. When Elliot heads back to Cello, Madeleine cannot work out why everything went wrong. But there’s very little time to indulge in wasted wishes and regrets. Both of them need to apply their resourcefulness and their energies into keeping Cello from being overrun by Hostiles, the Jagged Edge Elite, and the WSU. There’s also the chance of becoming embroiled in a never-ending war with the Kingdom of Aldhibah. Not to mention Cello might disappear altogether. No pressure guys.
That’s a lot of burden on the shoulders of two teenagers. Luckily they have a merry band of accomplices, all equally well-developed, all with their own strengths and talents, and all committed to saving Cello (if not entirely for the same reasons). It’s a complicated mess, but eventually, as the tangles slowly un-weave, revealing many shocking twists, resulting in sadness and heartache, Moriarty gently and joyfully leads us to a glorious resolution.
I cannot speak any more highly of this fantastic series. It’s (seriously) ambitious, it’s (startlingly) original, and it’s (sadly) finished. Highly recommended.
Reviewed by Trisha Buckley