Archibald Lox and the Pick of Loxes by Darren Shan

Oh, Archie, Archie, Archie… the predicament you are in. Shan’s choice to end Book 7 of the Archibald Lox series where he did guaranteed Archibald Lox and the Pick of Loxes began with a bang. A snarl to be more precise. The return of the hell jackals forces Archie to make a split-second decision that proves how much he has grown over the year.

This will be a spoiler-free review as I read an advance reading copy, and I would never want to spoil a good story.

The overarching theme of this installment can best be described as the revelation of true colors. Almost all our old favorites make an appearance as Archie navigates life in the Merge again. Archie once again proves that he is a young man of his word, which makes him more allies as he faces old enemies.

Another theme that is found throughout this installment is personal judgment. People who present themselves as friends must ask what they truly stand for, and people who present themselves as enemies must decide which side they truly stand on.

While I love the Archibald Lox series and think this installment is great, there are certain events that feel too convenient, too forced, and diminish the character in a way. Other events should be soul-searching for Archie but he seems to not go in his normal direction, and I, as the reader, simply don’t care enough about the character to feel much of anything regarding their choices. Archie’s world in the Merge is both broadening and shrinking as he finds himself, once again, between a rock and a hard place. Shan is a master at the philosophical journey though, so I am confident Archie’s journey will be one worthy of a hero.

Archibald Lox and the Pick of Loxes is a high-stakes fast read that will leave you shocked, angry, and demanding the last installment arrive immediately.

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