I’m happy to find a forum dedicated to the 3rd off*beat – there’s not enough discussion around about it on the internet.
Unpopular Opinion time, I didn’t like the ending. Let me take you through this since we’re all rational creatures here.
Up to the kiss (and the hug, which was almost better than the kiss; so loving and tender and really felt right), everything was pretty perfect. The slow build of Tory and Colin’s affection felt really natural and it was the perfect pace. They’re two weird kids (one has OCD the other’s consented to a lifetime of restrictive experiments) but they find sanctuary in each other. Their experiences together don’t scream ‘sci fi romance’, there’s no guns or explosions, in fact most of the time they’re studying. How wonderfully ordinary. It makes their affections more tender and true. I love these two as a couple, I was so worried that the affection was so subtle that Jen wouldn’t put them together in the last book!! (agh, the torture!)
So, here’s where I felt a sense of loss. The build up was so good; best example of perfect-length-romance-build I can think of. I didn’t like when Colin left; he was being really selfish. He didn’t leave Tory a note, he left him a plant in the back of his wardrobe saying “he’ll figure it out”. How unfair for Tory to give his affections to someone who won’t fight for them. Of course, Colin is under a lot of pressure from his life of duty and isolation and he’s very shy and introverted, but this felt too callous. I thought they wanted to be together and Colin just upped and left. A kidnap would have been okay , but this was Colin’s free will. (Not that I want Colin kidnapped!)
At first this felt like a bit of an emotion-tease, which worked. Colin and Tory were reunited and the sense of loss made the unity more powerful. After the most perfect kiss and hug, Colin just deserts him again!! with nothing more than a “you’ll figure it out” and some plant feed – seriously, dude! Tory isn’t there to chase after you; if you want to be with him you have to work together. That’s just what a relationship is. It’s unfair on Tory. Of course, Colin is under these crazy restrictions. Then again he could just leave the Gaia project. But then he’s letting down his parent’s legacy. But his parents are gone and all Colin will have is doctor Garet who is clinical and cold and he’s choosing this over Tory who loves him.
The epilogue; it was set after they graduated high school, clearly even more time after that since Tory graduated college as a doctor, so much stuff has happened to them. To top that off, Tory hasn’t even been living for himself. Colin isn’t acting like a loving and understanding partner he’s being uncompromising and dictating how Tory has to live to be with him. Dangling the promise of love. This puts a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. I don’t like feeling. Tory is being used. (And how is a doctor going to have a romance with one of his patients? Code of practise, people?)
I don’t know, I guess I wanted to see a conclusion when they were still the age we knew them. The combination of Colin’s abandonment, Tory’s pain, then the years of living completely separate lives just makes them different people. Jen started them on a great story and ended them in a different one I have no knowledge of. I don’t know.
Aaaaaanyway, I’m sorry this is so long. I love the series so much and I wanted to tell Jen and some of the fan base how It made me feel. The wait between book 2 and 3 has probably just intensified my emotions. I’d love to chat more about this, and please feel free to challenge anything i’ve said! If i’ve made you think “Woah, that is the total opposite of my feelings!” then let’s discuss it – I’d like to get some other angles on the manga.
Jen, I have to thank you so much firstly for drawing this and then for persevering through the publishing nightmare that no author should ever have to experience.