Sunday, August 8, 2010

Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour by Bryan Lee O'Malley

Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour
by Bryan Lee O'Malley
Oni Press, 2010
245 pages

I made the mistake of starting to read this one in bed before work one morning. Forty-five minutes later, I had a grand total of ten minutes to get up, eat breakfast, brush teeth, get dressed, and get out the door in order to be at work on time. And I still hadn't finished the book.

I find it hard to know what to say about this last book of the Scott Pilgrim series. I don't want to spoil anyone, of course, and further, it's hard to wrap up a series I've enjoyed so much. So, before I get into a slightly deeper discussion, let me just say I think this book was a good end to the series. It wasn't a horrid disappointment, nor did it blow me away; it just fit. I don't think it had the shiny-new, silly and charming wit of the first two books; I didn't think it was as clever. But it went in the direction it had been set up to go for the past three books, fully committed and very entertaining.

fishy summed up this volume as "everyone realizing they're dicks." Which... um, yep, that does it. One of the reviews I've seen put it this way: "Scott realizes he's not as harmless as he thinks he is." I like that a lot, because I think that comment gets at the heart of Scott Pilgrim's character. He doesn't have a very high opinion of himself and therefore can't conceive that he might matter enough to hurt someone else. Scott is often very immature, to the point where sometimes, despite his charm, he is unlikeable. But by the end of Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour he starts to realize that, and one actually has some hope for him. Part of what I love about this series is the fallibility of all of the characters. None of them are perfect and most of them have both good and bad characteristics. Except maybe Gideon and most of the evil exes.

There were parts of this volume that were confusing, never fully explained, and not in a good way. I think I figured most of it out, but some stuff was left unsaid that confused me, as opposed to entertained me. And in some cases, the explanations I came up with from the text were pretty lame, as opposed to what I was hoping for -- so it's possible that I just decided that those parts were more mysterious than they actually were, if that makes sense. I did like that the ending gave us closure on a couple of stories that O'Malley had started for other characters. I liked that things were still somewhat ambiguous for everyone else.

I probably can't talk too much more without getting into spoilers. I enjoyed this book; it wasn't everything I'd hoped it would be, but it was good and I'm satisfied with it as an ending. I'm looking forward to the movie, actually -- which is a rare thing for me. I don't look forward to movies as a rule and I really don't look forward to movies based off of books. I'm still very skeptical about Michael Cera being Scott, but I think I can get over that.

Is it indeed Scott Pilgrim's finest hour? I'm not sure about that, but it's a good end to a great series.


Jill said...

I'm still on the waiting list for this one at my library - glad to hear it was a good conclusion to the series! I will be a little sad to finish it, I think, but of course I can't wait to read it!

Phyl said...

More things I should check out, obviously. I'd never even heard of Scott Pilgrim till the movie came out, and now I'm hearing a lot about its origins and setting in my city. :-) I suppose, as a good imported Torontonian, I should read these, eh?

Ana S. said...

I'm glad to hear you found the ending satisfying despite the confusing parts. You know, despite my reluctance about the series I find that I DO very much want to read this one. I guess that means something :P

Unknown said...

Darla -- I'm very curious to see what you think! I was a little sad to finish it, too, but I needed to know what happened. Especially after the mess at the end of book 5.

Phyl - I really liked this series -- I found it thoroughly enjoyable. Toronto doesn't figure too heavily in the later couple of books, but it's lovingly showcased in the first few.

Nymeth - Sometimes, even when I disliked a book that is part of a series, I just have to know how it turns out! That's where Wikipedia often comes in handy... :P But seriously, it wouldn't eat up too much of your life if you wanted to find out how it ended.