While the reminiscing by Tom is interspersed enough that it doesn't slow the plot, those that have read the entire series might like the walk down memory lane, while others might not. It doesn't forward the plot although I could maybe argue that it shows Tom is now ready to take over the spook business. His character arc is mainly learning to stand on his own and trust his own instincts. Alice takes a back seat and is out-of-character for much of the beginning. She has always represented the mixture of good and evil and in most of this novel she is evil, which is different from her presentation in the previous books. I was happy to see at the end the return of her more familiar ambiguous character that looks differently at right or wrong than the average person. The romance was awkward and didn't quite work for me.
The forces of evil are putting the Fiend together except this time Alice is helping a powerful mage. This part of the plot needed to be fleshed out more because Alice's motivations and casting aside of friendships to the point of sacrificing Grimalkin and others just didn't make sense to me. I would have expected her to be torn more but she just stepped into the cauldron of evil and suppressed her good side. It doesn't make much sense until the end. In the grand battle at the end I expected Alice and the mage to be present but they aren't. Grimalkin gets more page time in this book then Alice and I find her character one dimensional and less interesting than Alice. I really wanted Tom and Alice to meet up and argue more about what she was doing. Tom wonders if she's in a thrall or power of the mage, but its pretty obvious that she isn't. So why would she turn head-over-heals bonkers over a thousand year old man at first sight? Her loyalty to Tom is a consistent trait throughout all the books and this is why I say she is out-of-character in the beginning with her harsh words to Tom.
John's death should have moved me, but it didn't. It seemed a good time to retire his character. He'd changed enough to accept Tom's incorporation of magic into a spook's life and it seemed fitting so that Tom could be on his own. John shows a softer side to Tom that foreshadows his demise. I wasn't keen on the prophecy because it gave away some major plot points. This technique adds tension but I find that I prefer different ways to pull the reader along. The problem with a series this long the characters have not changed much and the plot starts to feel recycled. But really, this is more candy reading for me. I just want something fast and entertaining and that is what I got. I'm not expecting anything too deep. I do always look forward to Delaney's creepy monsters and the Boggart's new alliance with Tom was a great touch. At least we are done with the Fiend. Hooray.