Reviews

The Border, by Don Winslow

kitty03's review against another edition

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challenging dark informative reflective tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.0


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msalane's review against another edition

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dark informative tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

lennartvn's review

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challenging dark tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated

3.5

Fitting end to a trilogy. Good read for vacation or between more complex material. Writing was a little better again though some stuff still made me cringe.

familiarr_strangerr's review against another edition

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adventurous dark informative fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

barfly's review against another edition

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5.0

A magnificently crafted ending to an epic story.

jamesmalik's review

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dark emotional tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

 Don Winslow has constructed an epic saga of not just the story of a DEA agent or Druglords. But a whole continent stifled with war. Even if this was all fiction (WHICH IT ISN'T) he has still created something beautiful and horrifying. This last book hits harder because of how recent and close to the present it feels, some of the things that happen I recognize happening in my adult life.

All I have to say after reading this is: THE WAR ON DRUGS NEED TO END!! 

auspea's review against another edition

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1.0

I got about 60% through before calling it quits. Meh.

bishop's review against another edition

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adventurous dark sad tense medium-paced

3.5

stuartjash's review against another edition

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5.0

Don Winslow is a master. This is such a great ending to a fantastic trilogy.

This book locks you in within 5 minutes of starting it, and it does not let up until the last words.

I would HIGHLY recommend reading the first two books in the series if you have not done so yet. It will help give this story a lot more power, and it will greatly help with certain understanding of parts.

I've seen some reviews about this book being too political. I agree, it is very political, but then again, the drug war is entirely political. It isn't just cartels moving drugs across the border. There is much more to it, and Winslow does a great job at describing it. Obviously, with this title and the current state of the political climate in the United States, it had to have some sort of political bend. And it's not like Winslow is the first to do this - it's been seen in novels from Stephen King to Vince Flynn.

I thought this book was the epitome of great writing. It had a plot that kept moving and kept you locked in, characters you loved and hated, and everything in between. It's got to be one of the best novels I've read...EVER!

Fantastic job, Mr. Winslow! Sad the trilogy came to an end!

thisotherbookaccount's review against another edition

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4.0

The Cartel by Don Winslow, one of my favourite books from last year, felt like an end for the story between Art Keller and Adan Barrera. However, for Keller, our protagonist, it felt like it was only the beginning of something bigger — and that's basically what The Border is.

The Border, the final part of Winslow's Power of the Dog trilogy, is essentially the final act of Keller — now without Barrera as his sworn enemy. With the head of the Sinaloan cartel taken out, Mexico is in a state of great flux, with a number of opportunities vying to become the new leader. The death of Barrera does not end the drugs flowing into the US either, with the trade somehow flourishing and finding its way into the upper echelons of the government. The Drug War is alive and well on both sides of the border, and Keller, like always, is caught in the middle.

I think The Border is a fitting end to Art Keller as a character. This is the conclusion that his character deserves, considering the action, the scope and the narrative threads that have been introduced thus far. Winslow shifts part of the focus this time to corruption within the US government, as well as the ties that certain individuals have with the cartels down south. After all, when there's money to be made, morality takes the passenger seat in many cases. And just because Keller's personal vendetta against Barrera is over, that doesn't mean that he's won the war just yet.

And I suppose that's part of the weak link for The Border. While it is still a plot driven freight train, there are multiple train tracks this time that don't always lead anywhere. In Mexico, we used to have villains that we love to hate, like Adan Barrera himself and the murderous Zetas in the first two books of the series. This time, we have multiple small-time players, consisting mostly of former cartel leaders and their respective children. Dividing the attention among multiple parties aside, none of them seem to rise up to the level of villainy that Barrera and the Zetas had in the previous books. As a result you do lose a bit of that tension.

I also feel like Winslow introduced way too many characters that weren't exactly ancillary to the main narrative. I understand his desire to tell stories on the ground, about how the drug trade is impacting real people, like addicts and police officers forced to go undercover. However, despite the efforts, they just feel so far removed from the tension between the corrupted government officials and the cartels that Keller is trying to fight. It doesn't help that the last 100 pages or so does lose a bit of steam, since it is mainly focused on the part of the narrative that I did care less about. There's even a 30-page stretch with Keller recounting the ENTIRE trilogy in court, plot point by plot point. And while that might be necessary for those that have forgotten the details of the previous books, it does dampen the forward momentum that he's built up along the way.

Still, The Border, as a conclusion to a trilogy, feels right. It isn't pack quite as many shocking moments or narrative tension as before, but it is still a worth entry to the series. If only we could have had a better cast of villains and a more economical approach to storylines.