As much as it pains me, this really isn't 4 stars - it's really about 3.5.I wanted to keep it at three stars, but after starting to reason out why, I knew why I couldn't. Chloe and Derek. They're back, they're beautiful, and as perfect as ever. Chloe's still bossing him around, he's still protective as hell, and it was beautifulThe rest. I can't go above 3.5...and probably would have kept it at 3 if not for the spoiler. Every book in the Darkest Powers series was a solid five stars. No wavering, no doubt. Solid. Fabulous characters, an engaging story, excitement and intrigue and raising zombies, and werewolves. Hell, even scenes where characters vomit spectacularly and it's still a touching moment. How often can you say that? Seriously?As I finished The Rising (at work...shhh...don't tell) I was forced to think back over the series as a whole now that I'd seen it through to the end. And I realized that as much as I loved The Darkest Powers series, I never connected to the Phoenix kids the way I did to the Genesis ones. I finished The Reckoning and immediately opened up The Summoning and started the whole thing over again. Two years after finishing the first book, I could still quote passages of it. When The Calling came out last year, I was surprised to find that I could barely remember what had happened in The Gathering. Around January, and The Rising was on the horizon...I was realized that I couldn't remember what had happened in the first two and had to read them again. As I said, no real connection to the Phoenix kids. I enjoyed their story, but it didn't stick with me. I was reading the Darkness Rising series for one real reason. I wanted to see the Genesis kids again. I was reading for the promise of Chloe and Derek, even Simon and Tori. The rest was...a vehicle to get me there.And now...to dive beneath the spoiiler cut for the rest.I think this series would have done better without the triangle. Keep the character of Rafe, yes, but I think it would have made for a better story if Maya's discovery of "what everyone already knew" was the main romantic crux of the story. Yes, I liked Rafe better than Daniel. But that's not what this is about. This is more about my main problem with triangles. If the ultimate end is the best friend, fine. But I want to believe it. I want to believe that the depression and tears Maya shed when she thought Rafe was dead meant something, that the reunion, the shower, that last night in Salmon Creek when he told her everything, meant something. The only conclusion I can draw is that they were nothing more than red herrings - distractions to keep the mystery up. And that? I don't like.I also don't like it that someone as strong and smart as Maya...only saw Daniel as anything romantic when fifteen people had to tell her liked him. Or maybe all this is bullshit and I really do have bitter ship-sunk grapes. For whatever reason, it left a bitter taste in my mouth at the end.For me, I think this series will end with The Reckoning, and the two Bonus Pack novellas. I'll continue to follow Kelley's tumblr for hopes of short stories later in Chloe and Derek's lives. I will occasionally dive in to The Rising around the 70% mark and squee happily. The Phoenix kids, however, will have to find a way to carry on without me rereading their stories.