I'm planning to use this blog to discuss what I'm reading - both online and in print - so rather than launch with a whole "blah, blah, my goals and objectives, blah" post, I figure I'll start right in talking about the stories. Today, I read the conclusion of Carter's Recourse: William Carter VI by Christopher Patrick Lydon. If you don't want to be spoiled on the ending, stop reading now!Ok, before I get into the Carter saga, one caveat is in order: I am a tough critic. This is something that a number of authors have already learned about me when I've worn my editor's hat. You want a direct, honest, critique? Come to me. You want coddling "You're the bestest ever" feedback? Find someone else. Chances are that I may pick apart some author, story, chapter, or book that you like in this blog. Feel free to debate me, but if all you have to say is "It's not easy to write a good story, you should give these writers a break!" or "I love the story, and you're an idiot," don't bother. Just because I like dissecting frogs, so to speak, doesn't mean that Kermit isn't my hero.And on to Carter's Recourse: William Carter VI...again...WARNING: SPOILERS!!!I started reading the William Carter saga as it was first being posted online, and while I can't remember how long ago that was, it surprises me a bit to see just how LONG this damn series is! And while I'm glad to see Book VI come to a close, I can't help feeling that the ending was just a little bit rushed. It's hard to say that for a story that's 44 chapters long! Worse - I find the ending somewhat...unsatisfying.Still, even assuming that this ending sets up Book VII or Carter's Shadow Part Deux, rather than ending the series, it reminds me a little bit too much of the series finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where Angel is brought back for a last 'moment' with Buffy, and the heros go out with an 'epic' fight that isn't all that. [Without even getting into the pathetic fight issue, I'll briefly note the Angel problem: Angel is heralded as Buffy's great love - Buffy as Angel's - and it ignores the last 3 seasons of Angel OR BTVS.]I had hoped that William Carter VI would explain the military/intelligence conspiracy in greater detail, rather than featuring stock villains. And without any more information presented in the story, I'm not sure I find the 'resolution' all that plausible - how Carter gets back to Canada with the help of Brody OR how Marc waltzes in to play the martyr. The details needed to be tidied up to finish this sucker, and it was done with probably a little less craft than had actually set up in the conflict in the first place.I like the William-Andrew pairing, and Andrew is probably my favorite character in the entire saga. I wanted Will to wind up with Andrew, not Marc. That said, the manner in which Marc backs off from Will to hand him over to Andrew struck me as totally inconsistent with what had happened previously in the series. "Like a big brother?" Uhmmm. No. Will is a big brother to someone: Peter. Will and Marc have always suffered from being in different places in life, but that's not the same thing.I also had not re-read the initial books to see how the storyline arcs from I to VI, but looking back now at the end of Book I, unless I've misunderstood the time frame (which is confusing to the extent this series leaps years ahead at times), it seems that we already know that after the Major dies, William and Andrew wind up together. I had totally forgotten this while I was reading Books IV, V, (and even VI), which feature/include Will's relationship with Marc. I like the William Carter series, but I think it suffers from an identity crisis sometimes. Some of the books are interpersonal relationship-oriented, focusing on stories of coming out or growing up. Some of the books are mystery plot focused, where the relationships take a back seat to the 'story.' Christopher Patrick Lydon is a good author who can craft an interesting story and complex characters. When it works, the ability to overlap these different genres makes the Carter saga a very enjoyable read. Unfortunately, I felt like the ending to Book VI tried to mix the two with less than successful results. Book VI is a mystery plot story. It focuses on the politics, military, and intelligence involvement that surround Will Carter. It is NOT a relationship story, and using it as an offhand tool to manipulate Will back together with Andrew (and away from Mark) struck me as entirely hollow.