>> Tuesday, March 15, 2011
TITLE: Midnight Crystal
AUTHOR: Jayne Castle
SETTING: Futuristic, in planet of Harmony
TYPE: Paranormal romance
SERIES: Third in Dreamlight trilogy, part of the Arcane Society books.
It began with Krentz...continued with Quick...and now it will end with Castle.Midnight Crystal closes JAK's Dreamlight trilogy. The background(and apologies if you've read this before, I'm canibalising bits from my earlier explanations in the two previous books in the series) is that one of the founding members of the Arcane Society devised an artifact called the Burning Lamp, in order to enhance his powers. This artifact created a mutation in his genetic makeup, one that manifests in only some of his descendants. When it does, it can lead to them becoming psychic monsters. The only hope for these individuals is to find a woman who can operate the energy produced by the burning lamp and use it to reverse those genetic changes before they become so dangerous that they become so dangerous that they have to be hunted down and killed.
For many earthly centuries, a legendary curse has plagued the Winters family, stemming from the tumultuous founding of the Arcane Society. But now, on the futuristic world of Harmony, the curse's final mystery will be unraveled...
Head of the ghost hunters guild Adam Winters and dreamlight reader extraordinaire Marlowe Jones must break the curse, save Harmony's entire underworld-and fight a passion that could destroy them both.
Each of the books in this trilogy have taken place in a different period, coinciding with JAK's three pseudonyms. The first one, a Jayne Ann Krentz title, was set in the present day. The following one, Burning Lamp, was an Amanda Quick and took place in the 19th century, while this last one, Midnight Crystal, is a futuristic book, set in the planet Harmony, where all her current Jayne Castle books are set. They all have the same basic setup, in that the Burning Lamp gets lost in between the different books, so each of the heroes has to find both it and the woman who can help them use it.
In Midnight Crystal, the member of the Winters family searching for the lamp is Adam, the head of the city's ghost hunters' Guild. To complicate matters a little bit, the woman he soon discovers is the only one who can save his sanity is dreamlight reader Marlowe Jones. Marlowe, it so happens, has recently started running the Jones & Jones detective agency branch in her city -the very people who would be charged with neutralising Adam if he started showing signs of developing extra talents (a clear sign of being on the road to crazyland).
Having read the reviews when this came out, it seems to have been received with a great big "meh" from pretty much everyone. The words "predictable", "boring" and "underwhelming" rang out. I don't really disagree with the "predictable" bit, but although I didn't find it to be a page-turner, and it wasn't a book which, when I put it down, made me feel I couldn't wait to come back to it, I'm almost embarrassed to confess I quite enjoyed it.
Yes, there's a lot of technical crap about how exactly different talents work. Yes, the mystery is pretty pointless and paint-by-the-numbers (it's not the first time with JAK when in my mind I've gone "so this is where they get attacked in the street, and this is where they go to talk to someone and find him dead, and this is..." and have been 100% right). But I did like the characters and their relationship enough to enjoy the book. Ok, so they're far from being the most deeply drawn and multilayered characters I've ever read, but I enjoyed spending time with them. I liked that they were a bit older than usual and actually felt more mature. I liked the leather jacket-clad biker heroine, and I thought JAK was really good at actually showing us, rather than telling us, how Adam is very drawn to her and how she's attracted right back. I liked the way their relationship developed, and I also liked their families.
And I musn't forget to make the also-embarrassing confession I've made in all the previous Harmony books: the dust bunny is outstanding. I just can't believe that I love those dust bunnies so much. They should be saccharine and ridiculous, but they're just hilarious and cute in the best of ways.
MY GRADE: A B-.