Thursday, 30 August 2012

Lost in Time

Level: Older Teen
Genre: Fantasy > Vampires/Urban Fantasy
Obtained: Borrowed from the library
Reviewed by: Nic Echo

Cover Review:
Like most of the Blue Bloods covers before it, we are given another beautiful cover. The cropping and softness of the photo helps create a more intimate and romantic feel, which works, because this book is full of romance. There's also a nice touch for the fans who have read the previous novels with the black feather. Like before, this is a gorgeous cover bound to bring in new fans.

About the Book:
It's near the end of the Blue Bloods series, and the action and adventure is heightening with each tale. In this book, we follow three different stores. The first one revolves around Schuyler and Jack as they continue to seek out the Gate of Promise. In this story, they continue to have issues with the bonding link. putting more pressure on Jack to figure out what to do. Then, in Mimi's story, she and Oliver travel to Hell to retrieve Kingsley's soul. The final story is set in the past and follows Allegra as she battles her heart and tries to do the right thing.

Rating: 7/10
I have to say I felt pretty mixed about this book. Part of the book was action packed and gripping while other parts ... well, not so much. Easily, my favourite bit was Allegra's story, and I constantly found myself itching to get back to it. Although any Blue Bloods fan knows how her story ends, it is interesting to see how she got there. I also found myself believing in Allegra's struggle, unlike Schuyler. Schuyler's struggle for the forbidden love felt weak at best -- and contrived. I never felt that the relationship between Charles and Allegra was just a story. They seemed more real to me to the point that I felt pity for Charles' heartache and anxiety as fate seemed to push Allegra into a doomed relationship.

Now, with relationships on mind, I'd like to focus on Jack and Schuyler. This is a story that tasted a bit bland to me. It had enough spice to not dislike it completely, but it was definitely not a favourite dish. For those that complained about the lack of romance in Misguided Angel, don't worry, you get it here. For those of you, like me, that rather skip it, well, it makes the story drag. I cannot say this enough, but their relationship never felt real to me. Even from page one of the first book, it felt forced, and I knew I was never going to enjoy their subplot. I grow weary of them constantly worrying about each other and how they simply cannot live without the other. This over the top crap is making me think hormones more than love. I can't even say I was overly fond of the nonromantic plot. It started out well enough - she and Jack are trying to find the keeper for the Gate of Promise, and they even run into some venators that are on a mission. By the end though, I wasn't quite as satisfied. There is one point when the Chen sisters and Schuyler get kidnapped to become brides for either demons or silver bloods, and it was through all of this that I kept rolling my eyes. It all seemed so generic evil. Apparently, most demons were hideous (heaven forbid that demons be something different), and Schuyler is lucky to be given to a handsome one. Dehua's apparently looks like a toad. Then, the women who beautify the girls are given the impression that they are gaudy and tasteless. The "wedding dresses" that our girls are given are even scandalous and a bit slutty -- definitely no class. After all, demons can't like classy things. This generic evil just irritated me to no end. There was one more major aspect in this plot that grated me as well, but that contains

After Deming is an impulsive idiot and tries literally fighting her way through demon hordes rather than using her brain, she is set aside for a special wedding night. And her intended groom? Forsyth Llewellyn himself. Apparently, he wants Deming for her spunk or whatever. Although this was eye roll worthy in itself, what really got me was when Jack fights him. Now, Forsyth has been around since book one, and it is in the fourth book when we find out about his treachery so yeah, he's made quite the impact. However, the fight between him and Jack lasts maybe two pages. Can we say anti-climatic? I mean, I know Forsyth isn't the ultimate big bad here, but he is still a major villain, and Melissa de la Cruz has him defeated in less than one chapter. Let. Down. To make matters worse, Forsyth apparently was the only demon (though I was under the impression he was a silver blood before this) that could pass from Hell to Earth. Sure, kill Hell's greatest asset in a few measly paragraphs. I am sure no one would mind.
End Spoilers

Lastly, we have Mimi's story. Again, it started out well enough, but left me more and more annoyed as the story went on. As  stated in the book summary, Mimi's story follows her into Hell as she tries to retrieve Kingsley's soul. Like with Schuyler's tale, I ended up having issues with Hell and its residents. Melissa de la Cruz tried taking the non fire and brimstone route for Hell, which I am not complaining about. I am always eager to see what ways people interpret Hell. Well, what Melissa de la Cruz did was interesting. In her interpretation of Hell, she has it where instead of pure torture, everything is just slightly off all the time I have to say, I actually liked this idea, and I think it would grow on you after a while and turn you a bit mad. My problem with this was this seemed to be the only bad thing Hell offered -- even with the lower levels. Seriously, the worst thing Hell has to offer is being mildly uncomfortable? I just don't buy it. Then, we have the generic evil once again. The one I recall most from Mimi's story is the demon girl that decides which souls get to enter this club. Not only is she evil just because, but she even has horns and a pointed tail. Can you get more cliche than that? Now, I may be pickier than most about my angel and demons since I study them. However, if the story is interesting enough, I am willing to give leeway to the author. All throughout the series, I have found myself aggravated by several things related to the angels, but I found myself enjoying the story and was willing to put my mishaps aside. However, I was not able to do this with Melissa's version of Hell and the generic evil.

However, a not-so-bad Hell and generic evil are not the only things I disliked about Mimi's tale, but that requires delving into the territory of ...

Now, upon reaching Kingsley's soul, Mimi comes to the realisation that he is actually content there due to the fact that there are no longer voices in his head. With this new curve ball, Mimi must decide whether or not to continue with her plan, even if Kingsley will leave with her. Now, any person knows that Jack and Schuyler are going to have their happily ever after. The question is, "what about Mimi, our anti-hero?" She is not guaranteed a happy ending so there was a chance that Kingsley may be left behind. However, after reading Lost in Time, it seems more and more obvious that de la Cruz plans on giving everyone a happily ever after of some sort. I get that there is a good chunk of people that want that, but for me, it's boring and removes so much tension.

Okay, so everyone is going to have glorious princess stye love lifes. I can deal with that. I may not like it, but I can deal with it. After all, there is still more to the plot than just the romance, but then I come across another plot point that walks the line between the romantic and nonromantic plot. To get Kingsley's soul out of Hell, Mimi is forced to give up her own. With the loss of her soul, Mimi ends up forgetting all her love for Kingsley and now only thinks of him as the supposedly reformed silver blood (although a cute one). Without this love, her thoughts are once again overtaken by revenge on Jack. All right, so the whole giving up your soul for your love is overly cliche, but de la Cruz gave herself room to play around. I mean, she had a character, who had gone through so much to become a better person, basically revert to someone bitter and, once again, lonely. I was excited to see what journey Mimi would have to go through. Hell, was it even possible for her to love again? But do we get any of this? No. Instead, she just magically wins her soul back when she doesn't kill Jack in their all out and climatic battle. So instead of getting to see Mimi struggle through another emotional journey, which would probably have the readers relating to or at least sympathizing for her, we end up getting a cheap fix to her problems in less than twenty pages. I don't know about other readers, but I feel cheated!
End Spoilers

Now, it may seem that I disliked most of this book though that is not really the case. Sure a lot of things in Lost in Time grated me, but I still found the overall story arc enjoyable. This was definitely my least favourite Blue Bloods book, but it was no where near bad enough for me to start hating the series. Plus, there were still aspects in this book that I did like. I fell in love with Allegra's tale, and I am dying to know what she did back in Florence. Why was Charles keeping it a secret? De la Cruz also had an interesting intake on Hell. Sure I had some problems with it, but again, it had an uniqueness to it. Plus, Lost in Time was a fast paced read for me (for the most part), and  don't feel it was a waste of my time at all. Hell, I'll still end up buying the paperback version to add to my collection. In general, I don't think it would be too weak, but for me, it felt too cliche, and I felt that de la Cruz could have come up with a better evil and less easy exits. It had a good plot, but a poor execution, making for an all right to decent book.

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