I was dead set on loving this book. I mean, time travel, right? Beyond the excitement of being able to witness events firsthand and gawk at past heroes, how seducing it is to think of the past as just somewhen else and not as something dead, exciting certainly, but inanimate and gone forever! Still, thumbing one’s nose at mortality can’t be that easy, and I love all the circumvoluted possibilities that are bound to make my head spin.
The author got that in the beginnning. You've read the blurb : she plotted an interesting setting for her story and spinned a tangled web for her characters. I was so headed for loving this book! Reegan is aware of interacting with ghosts who are not ghosts anymore. Or not yet. Or... Whatever. Despite his knowledge as a historian, he is marvelling and gawking because it’s alive, it’s real, it's familiar and foreign at the same time. That would throw me too. Now, there’s a catch because time has rules you can’t bend. What happens when someone does forget that the past is not strictly just somewhere else? What happens when you start interacting with ghosts people? You’re engaged in a deadly race against the clock à la "Final Destination", while fighting villains and falling in love with Saul who is not of your time. This is what happens.
Not revolutionary, but still exciting, uh? And that’s what my 3 stars are all for. I didn’t love this book. I was excited by the premises, I didn't hate it, but I ended up dispassionate about the development and Saul’s and Reegan’s trials. What happened? I have several hypotheses:
a) My focus needs some workout
b) I am numbed to damaged characters and insensitive
c) The book suffers from a bad casting
d) Tension (in the broad sense) is overrated and I didn’t get the memo
e) It should have ended badly (kidding. Although…)
Overall, I blame Reegan and Saul. I simply didn’t connect with them, individually or together. I can describe them to you, but I find myself unable to talk about them, they’re not someone to me. They sure bring a lot of baggage in the mix, but for lack of other distinctive traits, the mandatory troubled past, guilt and inner turmoil didn’t add depth, only a sense of déjà vu. As for their relationship, they obviously don’t believe in sexual tension, but it could have worked past the first sex scene, because there was still an impending doom to angst over, still an urgency to play with. Still, they didn’t catch my attention, therefore I didn’t pay much attention to them and I handled their moments together as timeouts in the grand scheme of time-travel catastrophe. In short, they diluted the tension for lack of charisma and their romance didn’t match the surrounding urgency.
Romance is a tricky genre. The tacit agreement that everything will end well makes it difficult to hold people spellbound and all we’ve got to be swept off our feet besides our empathy with the characters are the hows and whens. The author had to loosen her knots in order to reach the HEA, but since the plot lines weren’t particularly tense anymore, they didn’t snap-and-slap for the final, and flopped. The hows didn’t work for me and the whens were not a surprise.
In the end, the interesting setting remained an attractive premise, the (banal) romance took over, followed its independent romance course and bent the story to its liking and not entirely to mine.
Disappointing, but not baaad. You might love it if you are not particularly attached to d), and you might even disagree with c) if you're not afflicted by a) and b).
Now I just can't make up my mind, but you, when else would you go to?