28 November 2015
I won the ebook in a competition and as it isn't my favourite genre, or at least what I usually read, I was a little wary. But Juliette Cross had me hooked very quickly, because her descriptive writing and perfect pacing made it easy to get involved and be sucked into the story. At first I thought the amount of info the protagonist Genevieve gets in order to understand what being a Vessel means is too much, it was often close to info-dumping...but then: it was done in witty dialogue and the reader needs to know all these things just as she does. So I forgave that and the fact that Jude is always avoiding a direct answer at first, where I thought, "damn, man, she needs to know it all to survive! Don't play mysterious when all I'd want to do is ask a thousand questions in order to function and understand.." But that was probably the author's solution to info-dumping - spreading the info out. Which in turn led to the readers always learning something new, with Genevieve, and it kept the story interesting. The settings were plausible and the world she laid out was intriguing, though somehow sketchy in places, and I'd have liked a little more details in some places (Dante's world, for example, HOW does he live and why?) and I loved that Genevieve, though overwhelmed, always can rely on strong people to pull her through. I never really feared for her, but that could also be a flaw of the plot, depends on how you view it. It relaxed me.
The (sub.-)plot of the romance between Genevieve and the beautiful, mysterious Jude is lovely. Of course she at once falls for him, and I loved the element of how her opening up as a Vessel, her learning and understanding and her powers, brought them always a step closer together. And now come a maybe European way of seeing romance: it felt too orchestrated in that he holds back and has to protect her by keeping her untainted. Hm. Their intimacy (if there had been any) would have led to her doom, so they have to hold back by all means, no matter how strong and natural their chemistry feels (to them, and me, the reader, as well!). That was tbh frustrating and felt like a set-up for dragging their more "innocent" encounters out - to the point where I felt their frustration and thought "forget it all, just DO it!". Is that a European way of seeing romance? I don't know. It felt a little "American" to prolong the innocent - though VERY HOT! - fumbling and kissing but never really cross the threshold to making love. And make love they should have done, at the very end. It's where, unfortunately, I was waiting for a fulfilment of all the desire they had built up over the weeks and months. And me, the reader, ached to see it fulfilled. But no. Like in US-movie versions, the really intimate parts are faded out and left to imagination. It could easily have been done tastefully and satisfactorily, because Juliette Cross is a master at creating sexy anticipation and describing hot scenes, she'd have had no problem at all to give us and her protagonists that last satisfaction of finally being able to really get together and quench their desires. I'm not sure why she holds back in the end, where it would have felt natural to have them give in to each other, after the mortal threat was removed. And I felt let down BECAUSE Cross is so brilliant at describing hot encounters tastefully. I really enjoyed every kiss and caress. She never used a word that would have put me off. Very well done, a real master with words. So why not give the reader and couple what they had to avoid all book long? The final passion. I apologise if I get this set-up wrong due to my inexperience with the genre. If those are the rules, I'm fine. Then Cross really has produced a masterpiece that makes readers wanna read on, and learn more about Genvevieve and Jude's journey. I truly fell in love with them both. And now I want HER to save HIM for a change...;-) That'd be an awesome move of character arc for the next books.