Monday, September 27, 2010

Midnight Crystal

Midnight Crystal: Book Three of the Dreamlight Trilogy (Arcane Society, No. 9) by Jayne Castle

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…

Adam Winters has enough responsibility as the new head of the local Ghost Hunter Guild without being saddled with the family curse. He’s convinced his recent nightmares and hallucinations will lead to him becoming a psychic rogue—unless he can find a stolen relic and a woman who can read dreamlight.

Marlowe Jones rides into his life on a motorcycle and with a dust bunny at her side. Though a descendant of the rival Arcane family, she’s just what Adam needs: a psychic private investigator and dreamlight reader extraordinaire.

Together, amid the glowing catacombs and steamy underground jungles of Harmony, Adam and Marlow must break the curse, save the entire underworld—and fight a passion that could destroy them both…
--Midnight Crystal by Jayne Castle ©2010 by Jayne Ann Krentz, published by the Penguin Group

My Review

Book Three in the Dreamlight Trilogy takes us into the future and across the galaxy with Jayne Castle, to a planet called Harmony.

Adam Winters is falling under the family curse. He’s developing another psi ability, leading to hellish nightmares and disturbing hallucinations. He needs the Burning Lamp and a powerful dreamlight reader to stabilize his mind before he goes completely insane.

Marlowe Jones is that woman, and as luck would have it, she also has the connections to track down the missing Lamp. But stabilizing Adam’s mind is only the beginning of their association with each other. The Arcane Society had what they believed was the Burning Lamp in their possession—which Adam confesses is actually a fake—but it was stolen. Who stole it and why?

When Adam and Marlowe use the Burning Lamp it to stabilize the underground power generator that illuminates the green quartz structures throughout the planet, they unknowingly activate the Midnight Crystal. None of Adam’s ancestors who employed the Burning Lamp have ever been able to activate the Midnight Crystal, leading many to believe that the Crystal is simply a pretty stone with no special power. But surrounded by the green quartz psi and activated by Adam and Marlowe, the powerful hypnotic command embedded within the Crystal comes alive and orders Adam to destroy every living member of the Jones family. Can Adam find the strength to disobey his multi-great grandfather’s command and save Marlowe?

I wish I had been a beta reader for this story, as I would have posted several questions to the author for clarification.

First, why would the Winters family on earth risk losing control of the Burning Lamp by letting it go to Harmony? Granted (as the history goes), no one thought about the possibility of the Curtain between our worlds closing, making the Lamp inaccessible to those on Earth, but still, why take that risk? Unless every last member of the Winters family moved to Harmony to stay near the Lamp, moving it across the galaxy is a very risky move.

Second, how is it something made on Earth centuries ago be the key to stabilizing an alien power generator on another planet? And as luck would have it, that object is on the right planet at the right time? It feels too contrived to me.

Third, who stole the Burning Lamp from Adam? Tully, an antiquities and artifacts dealer in the Old Quarter has it and is willing to give Marlowe first crack at buying it, but how did he get it? He dies before Marlowe can ask him, so we’ll never know.

Fourth, Marlowe visits the Arcane Society library to do a little research. As the scene is written, it is implied that the books in the Arcane library are originals, not copies. Like the Lamp, why would Arcane make the risky move of sending these important books and documents to another planet? If at some point it said that the books were copies and the originals had been left on Earth, that would make perfect sense and this paragraph would not have been written. But it doesn’t, and so this paragraph exists.

There may have been other little questions that popped into my mind as I read this, but they were minor enough that I forgot them. These are the big four, though, and ones I would dearly have loved to pose to Ms. Krentz prior to this book being published. Alas, that did not happen.

Despite my questions/issues, Midnight Crystal is a good story and a nice tie-off to the Dreamlight Trilogy. If you read the other two stories, Fired Up and Burning Lamp, you will obviously want to read Midnight Crystal, and you should, as it nicely ties-off the Dreamlight Trilogy.

I give this story THREE STARS.

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