Arcane by Jess Whitecroft is a bit like being caught in a tornado. You’ve lost your socks, there’s a house barreling toward you on the other side of the cyclone, and you can sorta see where you’re going… until the wind decides differently, of course.
This book is packed. Not only is there romance, but you get a mystery, crime and suspense, an evil billionaire, the supernatural, and even some nice historical padding. Whitecroft’s prose is addicting, easy to consume, and littered with snarky asides or snicker-worthy jokes. The dialogue flowed so easily from one topic to the other that I almost didn’t mind the condensed history of cults packed alongside the mommy issues that both characters had… until I was at the 85% mark and realized, holy crap, this book was going to end and I had so many questions remaining. I clearly needed an extra hundred pages to appreciate All The Plot.
And whoooo boy there was a lot of plot. Breathlessly, the book shot from kidnapping suspense to a cult mystery to a supernatural revelation. And, somehow, Whitecroft wriggled in a romance with characters carrying some serious baggage. By the end, as layer after layer was unraveled, I desperately wanted more motivation, introspection, and history on our characters. I was a bit overwhelmed at times, making me question the why, who, and when of it all. In particular, the romance felt fast to me, when I think we could have easily settled in with a slow burn that spanned a trilogy, even. Instead, we race to pretend-married to betrayal, to some sexy pieces of deep love that would make even Romeo and Juliet’s heads spin, before the rest of the plot (tapping it’s impatient foot) said, “Enough if that already! A mystery awaits!”
Which was fine. I certainly enjoyed the story, but there was a lot left hanging that impeded my acceptance of the events and character motivations. That being said, I will revisit Whitecroft’s other works as overall it was an enjoyable experience, even if it did drop me, befuddled and without my glasses, on the ground before advancing to sweep up another reader.
Overall: 3/5 Stars. A fun, entertaining book.
Science fiction always feels a bit like asking for a tarot reading or having your future read on a crystal ball. Sure, the aliens might be a bit unbelievable, but truth is stranger than fiction.
For Kim Stanley Robinson’s peek into the future, things hit a little too close to home, and open the curtain on a lot of topics beyond science that are inhibiting us from saving the planet from climate change.
I wouldn’t consider this fiction. It’s hard to navigate, the characters aren’t that appealing, and don’t even get me started on the ending for Mary, the head of the Ministry for the Future, when she retires. However, if I peered at it as a place for these characters to speak hard truths, it became something else entirely. And, in that narrative, I started to understand the impacts of economics and global distribution, capitalistic greed, and the need for hard grueling change. The book made me think, and look at our current impending climate doom with both despair, but also hope. I think if it has been written as non fiction, it wouldn’t have reached as many readers, or been waved off as another alarmist climate story (not to imply that we shouldn’t be alarmed… the red warning lights have been flashing for a while now).
Plus, it’s hard not to enjoy the personification of a carbon atom. And, maybe I’ll stop saying I’m reading the Ministry of Magic. One day.
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