Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
It has been a year since I read the first book in this series, Lost in Time. Long enough that I had forgotten about the cliffhanger ending that irritated me so much! And although it is clear there will be at least one more book in the series, this one wrapped up the current story arc well – the next book will take off in a slightly different direction, and follow up on the adventures of some of the secondary characters.
Lew – who is from 2016 and got accidentally drawn back in time to 1919 while following his sister Mira – and Alec – the Detective Inspector who was inadvertently drawn into Lew’s world of magic and secrets while investigating a series of grisly London murders – are once again the main characters in this book. The Creature who left a string of bodies behind turned out not to be fully destroyed as they had all hoped. It was merely injured, and dormant, and its presence drew a Hunter from the Outlands to draw it back across the Border.
Fenn was the Hunter – a being of considerable power who was clearly more expert dealing with the energy of the Border than anyone in the human world. To some he appeared male, and to others she appeared female, and they were evasive about their gender – this was just one of many ways they were completely alien to the early 20th century Londonites they came across. Fenn spoke English, reading the minds of those humans he interacted with, and when they were found by Alec’s group of police and discovered that they were also trying to apprehend the Creature (Carnas, to Fenn), Fenn decided to work with them. The humans were somewhat reluctant to join forces, but could only acknowledge Fenn’s greater power and expertise. There were secrets on both sides, and it became increasingly clear that those secrets could bring down the entire operation.
This book is once again primarily a fantasy/adventure, and there is even less romance than there was in the first book. Lew and Alec are an established couple, and I really enjoyed how the focus became more about how they thought about their relationship. How could it work between them when Lew could only tell Alec minimal amounts about his life before he went back in time? How could Alec trust Lew, for the same reasons? How was the fact that Lew was a Worker, and responsible for maintaining the Border, allow him to fully open himself up to Alec? I also enjoyed the interactions between Fenn – not quite human if you looked closely – and the rest of the group interesting, especially in regards to their gender, or lack thereof.
I still had some quibbles with the writing – this time it was primarily the names and pronouns. Sometimes first names were used, sometimes last names, and though the distinction made some sense – for instance, they were Lew and Alec when they were by themselves or with close friends, but Tyler and Carter when interacting professionally, or with others. It did not help that many of the names could be first or last names (Will Grant, for example). I just found it to be unnecessarily confusing, and it literally took me until half way through the book before I consistently had them all straight! I do not like working that hard to read for pleasure.
I am really looking forward to the next book, when the focus will move away from Alec and Lew. I hope it won’t be another full year though…
Cover art by Written Ink Designs fits well with the previous book in the series. It was easy to imagine the Creature hiding somewhere in this alley.