Author: M.J. Rose
Genre: Fiction (Contemporary / Historical / Paranormal)
Publisher/Publication Date: Mira (4/19/2011)
Source: TLC Book Tours
Did I finish?: Yes.
One-sentence summary: A statue with immense possibilities is the catalyst for theft, murder, revenge, hope, and love.
Reading Challenges: E-books
Do I like the cover?: Eh -- it's got that ambigu-thriller thing going on but I would have liked something that referenced the iconic elements of the novel.
I'm reminded of...: Paulo Coelho, Michael Crichton
First line: Time played tricks on him whenever he stood in front of the easel.
Did... I easily get into this book despite it being the third in the series?: YES. The common thread is the search for historical items to enable easy access to one's past lives, and Rose references events from the previous two novels well enough that I didn't feel lost in the slightest.
Did... I totally desperately want to see the art and exhibits Rose describes?: YES. She has a lovely way of conveying art, even pieces unfamiliar to me, in a way I felt I could 'see' what the characters were seeing.
Is... M.J. Rose's blog a totally fascinating time suck?: YES. One visit, and I was hooked.
Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow.
Why did I get this book?: Reincarnation + art!
Review: This, to me, was a perfect summertime escapist read: exciting settings, a large cast of easy to remember characters, some improbable plot twists, and a bit of romance. Set (mostly) in New York City, the story follows a number of characters including Lucian, an agent with the FBI's Art Crime Team who witnessed his girlfriend's murder twenty years ago; Emeline, a young woman who may or may not be a reincarnation of that girlfriend; Samimi, an Iranian man tasked with recovering (or stealing) a sculpture of immense importance; and Dr. Malachai Samuels, a past-life researcher desperate to locate 'Memory Tools', artifacts thought to assist in accessing past life memories.
Although this is the third book in M.J. Rose's Reincarnationist series, I had no problem getting into the story and understanding the plot and premise. The story moves at a very brisk pace and I could easily race through the chapters; the characters are pretty notable; and the reincarnation element was a great twist on the standard crime thriller. There were a lot of coincidences I usually hate in these types of thrillers, but given that the characters are connected by their past lives, I was willing to forgive that to see where the story would go.
I do have to confess, however, I was disappointed that among the major criminal factions in the novel were Iranian Muslims. Given the Islamophobia in the US, I find it dangerous to feature Muslims as criminals (and worse, pointedly as 'terrorists' at one point) and it ultimately took away some of my enjoyment of the story. (I rather wish Rose had invented a country to feature as the historical home of the sought-after statue, perhaps.)
My quibble aside, in the end this was the kind of novel I can understand being described as a 'romp': it's just straight-up fun. For folks in the market for an entertaining series to become addicted to, this might be it.
*** *** ***