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Gabriella Pierce

REVIEW:  The Lost Soul by Gabriella Pierce

REVIEW: The Lost Soul by Gabriella Pierce

Dear Gabriella Pierce:

I will never fully understand how anyone could claim the short-lived ABC TV series, 666 Park Avenue, was based on this series. They have completely different premises. The TV show was about an apartment building that granted your desires — but for a price. The book series is about a young woman who discovers she comes from a long line of witches, and the ensuing generations-long conflict that existed between the various witch families. In fact, the only thing they have in common are the character names. Just the character names, mind you; not even the characters themselves are the same.

the-lost-soul-pierceI read the previous two books in this series, 666 Park Avenue and The Dark Glamour, and enjoyed them for what they were. They were light, enjoyable paranormals. They weren’t deep. They didn’t require heavy mental investment. Sometimes you need that.

The Lost Soul picks up where The Dark Glamour left off. Jane Boyle has reunited her nemesis, Lynne Doran, with her long presumed dead daughter, Annette. Jane originally thought this good deed would make peace with her wrathful mother-in-law. Unfortunately, there’s one minor detail.

Lynne Doran is actually an ancient witch who has hopped from one body to the next through the centuries. A crucial ingredient to this ritual? A blood descendant. Explains why Lynne was so eager for Jane to procreate with one of her sons, doesn’t it? Not only would she get a granddaughter whose body she could eventually steal, the potential magical ability would be high since Jane comes from a distinguish witch lineage herself. But now that Lynne has been reunited with Annette, there’s no need to concern herself with Jane anymore.

To her credit, Jane is horrified. She can’t believe she just doomed another person to having her soul destroyed and body stolen. But when she tries to rescue Annette from her impending fate, she runs into another roadblock: Annette doesn’t want to be saved.

The Lost Soul continues along the same vein as the previous novels, pitting Jane against the well-connected, highly knowledgeable Lynne. Obviously, Jane is at a disadvantage. Not only was she not aware of her heritage until recently, she now has to overcome the lies Lynne tells her daughter.

After all, who would you believe? Jane lied to Annette about so many things. Who she was, what her motives were. Lynne, on the other hand, welcomes her back with open arms and showers her with everything life has denied to her up until now. Annette didn’t live an easy life. She’s an angry person. Yes, she was separated from her mother for the sole purpose of breaking the body stealing cycle but would Annette understand that? Which is more believeable? Enemies separated you from your mother for their own nefarious purposes or your mother is an immortal body-stealing witch? So I can see her refusal to believe Jane. Even ignoring all those other factors, the shift from working class waitress to Manhattan socialite can be dazzling.

Lynne’s not the only one reunited with people important to her. Jane is reunited with her estranged husband, Malcolm, who is also Lynne’s son and Annette’s brother. He feels responsible for his sister and helps Jane with her new quest. I’m fairly ambivalent to the Jane and Malcolm romance. I’ll always see him as the guy who purposely seduced Jane to bring her into his mother’s sphere of influence and was responsible for the death of her grandmother. I think readers are supposed to view them as an epic love in spite of all obstacles and odds but the execution falls flat for me.

The one thing I’ve always liked about these books is that Jane has allies. She is not a lone woman standing against the world. She doesn’t know everything and knows it. There are some things she can’t do and knows it. So she has no problem depending on her friends to fill in the gaps. The conflicts that arise as a result of this, especially when the fight against Lynne results in casualties, are interesting.

The Lost Soul concludes the major conflicts introduced in 666 Park Avenue nicely. On the other hand, it also opens up more possibilities. It’d be interesting to see where Jane goes from here but I think, as a reader, I’m satisfied by this ending and am content to say goodbye to this world. C+

My regards,
Jia

Previous books in this series: 666 Park Avenue (review), The Dark Glamour (review)

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REVIEW: The Dark Glamour by Gabriella Pierce

REVIEW: The Dark Glamour by Gabriella Pierce

Dear Ms. Pierce,

I read your first novel, 666 Park Avenue, earlier this year. In it, readers were introduced to architect Jane Boyle who gets swept up in a whirlwind romance with the man of her dreams, only to discover that not only does she come from a long line of witches, she just married into another family of witches that covets her power. The Dark Glamour picks up where the previous novel left off, with Jane on the run from the Doran family.

The Dark Glamour by Gabriella Pierce Forced to go into hiding, Jane doesn’t have many options. Lynne Doran is a powerful woman, both magically and socially. There’s nowhere in the world that Jane can escape from Lynne’s connections even with her estranged husband’s advanced planning. So instead she tries to outwit her mother-in-law and remain in New York City. Whether this is actually a smart choice considering the circumstances, I leave up to the reader. With this series, you have to accept Jane’s haphazard way of thinking.

That said, she does learn a couple things by staying in NYC. First, Jane discovers that a pair of siblings from another witch bloodline are in “business” negotiations with the Doran family. More importantly, however, she learns that Lynne’s daughter, formerly presumed dead, is still alive. As a result, Jane goes on a globetrotting trip to find Lynne’s daughter and deliver her back to her mother. After all, the only reason Lynne wanted Jane to marry her son was so that she could give birth to a daughter to continue the Doran bloodline. If Jane can find Lynne’s daughter, then she can have her life back. Maybe not the most altruistic motivation, but I never said Jane was a nice person.

There are times when I really question Jane’s judgement. It’s not just the part where she chose to stay in NYC, with her face plastered all over TV and knowing that Lynne could stumble across her at any moment. It’s the part where she sleeps with the brother of the sibling pair negotiating with the Doran family. I realize part of it is that magic attracts magic — sort of a way to keep the bloodlines strong — but she wasn’t ripping the clothes off Harris in the previous book despite the existence of that magical attraction. And I’d think after the whirlwind romance with estranged husband Malcolm, she would have known what was going on. That she didn’t realize the reason behind her attraction to this stranger requires a heavy amount of disbelief, especially when combined with the mystery woman stalking Jane all over NYC. Of course, I freely admit I have a hard time understanding characters with raging libidos despite being on the run for their lives. In my opinion, there are more important things on which to focus your time.

I thought the clues regarding the big revelation at the end were a bit too obvious. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I prefer discovering those revelations with the characters. Figuring things out ahead of the characters tends to ruin things for me because I then start questioning the characters’ competence and lack of insight. On the other hand, I know other readers like that sort of thing (figuring something out and then watching how the characters reach the same discovery) so your mileage may vary. Or maybe it’s not as obvious as I think, and I just made a lucky guess.

That said, I did like the big twist of that revelation. It builds upon the story told in 666 Park Avenue and complicates the history of the different witch bloodlines. It wasn’t without its flaws, however. I thought the events bridging Jane’s finding Lynne’s daughter to the climax were rushed. I liked the character of Lynne’s daughter so I wished we could have seen more of her reactions towards discovering she’s the long-lost daughter of a wealthy family and how she copes with that change of fortune.

Like its predecessor, The Dark Glamour takes longer than it should to get moving (and once again, the cover copy reveals far too much information) but when it does reach the point of no return, it’s a steamroller. The main highlight of this book for me was that it portrayed how you could do something considered a good deed (even if it was for selfish reasons) but things can still go wrong. The climax of this book came about because Jane found Lynne’s daughter but didn’t realize the true reason why her mother-in-law was so desperate to find a female heir.

Overall, this novel is an easy read, good for lazy afternoons. It’s not particularly deep but sometimes that’s the kind of book I’m looking for. While I could have done without all the lusting over men who are a danger to her and would have liked to have seen her interact with more female friends (because she does have them!) outside of plot necessity, the ending twist made the book for me. But I can only hope that this series is finite and doesn’t intend to drag this plotline out. The ending was a bit of a cliffhanger. C

My regards,
Jia

Previous book in this series: 666 Park Avenue (review)

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