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.
I 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+