The third book in the Arcane Society: Looking Glass Trilogy series, the eighth book in the Harmony World series, published August 2011.
There are as many mysteries aboveground on the world of Harmony as there are underground. The island of Rainshadow is the setting for one of the greatest of those secrets: the privately owned woods known only as the Preserve…
Growing up on Rainshadow, Charlotte Enright knew better than to ever go into the Preserve, until that one fateful night with Slade Attridge – a night neither of them would forget.
Now, fifteen years later, both have returned to the island: Charlotte to take over her aunt’s antique shop, and Slade to fill the police chief’s position. Able to read aura’s, Charlotte senses something amiss in Slade, but that doesn’t stop her from wanting him - again. That is, as long as his dust bunny “deputy keeps his paws off her merchandise. Hiding a psi injury, Slade is afraid of his powerful desire for Charlotte. But a series of increasingly violent crimes draws them closer together – and into the darkness at the heart of the Preserve…
It’s been awhile since I read the previous books in this trilogy, so perhaps that is why it took me some time to get into things again. But it did not take me time at all to get back to the world of Harmony Jayne Castle has created so masterly.
Charlotte is some kind of Aura reader, she can see the rainbow’s around people and can judge them based on that. Even though her talent is off the Arcane Scale, it is not recognized as an important talent, just some minor and aberrant thing. She has a knack for antiquities though, and especially those with ancient psy in them. With her talent, she can really connect the artifact with the new owner, making them fit together. She really wanted to be some kind of archeologist, but was rejected. And now she is following in her crazy aunt’s footsteps on the small island of Rainshadow, after closing her highly successful shop in Frequency city. Her aunt kept buying and buying stuff, always on the lookout for more, or for something really special. She didn’t bother much with selling, or inventory, but seems to have done allright over the years. Charlotte is busy cleaning the place up, and inventorying the stacks of crates and boxes left to her.
Slade joined the FPBI when he was 19, and thanks to his Hunter talent he was very good at it as well, working with a secret department catching the really bad psychic criminals normal police would never be able to find, let alone throw and keep in jail.
But on his last assignment, he got gassed pretty badly, and his Hunter talent appears to being on the fritz. The doctors are expecting him to deteriorate, to lose his talent altogether. So he has come to Rainshadow to heal, to hide, and only for a little while, since he is setting up a new job for himself. He took the job as head of the police on Rainshadow only for six months, never intending to stay later. But he did not count on meeting Charlotte again, and liking the island and its people. And apparently there is much more serious crime around than he ever could imagine. He is drawn toward Charlotte, and really wants a relationship with her, but she has to understand it can only be temporary. He rescued her from a bunch of bullies 15 years ago, and took her into the Preserve for a short trip. Thanks to his talent, he is one of the few who can navigate there, not becoming lost. Compasses and the likes don’t work in there, and there are some beautiful spots there, and some very horrible canyons of darkness. And the darkness is stirring lately …
Okay, not telling very much about what is happening in this book, but I did expect some more action. I loved Charlotte from the start, but then, I do with all Jayne Castle characters. She is a young, independent woman with her own business, she likes her life as it is. She has a loving family, high into Arcane, all with powerful talents, but they never did understand her and her rainbow talent. She has a very bad track record for dating, perhaps because she has always compared the men she was matched with, with Slade. She never did forget him. Nor did he forget her. He still cherishes the antique knife she gave him when he left 15 years ago. His fiancée dumped him when he lost his senses, and he really doesn’t want her back. He is also not looking for a new love, but he did not count on meeting Charlotte again. They are drawn together. Slade doesn’t have a family, has been in forster care early, a rare thing on Harmony since it is so much geared towards family.
If not for the previous police officer who acted like a father figure for him, Slade could have gone bad/rogue.
Rex, the dustbunny, is a great secondary character. He stole one of Charlotte’s antique clutch purses, and keeps putting paperclips in it, which he steals from Slade’s secretary/dispatch officer. He takes the clutch with him where ever he goes, and is very protective of Slade.
There is also the young boy Slade takes under his wing, who only has his grandmother to take care of him, who is developing some powerful talent. On Harmony, only the Amber talents are highly praised, and the other psychic talents are still a bit forbidden, dangerous. So it is hard to understand what is happening and how to handle it.
A good story, although it could use some more suspense and action. I never really felt any danger to Charlotte or Slade, but I am extremely curious what will happen at the Reserve, what is stirring in the darkness …