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I am a big fan of Elizabeth Hunter, although her Elemental World series, not the Cambio Springs series is what made me a fan. But I liked, even if I didn't totally love, the first two books in this series and the novellas. I liked them a lot. The main characters in Waking Hearts, Allie and Ollie (and the fact that these two names sound so similar is one of the few problems I have with the book) were introduced in earlier installments of the series. While I thought the female leads in the first two books were strong, intelligent and independent women and the men were complex, Allie came across as whiny and weak and Ollie seemed devoid of personality. Neither seemed strong enough to carry a book. So when I realized that was the direction the third installment would take, I was very skeptical.
Allie is still a little whiny and wish-washy. Ollie's personality was filled out, although not always in a good way. But after about the first half of the book, which consisted of a lot of introspective, insecure and procrastinating deep thinking on both character's parts - which I found annoying - Allie finally gained some confidence and Ollie became engaging. By the end, I felt far more comfortable and sympathetic towards both characters.
What saved this book though was the underlying mystery. The mystery that the plot built off of was more developed and more sophisticated than what drove the first two. So, instead of the characters driving the book forward I thought the plot took over on this one. And that was fine with me. The fact that big chunks of the mystery were not resolved by the end of the book didn't bother me.
In fact I think the set up for the next book in the series was much better in this book than the first two. The readers willingness to read the next book was based on how they felt about the characters they knew would be featured next. This time, I want to read the next book, not because of the romantic interest but because I want to know more about the bad guys and what they are going to do next.
The narrator actually did a better job on this than the previous book. She has a slightly tremulous voice and she sounds a little too emotional to me. Like any second now, she is going to crack. I don't know if she toned that down or if it just fit the characters of this book better.
I recommend this book, especially if you are already invested in this series.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
This is the third book I've read of the series and I can honestly State that I already look forward to the next book. Writing a science fiction or fantasy novel is dependent on how well you create the world. The world created in this series worked well until the author determined to add additional areas of paranormal to the intrigue. These additional paranormal elements seemed to come way out of left field and only added confusion to the current story. The only possible reason I can think of for the new paranormal plot twist is to build the foundation for the next story in the series. The book was saved from an entire negative review by the very well developed primary and secondary characters.