Wednesday, November 19, 2014

COYER Winter Challenge

Challenge Signup Post

As many of my friends know I buy/download free/cheap ebooks like insanity on Kindle.  If the cover catches me, if the synopsis catches me...hell if the title catches me I'll download it.  As a result I have somewhere around 5000 kindle books.

Yeah its a bad habit (to be fair I do this with print books as well...just its a bit harder since print books tend to never be free outside of conferences).

So this challenge is right up my alley.  And I'm going to drag my friend Jenn in on it too because she has an even worse problem then me.  Go check out the details and if you do sign up, be sure to indicate that I sent you on the linky, where it says “Who referred you?” so I can win $5 to Amazon!

Challenge Length: 12/20 to 3/6

  • Read electronically! - read any e-books I have that were free (Kindle, NetGalley, Edelweiss, otherwise) or nearly free!
    • Nearly Free - here's a handy chart to determine if the book was nearly free:
  • Review - Any review books I received (Edelweiss/NetGalley) I'll review as normal.  Any free Kindle books I'll either review as normal or during my weekly challenge wrap-up post I'll talk about why I didn't enjoy the book(s).  Any books I paid for that weren't free will be subject to my normal policy of I'll review it if I like. 
  • Have fun!

  • Read/Start at least 2 books a week - I know that a fair amount of the free/cheap Kindle books I got won't be to my liking (for various reasons), so I should be able to achieve this goal.  And starting in January I'm doing the "50 Page Tuesday" weekly post so this will give me a good pile to go through!
  • Be Social - I'm really bad at this?  I go through phases when I remember and then I forget.  I'm much better at twitter, but I'm going to make it a concerted effort to go to other blogs!
  • Participate in Challenges - this will be a toughie for me.  I love challenges, but at the same time the next few months at work are going to be onerous so my mind won't be in that mindset.  
Come and join us :D

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Recent DNF Books

I've had a couple of...bad experiences with books lately.  Books that really didn't hold my attention.  And that's actually a worse crime then something that holds my attention, but for bad reasons (see: Sara Craven GR shelf...which I am a sucker for punishment I plan on reading more of her stuff.  I mean it can't get worse.).  You can see my (surprisingly small) DNF shelf on GR here, but here's the most recent things to disappoint me. 

Murder at the Book Group (Hazel Rose Mysteries)
This hasn't been published yet, so I read an e-arc for it.  Last year I had read a book called "The Agatha Christie Book Club" - which, much like this one, was about a book group who found themselves embroiled in a real life mystery.  While I ultimately found that book rather melodramatic at times, it was engaging and entertaining.  I was hoping for much the same from this.  Instead I think I stumbled into an Golden Girls-esque soap opera. I couldn't finish it and stopped around 37%.

Shadow on the Highway (The Highway Trilogy, #1)
My sister actually convinced me to drop this one pretty swfitly (see what I did there).  She's a pretty decent gauge of what I like an don't like so I trust her opinion. Aside from which by about 10% through it (before she told me) I had put it aside six separate times for something a bit more interesting, so I didn't see a reason to go on.  A pity since it sounded like something I would have jumped all over normally.
All Fired Up (DreamMakers, #1)
Unlike other reviewers the sudden inclusion of multiple partners didn't upset me (I sort of expect that from either author honestly), what did upset me was the overwrought emotional rollercoaster that felt so forced and so contrived.  Romance readers say all the time that a little communication would solve most romance novel problems (thus ending the story too soon), but in this case a little communication would have solved ALL the problems and there would have STILL been enough left over story to keep reading.
I have an actual DNF review written for this one!  Basically this comes down to EVERYTHING IS SO BORING.  No one is dynamic. No one has personality. No one's drama really mattered to me.  Then for the ending to occur, it was like a slap to the face (spoiler: I skipped to the last chapter after reading about halfway through...)
Trial by Fire (Worldwalker, #1)
I should have known better since I didn't enjoy her other series so much, but I am a sucker for a book about a girl who suffers from almost as many allergies as I do (because let's be serious, the world is out to get me).
Blackfin Sky

I feel rather awful about this book (also here's a DNF review) because me and my friend Jenn spent all over BEA looking for this book.  Couldn't find it.  Got a review request from the publisher, got super super bored and confused.
Date with a Vampire (Tempted Series, #1)

A secret romance trope of mine is the "reality show" romance shenanighan's.  I love them.  Toss in a vampire as well? All over it. Except this book managed to make me want to throw my tablet out the window. I stopped at the point where Theo (the male lead's "darker" brother) decided to basically mind rape Melody (our heroine) into submitting to him (though thankfully not in SEX just in the game).  Melody's response once Guystoff tells her?  "It felt like a fog!". nope. Sorry.  not gonna happen.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

eBook Review: Bring Me a Dream

The madman and the nightmare…

Vincent Blackman is a little…unhinged. He recently fought a nightmare from the world Darkside and won. Now he fears nothing and wants revenge on the man who had his father brutally murdered. And how convenient to find an ally in Mirren Lambert, his enemy’s gorgeous and sexy daughter. Unfortunately, she’s made a few enemies of her own.

She might be a nightmare, but she’s also his ultimate fantasy.

Mirren was born half human, half nightmare. She was on the run from her ruthless father, but when he abducted her young son, she knew he had to be stopped once and for all. Dangerous Vincent is just who she needs to help her, though she has a perilous part to play as well, infiltrating her father’s circles to discover his secrets. They learn something dark is stirring in the dreamwaters, and it’s reaching toward the waking world. Vincent might be holding on to the last of his sanity, but that’s okay, as long as he holds on even tighter to her.

Vincent, who was introduced to the series as trying to manipulate Jordan in the first book to save his father (and paid the price for it, of which we saw the result of in the last book) and Mirren who was introduced in the last book as manipulating Rook (and by default Jordan) to save her son, have come together to cut out the middle man and take care of business themselves.  The business? Ridding the world of the menace known as AtreidesDidier Lambert, Mirren's father and the architect of what the world knows as the Reve.

He also happens to be a meglomaniac with a God Complex willing to sacrifice anybody to "The Sandman" in his bid for world domination.  But that's the least of his flaws where Mirren and Vincent are concerned.

I gotta admit I didn't much like Vincent until he mentally broke.  Mirren notes that "waking" Vincent is just a little too perfect, a little too Hollywood and that sums up my issues with him in the first book.  He was aware of the fact as well, but now that he's fought nightmares and survived he's a wonderful kind of unbalanced that fits with Mirren's own madness well.

In odd ways this is one of the most functional relationships I've read about in a while.  These two are unfailingly honest with each from the start, support each other through everything, have faith the other is working towards goals of mutual interest and hide nothing.   It was honestly refreshing for to read.  If either had doubts they talked about it together, how it would effect them both, how they could find a solution for it together.

Meanwhile Coll manages to be his own somewhat insufferable self and Masie pops up to remind everyone she's a creative badass so don't forget it.

Didier...he was...its hard to really get a feel for this guy.  He's a larger then life prescence in the other books - omnipotent, deadly and a menacing figure.  This book picks up right where the last one left off, so we get to see Vincent's confrontation (spoiler: it doesn't go exactly as planned) and Mirren's conflicted feelings.  (which again, she talks to Vincent about and they discuss what that means for the two of them together with no additional drama. In fact at one point Vincent's like "I'm killing your father, is that okay with you?" and after a moment of soul searching Mirren replies "That's between you and him, I won't interfere." THANK YOU MIRREN FOR YOUR LACK OF MELODRAMA)

I'm not sure how long this series is going to go for, but at this point it just keeps getting better.  Next installment we get to watch everyone deal with the fall out from revelations about "The Sandman", a couple deaths and Masie on a roadtrip. Which...that can't possibly go well for anyone.

Monday, November 10, 2014

eBook Review: Gunpowder Alchemy

In 1842, the gunpowder might of China’s Qing Dynasty fell to Britain’s steam engines. Furious, the Emperor ordered the death of his engineers—and killed China’s best chance of fighting back…

Since her father’s execution eight years ago, Jin Soling kept her family from falling into poverty. But her meager savings are running out, leaving her with no choice but to sell the last of her father’s possessions—her last memento of him.

Only, while attempting to find a buyer, Soling is caught and brought before the Crown Prince. Unlike his father, the Emperor, the Prince knows that the only chance of expelling the English invaders is to once again unite China’s cleverest minds to create fantastic weapons. He also realizes that Soling is the one person who could convince her father’s former allies—many who have turned rebel—to once again work for the Empire. He promises to restore her family name if she’ll help him in his cause.

But after the betrayal of her family all those years ago, Soling is unsure if she can trust anyone in the Forbidden City—even if her heart is longing to believe in the engineer with a hidden past who was once meant to be her husband…

Steampunk! Politics! Opium! Romance! Engineering I don't understand! Guys welcome to Jeannie Lin's new series the Gunpowder Chronicles.  Before I go further and so we're all clear on this, unlike her other books with Harlequin, this series is less about the romance and more about everything else.  Though to be completely fair her books have always been about balancing both sides of the story, so one foot more away from romance not that big a stretch.  As a sidenote I think she's officially become one of the most tagged author in my blog, at least insofar as reviews go.  Sweet!

So your father is executed for failure, your mother has become an opium addict, your meager existence isn't even of interest to the mice...and the only token you have of your happier memories turns out to be next to worthless.  What do you do?

If you're Soling you agree (in mild desperation) to help recruit your father's former allies in helping to conceive a way to win back their lands from rebels and outsiders alike.  Even though you don't trust the monarch, his henchmen or even your one time fiancee.  And did I say mild desperation? How about this is really the only chance she has at maybe keeping her family from starving to death.

This is a fast paced story.  From when the Crown Prince's lead henchman nabs her to leaning some startling truths about what it can mean to have no other choice, Soling isn't given very much time to ponder things.  For part of the book she is basically forced along by other people's whims and dictates, unable to really direct her destiny even as they require more and more from her.  She struggles at times, both unable to truly reject the Empire that destroyed her family and equally unable to trust that same Empire and those who swear loyalty to it.

Throughout Soling's trust and loyalty is essentially pitted against the survival of her family.  She's confronted with people she knew as a child of 10 who she now meets as an adult.  Her "Uncle" Yang Hanzhu, who she used to follow around and idolize.  A man who showed her tricks and nurtured her curious mind.  Now a man living in exile on the sea, forsaking the "Flower" Empire in irreparable ways.  A man who sees a dark secret in what the foreigners have done and will do anything to find a way to end it.

Her one time fiancee Chang-wei, a man she never met, but heard stories of and had girlish daydreams about.  Now a man who found himself once more working for the Empire who killed his colleagues and mentors a decade before.  A man who speaks the foreigner's tongue fluently and is frequently seen with them, making him an outcast amongst his peers.  A man who sacrificed everything to learn how to defeat those foreign invader's and doesn't regret those actions.

I admit I know very little about more modern Chinese history, such as when this book takes place.  The "Opium Wars" and the "Heavenly Kingdom Rebels", my history classes in school focused more on American history then world history at least after America was formed.  Even though this is obviously a world that flourished differently in the sciences (let's go steampunk!), these are both real world occurrences that Lin incorporates into the story in Soling's journey.

Sideline, when I heard Soling's mother had disguised herself as a man and gone on to ace the Imperial Entrance Exams once upon a time I was like WEI WEI (from THE LOTUS PALACE and THE JADE TEMPTRESS), but I'm not sure I want to think about Wei Wei becoming an opium addict...

This is only the first book in the Gunpowder Chronicles and unlike Lin's previous novels, the next book will once more have Soling narrating (which is good, I liked her narrative tone). I'll be interested to see what happens next, as in the end Soling is much too embroiled in the events to back out and live the quiet life again.  

Friday, November 7, 2014

eBook Review: Phoenix Chosen

When a spell saves her life by sending her to her mother's homeland, Estyria finds herself in a world she'd believed to exist solely in bedtime stories – a realm where gods walk the earth, magic is real, and political intrigue strikes close and hard.

As Scion to a noble House and caught in a competition for the throne, she has mere weeks to learn to navigate the murky waters of court and tangled loyalties.

More than a crown and the well-being of a country is at stake. Two men are bound to her by destiny and their fates depend upon her choices. Sethalor, who holds secrets and memories lost to her, vows to defy the very gods to keep her safe. Aedrian, who agreed to protect her out of love for his prince, but comes to see in her a ruler he would give his soul to protect.

Through assassinations, poison and shifting alliances, can Estyria keep the realm, her heart and the people she loves safe?

I found this book by accident.  I follow author Jeannie Lin on twitter (amongst other places), and she tweeted about finding this book thanks to the author tweeting about Lin's book (we're going deep here guys).  Now anyone who knows me knows of my love of asian dramas, in particular the sub genre known as "wuxia"...or honestly any asian drama that involves gorgeous clothes, historical time period and at least ONE kick ass chick who slaps around the male love interest.  I blame Michelle Yeoh for this by the way.

As the author notes PHOENIX CHOSEN is not a wuxia - this isn't a martial arts fantasy.  This is straight up fantasy.  Which hey not complaining about that at all.  In terms of comparison this is more akin to Juuni Kokki (or The Twelve Kingdoms) in that it focuses on a young girl, tossed into the political intrigue and violence of a Kingdom searching for its leader, who previously was (at best) mediocre at all things.  Through quick wits, a touch of recklessness and some damn loyal compatriots, things sort of kind of work out in her favor.

If you blink and look sideways.  There will be more books soooo we'll see how long that works out for Estyria.

Estyria, affectionately known as Phoenix, is having a rough run of luck.  Her life is pretty aimless, her love life is non-existent and she just got hit by a mini van...who's driver sped away pretty quickly.  She awakens to a world straight out of some Chinese drama, next to a guy who she doesn't know and soon falls unconscious after another guy threatens her life. 

All in all its not what you'd call a stellar first impression of things.

Really she takes things very well considering.  Once its all laid out to her she becomes pretty determined and while she holds it against Sethalor and Aedrian, that's hardly her fault.  One seems to alternately despise her and be attracted to her, while the other definitely is attracted to her, but is almost resentful that she can't remember what they may mean to each other.  And that's before she decides to take on the only option she has to get home, which is to enter into candidacy for the throne of a land that exiled her family.

In the beginning there's a lot of confusion as Estyria attempts to navigate everything.  The position her grandparents hold requires a lot of etiquette and very careful consideration of everything she says or does.  Regardless of her parents' exile, Estyria is now bound to the traditions and sanctions of the land and as such needs to learn real quick how to fit in.  This isn't without its own troubles; Sethalor and Aedrian prove to be hard to decipher, while she doesn't entirely want to trust the grandparents who seem content to let their daughter be tossed out.  Not to mention her own trust issues spilling over from a trauma in her past that she hints at, but doesn't want to examine.

Sethalor, or Seth, is everything that is respectable, refined and elegant.  He's nominally in charge until a new ruler is chosen (by Heaven), but he hates the court and everything it has taken from him.  He's adept at keeping his emotions in check, but at the same time he's reckless when those he cares about (Aedrian or Esytria) are in trouble.  I got a bit tired at his wounded lover looks towards Estyria though, as several characters point out its not helping anyone so he needed to focus more on the present.

Aedrian. Oh Aedrian.  Let me just hug away all your troubles dear one.  He's brash, aggressive and blunt to the point of insolence at times.  His own mixed up feelings for Seth tend to make him act first, so when he restrains himself its impressive.  He starts out the story extremely hostile and antagonist towards everyone except Seth which doesn't really change by the end (now that I think about it).  BUT as the story unfolds its becomes obvious that these two have faced a lot together so maybe its justified.

In terms of world building--its lush and beautiful and detailed.  Some of it is really complicated (I'm still a bit loosey-goosey about the political climate and how it connects to our world) and some of it I think will be expanded upon in the next book, since much of the background took back seat to the current problems at hand (ie: saving the land from starving and thus being invaded).  What I liked was that while if the reader was well versed in asian culture(s) there's a lot to take away from the story, if they're not Xia does a wonderful job examining and explaining the culture without ever dropping heavy pieces of info-dumping. 

I've already blathered on a lot longer then I meant to, but the bottom line is that I can't recommend this loudly enough.  For fantasy fans looking for something not anglo-influenced, for fans of political intrigue or readers who enjoy watching a female main character take charge of her fate, this is perfect.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

ebook Review: Superheroes Anonymous

Everybody in Chicago has a “superhero sighting” story. So when a villain attacks editorial assistant Gail Godwin and she’s rescued by superhero Blaze, it’s a great story, and nothing more. Until it happens again. And again.

Now, the media has dubbed her Hostage Girl, nobody remembers her real name, and people are convinced that Blaze is just Gail’s boyfriend Jeremy in disguise. Gail’s not so sure. All she knows is that when both Jeremy and Blaze leave town in the same week, she’s probably doomed. Who will save her now?

But when the villains miraculously lose interest, Gail is able to return to her life…until she wakes up strapped to a metal table by a mad scientist who hasn’t read the news. Escaping, and now more than human herself, she’s drawn into a secret underground world of superheroes. She’ll have to come to terms with her powers (and weakness) to make it in the new society, and it’s not easy. After all, there’s a new villain on the rise, and she has her sights set on the one and only Hostage Girl.

This is going to sound weird, but Gail should really talk to Emp from EMPOWERED.  They can discuss being Hostage Bait and maybe start a union for folks who get taken hostage frequently. To be fair, once Gail gets powers this is less of an issue...Emp kind of became hostage Bait after getting her powers.  I still think they'd have a lot to talk about though.

What happens when a hero decides to switch cities to protect, but forgot to send that memo to one of his villains who's been incarcerated for a few years? Well that hero's favorite hostage gets to gain super powers, lose a mind numbing job and oh yeah - a great beach bod without any of the workout.

Or she dies horribly after being hooked on some super villain drug.  It could have gone either way for Gail.

Throughout superhero lore there's almost always that one certain person that the superhero always seems to be saving.  The most (in)famous being Lois Lane to Metropolis' Superman.  Villains of all sorts gleefully kidnapped her throughout the long history of the comic/tv/movie franchise.  Gail is her sister in spirit, having found herself inexplicably targeted by most of (if not all of) Chicago's illegal minded betheren?  Is it because everyone assumes her boyfriend is really the city's patron hero Blaze (not the theory she ascribes to)?  Does Blaze have some sort romantic interest in her (even though he never says a single word to her during his routine savings)?

Let's just say the reality of the situation fits in with the rest of Gail's really bad luck throughout the novel.

I went into this expecting a fun, humorous romp and that's what I was given, plus so much more.  Gail, and the reader, gets to see first hand what happens when you're suddenly given super powers and let me tell you its not as advertised.  So don't go chasing radioactive waste or allowing mad scientist's use you as a guinea pig. 

Like anything else being a Superhero isn't all its cracked up to be.  Saving lives, busting the bad guys, looking cool while doing it...that's all after some intense training, lots of meetings and dealing with some very heavy egos running around.  Its really more about managing expectations then anything else.  Heroes are expected to have a certain mystique and by golly that's what they're given.  So when a villain decides to go to the TRULY dark side and screws with the rulebook...things get ugly.

I liked Gail for the most part.  She's down to earth and responds to her ever changing situation remarkably well.  Her biggest worry isn't usually whether she'll die or not (by in large her captors tend to have less need for her dead and more need for her alive), but if her company's insurance will continue to cover her.  Being kidnapped weekly? Huge insurance liability.  Plus she's sarcastic, hardworking and sees the good in people (or situations).

Though I gotta admit her last decision in the end?  I wanted to wring her silly super powered neck. 

Our cast of characters ranges from only kind of given personality (like Guy's brother) to being murky as dishwater with their motivations (I'm still not convinced Jeremy isn't two shades short of turning dark just to get some damn recognition...or at least control over his life).  The archetypes are well know and played off here to various degrees, especially as Gail sees their "real" lives and is surprised by the differences.

What worked less for me was the journalist thread that wove in and around the rest and ultimately informed the ending sequence.  It just honestly made so little sense to me that Gail would do that.  She knew first hand what could happen (on several personal experience levels) and yet she chose the naive path.  With crippling dread I read with only the mildest of hope that it would be okay.  Though I did start hurling insults at the people on the last page for being presumptuous and stupid, on behalf of Gail who was shell shocked, so that at least means my emotions were thoroughly invested right?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Book Review: A Thousand Pieces of You

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

Okay guys let's talk multiple dimensions and the paths not taken. I've been fascinated by the concept since at least Sliders (which if you don't know what that is then go stand in the corner thank you), but probably as far back as the first time I saw the original Star Trek episode of the Mirror Universe.  There's a me somewhere in the infinite realities that doesn't like to read! I'm sure she doesn't understand the hell she's brought on herself. I should build a machine to go help her..

This sub genre of scifi has taken the YA scene by storm in the last couple of years - there's Kasie West's PIVOT POINT, Elizabeth Norris' UNRAVELING, Anna Jarzab's TANDEM, Erica O'Rourke's DISSONANCE, Cristin Bishara's RELATIVITY, Cat Patrick's JUST LIKE FATE, E.C. Meyer's FAIR COIN...and those are just the ones I remember reading.  Lord knows what ones I've missed lately.  So A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU had some competition in other words.

But I loved the living daylights out of this book.  Natascha (of Bloody Bookaholic) and I read this together via facebook messenger--sharing our reactions and such as we went along.  Here's some (non-spoilery) reactions we had:


Okay I lied its all kind of spoilery XD  Tasch mentions in her GR review that we called some of it--which I think most readers will pick up on certain plot points. Quite honestly the plot follows some well worn tracks.  Especially if you watch, read or have an interest in dimension/reality hopping.  What shines through the best here are the characters and how Gray uses those tropes.

We spend a fair amount of time in only two dimensions--one in which Marguerite is a Russian noble (her mother is a Russian immigrant, there is context for this) and another where its Ocean Girl mostly underwater.  I'll speak a faint spoiler here, the ramifications from the Russian dimension have long lasting effects on Marguerite.  In Gray's notion its not your body that jumps, its your consciousness and you inhabit whatever is closest to your "self" while the original consciousness is basically put to sleep (sort of).

There are two love interests -- Theo and Paul, but that's not quite right to explain it that way.  Marguerite feels a connection to Paul, not exactly romance, but as if he understands her.  As she mentions her parents had a rotating stable of grad students and interns that frequently became "part of the family", but she paid very little attention to them overall.  Paul and Theo, for different reasons, became important people in her life.  For good and ill.

Closer to the end revelations are handled either really well or kind of drawn out.  Your mileage may vary on what I think worked and didn't work however, since a lot is predicated by how well you bought into earlier relationships/situations.  If you've read Gray's books, especially any first books in her other series, you'll see a familiarish trend to the story beats.  This is perfectly fine, I went into the book expecting this in fact since I'm a big fan of following a formula (or loose outline) that works.  Again its the characters of this book that make it stand out.

Marguerite is, by her own admissions, not a scientific genius like her parents.  She's fine with that, they're more then fine with that, she has her own calling (art).  Actually let me just pause to extoll the fact her parents are supportive as hell.  We mainly see her "dimension" in flashbacks, but throughout the rest of the book when an incarnation of her parents are present, they are unfailingly supportive of her.  They're not pushing her to be a science wonder kid, they don't want her to put aside her passion for what they think is better.  Yes they want her to do well at school, but they don't require her to follow in their foot prints.

Which is probably good since Marguerite has about as much scientific ability as I do, which is to say none.

Meanwhile let's discuss Paul (aka Father Murderer) and Theo (aka Totes Not Jealous).  At first we see way more of Theo then Paul; Theo goes off with Marguerite to chase after Paul, Theo is there explaining things to her, Theo is there "protecting her".  Paul meanwhile is off running around doing...something that I can't explain for spoiler reasons and the first time we actually get to spend time with Paul (outside of memories/flashbacks) is in Russia Dimension.  And that doesn't go as planned.

Theo is...hard to pinpoint.  I do think if things had happened in a different order, or if we weren't seeing it from Marguerite's POV, I would have felt differently at times.  As it is Marguerite's opinion of Theo is colored by her overwhelming opinion of Paul to the point where when Theo disagrees with her her demeanor gets downright hostile.  And this is one of my few nitpicks.  Until we see Marguerite and Paul together, her emotions go from one end of the spectrum to the other.  She wants to give him the benefit of the doubt...but the evidence...and Theo is just as bad.

Later, after Russia and things happen that affect Marguerite more profoundly then any other character, a tension envelops the three that made sense, but not for the reasons Gray illustrates.  Spoiler starts here: [spoiler]In Russia, Paul is unable to retain control of his dimension's "self" so he is subsumed by the Russian Paul.  Marguerite, who retains her connection, falls in love with Russian Paul and not just because he reminds of her Paul.  Russian Paul ends up sacrificing his life for Marguerite and she feels immense guilt over this.  To the point where she feels like she's betraying Russian Paul by having confusing feelings and emotions for her Paul.  But she doesn't explain this to ANYBODY.  Instead she internalizes it, gives Paul, who made his feelings for her clear several times, a cold shoulder.[/end spoiler]

I think its great that Gray had Marguerite so morally conflicted.  The situation is one that some (though not all) authors of this genre encounter, but rarely does it seem to have actual effect.  Part of this I think is because in Gray's world there is a clear difference between the "native" resident of the dimension and the "interloper".  And I understood WHY Marguerite felt the way she did.  However the resolution felt abrupt given the emotional gravity of it.

Honestly this is a wonderful, great book.  Its attention grabbing, its intriguing and Gray builds a universe that has so much potential.