Thursday, September 1, 2011

Review: Canyons of Night by Jayne Castle

Canyons of Night by Jayne Castle

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Since we still have no power, I read this book by flashlight and dawn's early light. So not kidding. And it turns out dust bunnies can come off as a little creepy when you're in pitch darkness. I am convinced, by the way, that dust bunnies are actually the evolved form of the aliens who originally colonized Harmony. The way Castle writes them, they seem almost sentient at times and Rex underscores that idea in Canyons.

Canyons is billed as the third book in the Dreamlight Trilogy, but could very easily stand alone, so long as you'd read other Harmony books. I did question the sudden appearance of the Rainshadow Preserve, but I think Castle did try to connect it back a bit to the older Harmony books (Amaryllis, Orchid, Zinnia). It's interesting that Castle/Krentz excludes those books from her list on her website. Are we supposed to think they are separate? Was there a second 'Curtain' that took a whole 'nother bunch of colonists to a separate planet, but allowed them to evolve the same way? I have to re-read them. Maybe I'll go on a Jayne Castle kick since I'm done with my sports craving.

I was mildly disappointed and impressed by this book at the same time. It's not anything new. It's your standard Castle book, complete with psychic peril and off-the-charts powerful characters. I was kinda hoping for the 'childhood friends turned lovers' trope, but that's not what I got. There's this line in the beginning where the hero, Slade, talks about how he's only on the island for six months because he's working on this project. I was all "Oh, that's so sweet, he came back to woo her." Nope, he's starting his own business. It was a tad deflating.

Charlotte started off mildly interesting for me because she had panic attacks when she uses her gift, which is a new one. Castle doesn't usually write heroines who are disabled in some way. It's her heroes that usually the damaged ones. However, it's not really pursued and it remains in the realm of an inconvenient side effect.

Despite the lackluster story between Slade and Charlotte, what impressed me was the way Castle set up the next trilogy. There's the slightest hint of what's lurking in the Preserve. A possible hero is introduced at the very end and we also meet two secondary characters who will likely be very important in the future. I also loved the kid, Dixon Devin, actually, (I don't have the book available at the moment. If I get power back tonight, I'll edit the correct name in). I really hope we see him again. Castle likes to throw in a young, practically an orphan, boy in her stories every now and then, and it would be a treat to actually get to watch one grow up.

Bottom line, I'd either recommend you get it from the library or wait until the first book in the next trilogy is released, whenever that will be. You'll likely need to read Canyons to properly prepare for the next trilogy, but it's not exactly a must-read.

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