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  • ARC Review: The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver
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  • Review: Places No One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

ARC Review: Plague in the Mirror by Deborah Noyes

It's a book about traveling, both in time and to fascinating places with a lot of history in it. It's quite a fascinating book, with a premise that makes the readers curious. Is it good? Bad? Read on.

Title: Plague in the Mirror by Deborah Noyes
Release Date: June 11th 2013
Published by: Candlewick Press
Source: Publisher
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository

Summary:

In a sensual paranormal romance, a teen girl’s doppelgänger from 1348 Florence lures her into the past in hopes of exacting a deadly trade.

It was meant to be a diversion — a summer in Florence with her best friend, Liam, and his travel-writer mom, doing historical research between breaks for gelato. A chance to forget that back in Vermont, May’s parents, and all semblance of safety, were breaking up. But when May wakes one night sensing someone in her room, only to find her ghostly twin staring back at her, normalcy becomes a distant memory. And when later she follows the menacing Cristofana through a portale to fourteenth-century Florence, May never expects to find safety in the eyes of Marco, a soulful painter who awakens in her a burning desire and makes her feel truly seen. The wily Cristofana wants nothing less of May than to inhabit each other’s lives, but with the Black Death ravaging Old Florence, can May’s longing for Marco’s touch be anything but madness? Lush with atmosphere both passionate and eerie, this evocative tale follows a girl on the brink of womanhood as she dares to transcend the familiar — and discovers her sensual power.

May's going through a confusing time of her life. Decisions need to be made and she must deal with the fact that her parents are getting a divorce. Instead, May chose to escape to a trip to Florence with her best friend, Liam and his mother Gwen, to take her mind off things and put off the inevitable. But in Florence, where every corner, every stone has a history, May met Cristofana, a ghost from 14th century Florence, at the time where the Black Plague was expected to hit and kill almost everyone. Cristofana wants to explore May's world, and May wants to know more about the mysterious painter she met, but is that enough reason for them to exist in a world and time that aren't their own?

I was very much curious of May's character. She was in the midst of a family falling apart, needing to choose whether to stay with her mom or dad after they divorce and she needed time to come into terms that her family is going to be broken up. A lost girl who got lost, literally, in another time. May had a chance to escape in another place, another time, but will she take it? It's what got me more curious of her. Despite sharing a face with Cristofana, May is her exact opposite: kind and level headed, and maybe a little bit dense. Her intense attraction to the painter, Marco, was something I wanted to see, though I was a bit disappointed on that part.

One of the reasons why I had a hard time reading this book was my constant dislike of Cristofana. Her spiteful attitude was a big turn off for me. Granted, she had seen and experience a lot of horrible things and terrible hardships in life being a daughter of a pirate and a whore, but I couldn't understand her motivations most of the time. Something in her strange personality further makes my understanding of her character a lot more blurry. She's the unusual kind that comes off sinister.  I wasn't even surprised that she's capable of threatening May. She knows how to use her beauty to survive but it wasn't always necessarily used for good.

Another reason was I had a hard time digesting all of the facts relating to the time travel aspect of the story. The way it was written made the story heavy with explanations and there were fewer conversations, this format presents the readers with a lot that takes time to make sense. The explanations make you want to believe that a mirror image of May exists in another time, maybe another alternate reality, but somewhere along the way one might get confused with how it was stated to convince a reader like it did to me.

The sensual aspect, as mentioned in the blurb, was handled very subtly. How May eventually went through losing her virginity was written in a very good way, there was passion and intense emotions accompanying the experience and on the other hand, the way Cristofana faced the very same issue in a more modern time and setting felt a lot more realistic to me. There was talk about sex briefly in some parts, but that wasn't really enough for this book to be very sensual. The contrast between Cristofana's sexual experience as compared to May was presented in a nice way as well. I was somewhat expecting it to be a little more explicit but I liked that it was written the way it was.

There's something in Florence that makes it such a great backdrop for May's unusual tale. There's something magnetic in the somber, mellow face Florence seems to present, something appealing in the tragedy ravaging the town and the way of life of the people facing such a devastating crisis, at least in this story. It's one aspect that I liked. You can feel every gruesome, tiring emotion the people of Fourteenth century Florence had through Cristofana's eyes. Though a bit confusing, and a little bit under developed, the romance in Cristofana's and May's life was also an interesting piece to read. The slow pace of the story matches the overall feel the book gives but depending on the reader, it might add or decrease the appeal of the book. There are bits and pieces of friendship and family also woven in the story that gave it more life.

Content (plot, story flow, character):
What didn't work for me: the pacing, the long winded explanations and Cristofana's personality, most of which piled up and made some parts of the book confusing. I was expecting more action that will give the book a greater impact but there really wasn't anything like that.
.5
Okay: Liked, but The Goddess demands more!

Book Cover:
The cover gives off the perfect atmosphere you will expect from fourteenth century Florence.

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