SYNOPSIS: Against his will, Noctorno Hawthorne, an undercover vice cop, finds himself embroiled in magic, mayhem and parallel universes. Too late, he meets an amazing woman only to find she’s destined for his identical twin in another world. And things aren’t going real great there. Noc is recruited to help save that world. What he doesn’t know is his destined love resides there.
Franka Drakkar wears a mask. A mask she never takes off to protect herself in a world of malice, intrigue and danger. When Franka meets Noc and he discovers her secrets, convinced she carries a midnight soul, having shielded herself from forming bonds with anyone, she struggles with accepting his tenderness and care.
When Noc meets Franka, over wine and whiskey, her masks slips and Noc knows it’s her—only her—and he has to find a way to get her to come home with him. And then make her want to stay.
SERIES: Fantasyland #5
GENRE: Romance, Fantasy
RATING: ★★★☆☆ / 3 enjoyable but not-quite-spectacular stars.
REVIEW: I'm a Kristen Ashley addict. Just thought I'd get that out of the way at the beginning. She's probably my only auto-buy author, not because there aren't other authors that I love or in fact love more than KA, but because I am always in the mood for one of her books. Always. Plus, on Kindle, they're incredibly affordable. And if you've made it to book 5 in this series then you're probably just as enamored with KA as I am.
Midnight Soul makes a couple twists on this series that has it standing apart from the previous four books. First, is that our male lead is from our universe and thus follows that the female lead is from the parallel universe. And second is that our destination is also reversed, being that the end goal is to set up life here in our exhaust filled world of pizza and indoor plumbing...you can imagine how fun this turns out to be.
I loved the beginning because we get Franka's origin story. She is such a strong character, as is all of KA's femmes, though in different ways, but Franka's haughty air struck a particularly strong chord with me. I adored her from first till last page and even teared up a lot during the first chapters. As for Noc, he's the rough talking, compassionate eyed hero that frequents most of Ashley's reality based novels. And of course he's perfect for Franka.
While this book was fun, in my opinion, it dragged a tad in the middle and toward the end. The story fractures a bit to focus on a couple other threads that, while interesting, felt a bit off kilter and not entirely satisfying. It's a 645 page book, so there's a lot that gets put into the story, but the best was in the beginning, and at times the later parts felt like filler. I know that the author was tying up the series and possibly trying to just fit all the little tid-bits that might interest us into this book, but it wasn't entirely successful.
Oh, and who else has read this and thought for part of the book that Franka's "this-world" twin might be Frankie from the fifth Burg-series book? The similarities in circumstance and attitude were uncanny. But we come to learn that that isn't true, and I'm only "spoiling" that because I wish I had learned that sooner so that it wasn't flitting around in the back of my brain and distracting my reading, so therefore I'll tell you now that Franka's twin isn't any of our other heroines from KA books.
All in all, it was an enjoyable book but not spectacular. Still, I love KA books and will continue to read them all!