Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Touch of Twilight (Third Sign of the Zodiac) by Vicki Pettersson (4/5 stars)

This is the third book in the Sign of the Zodiac series by Vicki Pettersson. This book was a strong addition to the series, a lot happens, and many things from the last book are resolved.

In this book Joanna Archer is struggling with a number of things; one of the Shadow Agents (under cover as Rose) has her sights set on Joanna's childhood sweetheart Ben, Joanna is being hunted by a mysterious doppleganger, something has happened to the changeling that protects Joanna, the Tulpa is still trying to woe Joanna to the "darkside", and on top of all this the third sign of the Zodiac is imminent. Of course there is also the issue of Joanna's daughter, Joanna's lack of a relationship with Hunter, and Joanna's missing mother. When you take it all in, there is a lot going on in this book.

For the most part it was a very good book and I enjoyed it. I loved the addition of the doppleganger. I loved that more depth was added to Zane, the comic book store owner. I also liked that Joanna is learning more about her powers and finally taking a bit more responsibility for her actions. It was a very interesting book. I also liked that Pettersson is trying to take this a bit beyond most paranormals by adding a deep Mythos behind her characters and adding interesting theories of vibrational frequencies behind the power of the super heros.

There were a few things I didn't like though. For a lot of the book I feel like Joanna is confused and just has two much going on. It is almost like Joanna has horrible ADD and can't focus long enough to complete anything. It makes me wonder if maybe Pettersson is having some trouble focusing on what the point of the story is; maybe she's thrown too much at Joanna for this character to get things done in some symblance of order. Joanna's fixation with Ben and blindness towards him is irritating, as is her reluctance to accept her new life. Joanna's lack of training and knowledge is also irritating, usually in this type of story you would have at least a small period where the hero learns what their capabilities are and Joanna doesn't do that; she just stumbles through the story. Also, even though I liked the inclusion of scientific theory behind the special super hero powers, I felt like the vibrational theory explanation was a bit contrived. It felt like Pettersson was making up these theories on the fly and hadn't really thought them though.

Even though this wasn't the tightest most well put together story that I have ever read, and the main character seemed unfocused and scattered at times, it was still a very good book. Joanna has a lot of depth as a character and the story is wildly creative and interesting. Joanna does redeem herself at the end, showing that she is growing as a character and making progress in accepting who she is. This isn't quite the book I had hoped it would be, but I have high hopes for the next novel. These books are just a hair away from being something really extraordinary.

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