Last month I reviewed Moonless by Crystal Collier and last week I finished the second novel in the Maiden of Time Trilogy, Soulless. I don’t really trust myself to explain the story without unleashing massive spoilers, so I’ll start by sharing the blurb:
Alexia manipulated time to save the man of her dreams, and lost her best friend to red-eyed wraiths. Still grieving, she struggles to reconcile her loss with what was gained: her impending marriage. But when her wedding is destroyed by the Soulless—who then steal the only protection her people have—she’s forced to unleash her true power.
And risk losing everything.
Spoiler Free Review
The first thing I would like to say is that I liked this book a lot more than I liked the first book. You’re thrown immediately into a much more interesting conflict which includes one of my favourite characters from the series, and you delve much, much deeper into the world of the Passionate. The main character undergoes a tremendous amount of growth, both in her personality and in her abilities. And we’re introduced to some delightfully powerful characters on both sides.
Most of these differences exist because of the nature of a series. The first book has to do all the groundwork, introducing you to the characters and the world. And the main character usually has a lot of growing to do when a book starts. I never disliked Alexia, but I didn’t feel strongly for her one way or another until very close to the end of that book–it was questions about the world of the Passionate that pushed me through the story.
It’s also worth noting that I’m usually not as interested in stories about characters who get pulled into mysterious worlds; I read a lot of alternate world fantasy with characters whose lives are already shaped by those worlds.
By the beginning of Soulless Alexia has already grown a fair bit and she is deeply in the Passionate world. By the end of the book she is a much stronger character, a woman instead of a girl, and the Passionate world has become more complex and fascinating than I thought it would. There’s some really funky timeline stuff going on, but a lot of the confusing parts have already been explained and I believe it will all make sense by the end of Timeless, the final book in the trilogy.
I especially loved the last scene in this novel, and I would give it a 4 out of 5 stars.
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The one thing I want to talk about with massive spoilers involved is that Alexia’s relationship with her husband-to-be is at times deeply unsettling and I spent roughly two thirds of the book trying to decide if he was a creep or if the history/politics of the Passionate world justified his actions. He’s been watching over her since childhood, is much older, and is both overprotective and secretive. Yes, Alexia has been in mortal danger(which she was deliberately kept unaware of, and I’m not sure how I feel about that either) for most of that time, but it still felt really overbearing, especially in a world full of Edward Cullens and Christian Greys.
At the end of the book Alexia goes back in time. Like, reaaaalllly far back in time. I had actually started to wonder when real time travel happened–Crystal has talked about it in some of her interviews–and it starts partway through this book, with tiny jumps of ten seconds or ten minutes. But things she learns along the way convince her that she needs to go much further back.
The scene of her leaving is incredibly powerful, and it shows tremendous growth in both her and her lover. She is a long way from the girl whose curiosity got her in endless trouble in Moonless. He, on the other hand, actually lets her go.
For me, this was a defining moment for their relationship, the moment where I could definitively say yes, I was okay with it, the story did justify almost all his actions, and most importantly, the relationship is growing in a healthy direction. Alexia may have left him behind in the present, but if she ever gets back there I believe they’ll have a great future together, and that’s awesome. So once again, this book gets 4 out of 5 stars.