by Jayne Castle
Book 13 of Harmony
With its opulent casinos and hotels, the desert city of Illusion Town is totally unique -- and will take you on a thrill ride you’ll never forget.
Hannah West isn’t the first woman to wake up in Illusion Town married to a man she barely knows, but she has no memory of the ceremony at all. For that matter, neither does Elias Coppersmith, her new husband. All either can remember is that they were on the run…
With Hannah’s dubious background and shaky para-psych profile, she could have done much worse. The cooly competent mining heir arouses her curiosity -- as well as other parts of her mind and body. And even her dust bunny likes him.
But a honeymoon spent retracing their footsteps leads Hannah and Elias into the twisting underground catacombs, where secrets from both their pasts will come to light -- and where the energy of their clashing auras will grow hot enough to burn…
Somehow, Illusion Town ended up feeling more present-day-earth-like... if that makes any sense. The Harmony books are set in a futuristic world, on a planet in outer space with aliens and such. And the past few Harmony books in the Rainshadow sub-series had started feeling less futuristic-spacey until about three books in, when the catacombs came back into the game.
And now Illusion Town comes around, with it's Vegas-like setting, a few references to the Arcane Society, and maybe a few instances of catacombs, and we stop feeling like Harmony once again. If not for the presence of Virgil, the dust bunny, and the random mentions of the aliens and their catacombs, this could have been any random paranormal romantic suspense book in a present day Vegas-like city.
But really, that was my only quibble.
I liked the whole memory loss schtick, as awkward as the whole scenario was carried out. Truthfully, it could have been executed a little bit better, but it wasn't terrible. Watching Hannah and Elias piece their way backwards from a post psi-burn memory loss that somehow led to a Marriage of Convenience with no recollection of how they got there, waking up in a seedy motel together was interesting. Even if the twisty reveals could have been handled a little less deliberately.
Meanwhile, another tie-in to the Arcane Society was also quite nice. I liked having a dreamlight talent brought back to the forefront and found Hannah's dream walking skill an interesting one, though I would have liked a more in-depth look at it. A lot of the story and the character biographies of both our hero and heroine felt a bit glossed over. The developing bond and romance was sweet, even if not as steamy as I would have liked.
Again, I wished there could have been more of our dust bunny companion, but Virgil felt a bit left out.
Nonetheless, this is still a wonderful Jayne Castle slash Jayne Ann Krentz at her formulaic best, and I absolutely am looking forward to more in the Harmony series!