Series: Fantasyland #5
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Author: Kristen Ashley
Release Date: August 15, 2016
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 mask 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.
But there was a reason I carried a midnight soul, for the evil contained in both my parents set their souls to cinders years ago. It was not a wonder I’d inherited the blackness.
What a bittersweet book this was for me to read. Midnight Soul marks the conclusion of one of my favorite Kristen Ashley series. After all, it’s the series that brought me The Golden Dynasty, only my top favorite KA book of ALL time.
This is not a series I recommend reading out of order. You need the entire backstory and it’s one that develops with each story arc and later carries over into the next. Yes, there’s a new couple in each book, but it just wouldn’t be the same experience to read them as standalones.
I have to admit I was nervous reading a book with Franka as the heroine. Considering the woman has sharpened her claws on plenty of previous heroines, I had to wonder how KA could redeem someone like her. While she wasn’t quite a villain, she wasn’t exactly a nice person and she certainly wasn’t someone you’d root for in the previous books either. After the culmination of events at the end of Broken Dove, I also wondered where the story had left to go. The ultimate baddies had been beat. Everything was right in the world and most questions answered.
If you’re expecting a book much like the rest of the Fantasyland series, don’t. This was as different as it gets and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I certainly enjoyed the flip side of the switch here. I don’t want to give you too many details and ruin it for you, but let’s just say I appreciated the slight reversal Kristen took with the last book in the series. It was most fitting.
I loved the mix of the heroine being the one from the ‘other’ world and the hero being the modern one as well. It was different and refreshing. Plus, let’s be real, I loved me some Noc. There’s also a secondary romance that happens on a mix of in and off the pages here that I would have absolutely loved more page time for. I was hoping to get more of them towards the end, but alas they were mostly just loosely mentioned.
So why not a higher rating? Well, I just didn’t get the oomph here that I’ve come to rely on this series. There’s not much in the way of things happenings. After the resolution in the first 20%, the rest reads like the typical second half of a KA book. The relationship development, the hero and heroine getting to know each other. It was a lot of pages of their day to day lives, and while it wasn’t quite boring, it wasn’t exciting either. I kept waiting for the typical conflict at the end, but there wasn’t much in that respect either. To me, it read like one long epilogue. There wasn’t much conflict past the revelation in the first 20% and that may work for some or not.
I loved the way the author redeemed Franka and made her into a heroine to root for pretty much right away. You get the true heart of her and you understand they why’s of what she did in the past. No, this wasn’t the action packed thrill ride that some of the other books in the series were, but it was by no means a bad thing…just different. The epilogue at the end is nothing short of what I’ve come to expect from Kristen and definitely managed to bring a tear to my eye. So while this may not have been my favorite book in the series, it was still a fitting ending to what had come to be one of my favorite series and one I strongly recommend to any lovers of fantasy romance.
And Don’t Miss the First Books in the Fantasyland Series!
Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA and nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn’t taken her first breath!). Her mother said they took Kristen away, put her Mom back in her room, her mother looked out the window, and Gary was on fire (Dr. King had been assassinated four days before). Kristen’s Mom remembered thinking it was the end of the world. Quite the dramatic beginning.
Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana and has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus, she’s blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her family was (is) loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. They all lived together on a very small farm in a small farm town in the heartland. She grew up with Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).
Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.
And as she keeps growing, it keeps getting better.