Book Tour Review: The Collector of Dying Breaths by M.J. Rose

Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Title: The Collector of Dying Breaths
Author: M.J. Rose
Series: Reincarnationist #6
Pages: 384
Published: expected April 8 2014
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for review
Rating: 3/5

A lush and imaginative novel that crisscroses time as a perfumer and a mythologist search for the fine line between potion and poison, poison and passion…and past and present.

Florence, Italy—1533: An orphan named René le Florentin is plucked from poverty to become Catherine de Medici’s perfumer. Traveling with the young duchessina from Italy to France, René brings with him a cache of secret documents from the monastery where he was trained: recipes for exotic fragrances and potent medicines—and a formula for an alchemic process said to have the potential to reanimate the dead. In France, René becomes not only the greatest perfumer in the country but the most dangerous, creating deadly poisons for his Queen to use against her rivals. But while mixing herbs and essences under the light of flickering candles, Rene doesn’t begin to imagine the tragic and personal consequences for which his lethal potions will be responsible.

Paris, France—The Present: A renowned mythologist, Jac L’Etoile, is trying to recover from personal heartache by throwing herself into her work, learns of the 16th century perfumer who may have been working on an elixir that would unlock the secret to immortality. She becomes obsessed with René le Florentin’s work—particularly when she discovers the dying breathes he had collected during his lifetime. Jac’s efforts put her in the path of her estranged lover, Griffin North, a linguist who has already begun translating René le Florentin’s mysterious formula. Together they confront an eccentric heiress in possession of a world-class art collection. A woman who has her own dark purpose for the elixir… a purpose for which she believes the ends will justify her deadly means. 

This mesmerizing gothic tale of passion and obsession crisscrosses time, zigzagging from the violent days of Catherine de Medici’s court to twenty-first century France. Fiery and lush, set against deep, wild forests and dimly lit chateaus, The Collector of Dying Breaths illuminates the true path to immortality: the legacies we leave behind.

  The latest and sixth book in the long-running Reinarnationist series, The Collector of Dying Breaths is another exciting thrill tied in with intriguing mysteries and past lives. Main character and perfumer Jac L'Etoile is back for the latest novel, though her brother Robbie also plays a small but meaningful role in the plot. Those familiar with the previous five novels will enjoy the appearances and mentions of previous characters and events, but like Rose's others, The Collector of Dying Breaths can be read as part of the series or as a standalone.

 Rose's books move fast. There is always a lot of story to cover -- both in the current storyline of Jac/Robbie/Melinoe/Griffin and in the past one of Rene Bianco -- so the pace is quick and unrelenting. It's an easy read thanks to Rose's clever plotting and creative writing. The theme of memory and scent is as present here as it is the other books, and combines the historical aspect of Rene's story to that of Jac's in the modern day. Jac does get a bit more time to develop her plot as opposed to Rene's less frequent chapters, but each plot line is interesting and imaginative.

 The characterization does suffer somewhat because of the book's dedication to the various other aspects of storytelling, and it shows. For me, writing three dimensional characters have always been the chink in M.J. Rose's writing armor. I have been with Jac and Robbie for three books, but I still can't say I really know these people the author has created. I want more from them--- I want to care about Griffin and Jac as a couple, but it is hard to do when my feelings for each as individuals are so lukewarm.

 As much as this is about past lives and uncovering the mystery behind a character's death, The Collector of Dying Breaths is more of a Gothic romance than a suspenseful historical/time slip novel. The other elements are my favorite and I wish they were incorporated into the story more. The clear focus, character-wise, is on Jac and Grffin's will-they-won't-they relationship. It leaves the villain, especially, unexplained and somewhat laughable at the end of it all.

 Though there have already been six books, this is a series with enough potential to keep going for at least another few stories. Rose is able to craft fun and engaging stories with her wide cast of characters and reading her creations always makes for a diverting experience.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Copyright © 2015 Ageless Pages Reviews. All Rights Reserved.

Amelia Theme by The Lovely Design CO and These Paper Hearts.