After barely surviving an epic battle between her warring soul mates, Ava is stranded in the past with Laith, while Maddox frantically searches across the decades. Laith will stop at nothing to prove his love to Ava, and a desperate Maddox must race against time to find her before his brother can win her heart.
Torn between the two brothers, and with her eternal soul at stake, Ava comes to the horrifying conclusion that only she can break the curse. But the cost may be more than she is willing to pay.
*May Contain Spoilers*
The curse continues in the Flames of Time series with Scattered Souls by Erica Lucke Dean. Though I did not read the first book in this series, I definitely should have. I think it would have helped me have a better connection to Ava as well as understand the curse more fully and see both Maddox and Laith more clearly. But I just couldn't say no to reading this book.
Ava Flynn: teenage soul reincarnation of a young woman named Elizabeth who committed suicide after finding out that she had two soul mates who hated each other and would never let her live her life in peace with just one of them. Ava, as her own person, is still suffering from the loss of her father while living with her mother and brother in Maine. As the reincarnated soul of Elizabeth, Ava is destined to love both Maddox and Laith, twin brothers who suffer from a terrible curse of sharing a soul, though it resides divided in both bodies. This sequel to Splintered Souls does a good job in explaining that Ava has feelings for both young men and is just as confused as Elizabeth was.
However, at the beginning of this book, Ava was just saved/kidnapped by Laith, the brother she originally wasn't too impressed with, from certain death involving falling off a cliff. Instead of letting her die, Laith jumped over the cliffside, grabbed Ava as they both fell, and time traveled them to the past. 1928 to be specific. Yes, that's right -- time travel. A big reason I couldn't not read this book. I think this shows an important part of Laith's character as he put his own life in danger to help Ava, even though at the time she was involved with Maddox.
Laith and Maddox seem to be complete opposites in this series except for the glaringly obvious part about them being soul mates with the same woman. This literary technique, called foil, is used to compare and contrast a main character in order to highlight certain attributes. In this book specifically, Maddox's obsession and insane perseverance highlight Laith's good qualities even though he was made out to be the 'bad' brother. As the story progresses, Laith slowly evolves into the 'good' brother while Maddox simultaneously shows his true colors as being completely insane.
As Dean wanted, throughout the first half of the book, I did not like Laith. I thought it was wrong that he saved her life only to take her back in time and keep her to himself, hiding her from Maddox. Ava's feelings for Maddox both turned on alarm bells for Laith as well as blurred the true nature of Maddox. This works to put readers into the same position as Ava herself: Which brother has the truer intentions? Also, which brother is being honest in his personal representation and which one just wants to have Ava to beat the other?
I really enjoyed how put in this strange situation, Ava refused to sit it out and let the boys decide what was best for her. She shows bravery and courage when she decides to steal Laith's stone, travel back in time, and figure out how to stop the boys from being cursed in the first place. Though it proves not to be very successful, as the past resists being changed, I admired Ava for attempting it.
I also liked how Dean dealt with the small paradoxes of time travel. Her terms like 'jet wash' really helped explain how it works in the confines of this novel and this curse.
The only real problem I had with this book was the dialogue. Not between the modern day characters like Ava, Laith, and Maddox, but with the characters from the past. As a student of English literature, the people in England from the 1600s would have spoken Early Modern English and therefore, there would have been a little difficulty in Ava understanding them and vice versa. I'm not saying it's impossible, but it bothered me that Ava could converse with the characters in the 1600s so easily. Though Ava's modern references definitely added a bit of humor to the more serious situations she experienced while in the past.
In regards to the plot, the main focus is the love triangle between Ava, Maddox, and Laith. The first half of the book works more as a character reveal of Laith as Maddox searches through time to find where Laith is hiding Ava. When Ava realizes that neither brother will submit his half of the soul to the other, she decides to take things into her own hands and try to stop the curse from ever being placed to begin with.
I think readers who enjoy time travel and love stories will enjoy this book, and perhaps this series as a whole. I know I feel invested in how this series ends and will look forward to reading the next installment as there was a huge cliffhanger ending. However, I do highly recommend starting from book one. I usually try to follow this advice, but sometimes I just can't wait.
Rating: 3/5 Cups