Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Plague in the Mirror by Deborah Noyes | Book Review

TITLE: Plague in the Mirror
AUTHOR: Deborah Noyes
PUBLISHER/YEAR: Candlewick / June 2013
SOURCE: For Review from Publisher via NetGalley

Goodreads / Author's Website

I love historical fiction. It's basically my go to genre no matter what my mood is. However, I'm pretty unforgiving of it. Historical inaccuracies are pretty a big deal for me. I'm also a fan of time travel books, so I was pretty excited going into Plague in the Mirror. It combines fourteenth century Florence with some mysticism and time travel; the description pretty much encapsulated everything I love in a book. Unfortunately, it didn't live up to my (admittedly high) expectations and I found myself almost giving up on it a few times.

May is spending the summer in Florence with her good friend Liam and his travel-writing/historian mother. May's parents are going through a divorce and helping with historical research half a world away seems like the perfect distraction. However, May wakes up in the middle of the night and see Cristofana, a ghost who wants to swap lives as they look identical. The research is all but forgotten. May follows Cristofana into plague ravaged, fourteenth century Florence only to fall in love with Marco, a painter who may or may not survive the plague. May has to struggle between the past and the present, between her current life and the one that could potentially await her in the past.

There were just so many times this book had me scratching my head. I could not understand May or her problems. I have no issue with paranormal romances, but contemplating giving up a modern life for one during the plague pushed my willing suspension of disbelief just a little too far. Yes, lust in first sight is a thing, but who in their right mind would contemplate giving up their own life for some guy you can't even communicate with? He speaks a different language entirely! I literally mean her life; the chances of surviving the plague seem pretty slim when you think about the number of people who died. I can't get behind a character who so willfully ignores all logic and self preservation. She continuously visits the past; it makes absolutely no sense.

The other major issue I had with this book was the writing style. It's written entirely in the third person present tense. I have no issues with the third person, in fact it took me awhile to get used to the first person. However, third person present? No. I'm guessing it's meant to evoke the eeriness of the situation, but I found it so off putting. I couldn't deal and it was one of the main reasons I wanted to put down this book.

I honestly can't think of any redeeming points for this novel off the top of my head. I would like to say there was a reason I persevered and finished it, but nothing comes to mind. The romance was unbelievable and May made some of the worst decisions I have ever seen. I may love historical fiction and the paranormal, but Plague in the Mirror just did not do it for me.

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