My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This one was hard to rate because some parts worked very well and others (looking at you, ending) that were abysmal. It’s a 3.5 read for me and I rounded down on the stars thanks to the ending. This one returns to Midnight, Texas about six months after the last book and it’s the first of them I’ve read since seeing the TV show (which created dissonance in my head given how White some of the characters are here vs the show).
It opens with an interesting premise: people are coming to the crossroads in Midnight and committing suicide there, including strangers and people known to the residents of the town. They need to figure out why this is happening, and the only clue is the voice from the ground that talks to Fiji, telling her its doing this for her.
I’d like to say that if this is what the novel concentrated on it would have been a four-star read or higher since that was fascinating, especially when Fiji’s estranged sister, Kiki comes to town and falls under the creature’s spell. But I can’t. For one, the idiot ending is for this storyline (I’ll put that later under a spoiler warning) and secondly because there are so many storylines that they all suffer from neglect.
So not only do we have that, we have Quinn and his son, Deidrick and being a weretiger, the boy has grown from a child to the equivalent of an eighteen-year-old man in those six months (and it gets a bit creepy with him flirting with Fiji who was a mother figure and being told several times he’s sleeping with one of the workers at the hotel. We have Manfred having really only a bit part. Other than his going into town with someone else which was a clue to that plot line, he could easily not have been in this story (and he’s one of my favorites). We have at least two stories revolving around Olivia and her weird family life. There’s Bobo and Fiji being estranged and angry with each other (well she’s angry at him, he can’t figure out why). And there’s Lemuel trying to decipher the books and figure out the thing under the ground. And oh, there’s someone new in town and then there’s the diner and Teacher and his wife who run it who tie into Olivia’s storyline.
In theory, this was supposed to be the last book (But frankly so much is unresolved I’m not sure it is). Maybe that’s why this is such a tangled mess. She would have been much better off breaking this into two books, so the plots could be concentrated on. Then there’s the fact that some characters felt well…out of character. Yeah, I know how can an author write her own stuff out of character, but that’s how it felt. Fiji being obstinate about Bobo for one (or maybe I’ve forgotten what he did last book that made her so mad). Somehow, I never pictured Lemuel as a cowpoke. Seriously, I have no idea if this was brought up before or not (thanks memory) but I pictured him as a southern gentleman before his conversion but in this we learn he was a ranch hand and he cracks out words like skedaddle…. reminded me of when they have Sheldon Cooper be a Texan, seems so out of place. We also have a new reveal for Manfred who should have been so much more set back on his heels, so much more blown away, just looks at this reveal and goes okay cool. It felt so unbelievable and shoehorned in there and for that matter the rest of the town has the same shoulder shrug to this news as he did.
So now for the spoiler. That’s your warning in case you don’t want to see it.
Okay so the ending. The demon under the crossroads wants to rape a virgin witch and steal her powers. To seal him away for another two hundred and fifty years, a virgin witch has to have ritual sex right next to him. So naturally Fiji is a virgin witch (and if I thought this looked stupid on the TV show, it was worse in this). The whole virginity equally power thing isn’t just a tried and true storyline, it’s a worn out old chestnut that should just be left in the past.
And as if that’s not bad enough, Fiji’s biggest worry about having sex in front of the whole town is that is she too chunky? And frankly other than the little boy weretiger (who’s eager for this) no one seems that excited about the prospect. The gay angels say they’ll do it if they must if no one else volunteers. Manfred literally says he’ll man up if she picks him. Quinn and Bobo seem vaguely interested and I can’t help thinking if she wasn’t full figured we would have seen more interest. Somehow, she even forgets she’s mad at Bobo so there’s no resolution to that. And the whole sex at the crossroad thing was pretty unbelievable (did we not even put down a blanket or something to keep our butts from getting scratched up from asphalt?).
So too many plot lines and too many unfinished threads and a lame ending really brought this down. It could have been much better.
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