Release Date: April 7, 2015
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: New Adult | Dystopia | Paranormal
Magic and mystery collide in this thrilling conclusion to the new urban fantasy series by House of Comarre author Kristen Painter.
Tourists are disappearing at an alarming rate. While Augustine and his lieutenants attempt to find them, Harlow and the evil spirit possessing her remain Augustine's true focus. Freeing her from the spirit's grasp is all he can think about, especially with no real solution on the horizon.
Then he discovers the tourists are disappearing because the witches are stealing souls to cast a dangerous chaos spell. Before he can stop them, Harlow becomes their victim. Now he must race the clock to set her free and end the witches' machinations before the chaos spell strips every fae in New Orleans of their power and bring fae rule to an end.
Crescent City is my first tango with Kristen Painter and I was immediately absorbed by her futuristic NOLA where fae, humans, vamps, and witches exist side by side albeit a little tense. The dystopic elements of the series is fairly light, her new adult leads were a bit irritating, but tolerable. It's the paranormal side of things that truly captivated me not to mention the cover arts are so pretty to look at! I was excited to learn that Crescent City is only a trilogy, long book series can be a challenge to keep up with long terms so I figured things are going to escalate quick and wrap up nicely.
The escalation part was true. Harlow and Augustine were thrust in the heat of things and found themselves in the middle of war with the witches, nefarious relatives, an enchanted tree that everyone wants, not to mention bigoted humans who wants the othernormals gone. KPainter built up the story really well, the character development was fantastic and by City of Eternal Light, I was very much invested in the story.
Now GARDEN OF DREAMS & DESIRES is a fast paced, entertaining read. I didn't even notice that the novel was over 300 pages because I just flew through the chapters. Harlow and Augustine were very motivated to put things back in order, resolve minor kinks here and there, was proactive in being part of the solution instead of the problem, etc. There were a lot of antagonists here so the good guys were busy chasing them down and making them pay for their transgressions.
My issue with GARDEN OF DREAMS & DESIRES is it lacked tension. KPainter started this mayhem so I was expecting Harlow and Augustine to have a hard time getting towards a resolution. Instead everything was so easy, as if the solutions were served on a silver platter. I mean if it were that simple, then why didn't they solve things in book 1 before it got crazy, right? And though it wasn't predictable, it was easy to figure out where the story is leading to. I wasn't surprised by the "twists", no jaw dropping monkey wrenches, and the bad guys didn't feel villainous enough.
Overall, GARDEN OF DREAMS & DESIRES was fairly an okay read. I compare it to those fun and light contemporary romances I like to cozy with on the weekend. I didn't get worked up over the resolution, it was a very relaxing story, I just didn't expect the series finale to be so...stable, if you know what I mean.