Do you have any idea how hard it is to look at a book's big picture when all you want to talk about is the end? Indulge me for just a moment as I get this out of my system: Where the hell did that ending come from?
This book took me on a ride to places I never thought I would go --and it was an unexpectedly entertaining journey.
I'll admit that, for me, it was a rocky start. Our heroine, Justine, is a neurotic hypochondriac, who is bordering on a mental breakdown. She is convinced she has a rare neurological disease and her fear is taking over her life. Until she meets a mysterious man in a restaurant. Packard tells her that he can take her fear away --and ultimately proves that he can-- at a cost.
Packard has a special ability that allows him to understand people on a very deep level. And he can help siphon off negative energy. But ultimately, Justine must go to work for him, among his team of Disillusionists. They go after evil people and hoist their various mental or emotional damage upon them... to break them down... in some cases for vengeance, in others rehabilitation. But either way, the results are twofold: 1) Justine purges herself of the fear for weeks at a time; and 2) she must put herself in the path of danger to complete her missions.
There is a great attraction between Justine and Packard, but their relationship is a rocky one. This is due in part to the fact that she already has a boyfriend, and in part because she is constantly learning about information he has kept from her. It's obvious he has a bigger plan for her, but it takes a long time before we see what it is.
I found Justine to be very off-putting at first. (And I also had trouble with the fact that the book is written in present tense.) But the more I read, the more I became complete wrapped up in the story. Not only did I have no idea what would happen with Justine's personal relationships, I was also kept on the edge of my seat by her psychotics marks and Packard's end game. I'm not generally a fan of love triangles, but there is a good one here --and in the interest of full disclosure, it wasn't even the triangle I expected.
There is moral debate, action, excitement, misdirection, betrayal, and some pretty good sex before all is said and done. I can't wait to see what happens next. 4 stars.