Librarything / Goodreads
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Summary: On the surface she's a sexy, sophisticated socialite, at home among the beautiful people of the Las Vegas upper crust. But Joanna Archer inhabits another world: a place ordinary humans cannot see . . . a dangerous dimension where an eternal battle rages between the agents of Light and Shadow. And Joanna is both.
Stalked by an enigmatic doppelganger from a preternatural realm, Joanna can feel the Light failing—which is propelling her toward a terrifying confrontation with the ultimate master of evil, the dark lord of Shadow: her father.
Vegas is all about winning big... or losing everything. To save her friends, her future, her worlds, Joanna Archer must gamble it all by fully embracing the darkness inside her.
Thoughts: Move over Faythe, Joanna Archer has just become my literary enemy #1. I honestly do not understand what is going through Vicki Pettersson's mind when she writes Joanna Archer, because this character? She evokes homicidal thoughts.
So, why can't I stand her? Simple: Ben so-not-worth-it Traina. The "love of her life". Joanna is 100% obsessed with the man for no discernible reason. Hell, she even admits that she has no idea why she is willing to risk the entire city for the guy. Even when faced with evidence of him being BAD NEWS, she acts like a child who will set the house on fire to keep her hand in the cookie jar. GUH. Just writing about it makes me want to find a basilisk fang and stab her through the book!
So... moving on. Despite her inability to think rationally, Joanna can be a pretty decent character when she isn't mooning over Ben. And when she's not? Pettersson's fantastic Las Vegas verse truly shines. It's rough, tough and utterly intriguing. I've always loved the grittiness of this series, and The Touch of Twilight stays true to it. It was strong enough to make me pick up the book despite my dislike of the second novel and despite my extreme dislike of Joanna.
Apart from the verse, there are also some amazing secondary characters in these books: Hunter and Chandra in particular. I'd always liked Hunter, but we find out a few interesting tidbits about him in this book that have made me desperate to know more about him. Chandra's awesomeness, on the other hand, came completely out of left field. She had been a rather one-dimensional antagonist in the previous books, but we see a whole new side of her in The Touch of Twilight.
The conclusion of this novel has made me somewhat hopeful for the rest of the series. I don't want to give away any spoilers, but let me just say that it ends on a high note. City of Souls (book 4) is sitting on my TBR pile and I think I won't wait another year before I start it.
Bottom line? Although Joanna will, no doubt, elicit thoughts of murder, the Signs of the Zodiac series is worth reading. Just don't go in expecting perfection...!
Dear HarperVoyager (UK publishers): I know Joanna is rather annoying, but did you really need to stop publishing the books in the UK? Books 4-6 in this series are going to be from the US and my symmetrical bookshelves do not thank you.