This book baffled me, and not in a good way. It's not like I went in with crazy expectations or anything, but when it comes to time travel, I do have some expectation that it's going to be handled in a logical manner. At least, as logical a manner as time travel can allow. Sobanet never actually explained how her time travel works--it apparently just has something to do with a magic ring that only works on the main characters, even though someone else wears it at one point--but you know what, I'll give her that one.
What I can't give her is all of the other ridiculous happenings in this book. Like how, in the middle of running away from kidnappers and murderers, the two main characters decide to stop and have sex. Or how one of them suddenly gains magical powers. Or how an "immense" castle in the French Alps has apparently gone completely undetected for more than seventy-five years. Or how the link between twins--which the plot relies on, heavily--is inconsistently used and comes and goes at the Sobanet's whim.
Let's talk about that last one for a minute. The book's plot revolves around two twins, Isla and Jillian. Isla has been abducted off the titular "midnight train to Paris," the train in question being the Venice-Simplon Orient Express. Jillian's former CIA agent ex-boyfriend shows up to give her the news, as he now works for a private investigation company which specializes in finding missing people and has been hired by Isla's fiance to find her. Jillian insists on going with him, and from then on they rely on her "twin bond" with Isla to solve the mystery. Oh, and Jillian and Isla also have a Dark Past. Jillian insists that she can always sense when Isla is in danger, with an event in the Dark Past serving as one example and some others in the plot serving as others. But...if that were true, wouldn't Jillian have sensed that Isla was in trouble when the events of the Dark Past started, and prevented them? Wouldn't she have sensed when her sister was abducted and almost killed, instead of needing someone else to show up and tell her? Shouldn't she have been "connected" to Isla for this entire book, rather than the bond just coming and going? One would think.
And can I return to how horribly Sobanet handled the whole time-travel aspect? Jillian and Samuel (the ex-boyfriend and love interest) actually change the past significantly, at least for a select group of people, and yet it has little effect on the future. Never mind that they make it so that Jillian's grandparents never meet and Jillian shouldn't even exist. Instead, they just get a hunky-dory ending that makes it so that Jillian's Dark Past--you know, the events that defined her as a person--never happened. What? Whatwhatwhat? Never mind that they should have opened like a bajillion time paradoxes. No, Sobanet doesn't worry about any of that, because apparently her characters' actions don't have consequences.
I didn't mind the actual writing that much. It did bother me at first, because it's rather tell-y instead of show-y, and instead of writing an actual, emotional scene or dialogue about the Dark Past, Jillian just info-dumps it all. But you get used to the writing style and stop noticing it after awhile. The characters were okay, I guess. I would have liked to see Samuel fleshed out more; he would have made a more interesting POV character than Jillian, in all likelihood. Jillian was a complete moron who apparently doesn't have logical thought processes despite her career as an ace reporter, but whatever. I could get past that. It was Sobanet's awful handling of the plot itself that I couldn't get around.
Oh, and what was the point of the inclusion of the Senator Williams storyline? I get the Dark Past purposes, but it felt the "modern" story of him could have been separated from this one and used in a separate book or something. It just didn't fit well with the time-traveling abduction story.
1.5 to 2 stars out of 5.