Monday, April 7, 2014

The Collector of Dying Breaths (Reincarationist #6) by M.J. Rose

Reincarnationist Series #6
384p.
Publisher: Atria Books
Published: April 8, 14
Source: From Netgalley and the publisher for review
A lush and imaginative novel that crisscrosses time as a perfumer and a mythologist search for the fine line between potion and poison, poison and passion…and past and present. 
Florence, Italy—1533: An orphan named René le Florentin is plucked from poverty to become Catherine de Medici’s perfumer. Traveling with the young duchessina from Italy to France, René brings with him a cache of secret documents from the monastery where he was trained: recipes for exotic fragrances and potent medicines—and a formula for an alchemic process said to have the potential to reanimate the dead. In France, René becomes not only the greatest perfumer in the country but the most dangerous, creating deadly poisons for his Queen to use against her rivals. But while mixing herbs and essences under the light of flickering candles, Rene doesn’t begin to imagine the tragic and personal consequences for which his lethal potions will be responsible. 
Paris, France—The Present: A renowned mythologist, Jac L’Etoile, is trying to recover from personal heartache by throwing herself into her work, learns of the 16th century perfumer who may have been working on an elixir that would unlock the secret to immortality. She becomes obsessed with René le Florentin’s work—particularly when she discovers the dying breathes he had collected during his lifetime. Jac’s efforts put her in the path of her estranged lover, Griffin North, a linguist who has already begun translating René le Florentin’s mysterious formula. Together they confront an eccentric heiress in possession of a world-class art collection. A woman who has her own dark purpose for the elixir… a purpose for which she believes the ends will justify her deadly means. This mesmerizing gothic tale of passion and obsession crisscrosses time, zigzagging from the violent days of Catherine de Medici’s court to twenty-first century France. Fiery and lush, set against deep, wild forests and dimly lit chateaus, The Collector of Dying Breaths illuminates the true path to immortality: the legacies we leave behind.
My thoughts:
I picked this one up since I have been curious about this series and understand that these can be read as standalones. That was correct. The theme or reincarnation is what holds the collection together and the stories are separate.

In this book we follow alternating POVs of René, Catherine de Medici's perfumer, and Jac the daughter and sister of 2 great perfumers and one in her own right (she does not do it professionally). With René's story we follow what happened to him and what he did right before and during his time in the service of Catherine. We follow his long time obsession with collecting dying breaths in hopes of reanimating that soul into a newborn babe. He finds a formula where the ingredients are hard to find. He thinks he may have stumbled on the elixir to immortal life.

We also follow Jac. Her brother had been poisoned and she is not sure if she is the next target. She starts the arduous task of collecting her brother's things and she stumbles on his last project. The project determined to bring back René's greatest work of reanimating dying breaths. She becomes intrigued and then obsessed when she learns that her brother had his last breath collected. Through twists and turns that also ends up as a murder mystery, she finds the most shocking truth of it all and how everything connects. And that truth is... Yea, right... not going to reveal that. ;)

I give this book 4 stars. I recommend it to those that enjoy a good twisty mystery and a large amount of historical fiction. I really enjoyed the author's writing and I do intend to pick up the other 5 because now I'm very curious. Even with the shifting POVs, it is very readable.

32 comments:

  1. I absolutely LOVE the title for this! It's so unique and the cover, too, is eye-catching. I love a series that can be read as stand-alones, so I'll have to look into this one and try out this author's work for sure. Thanks for putting this on my radar, Melissa!(:

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  2. Oh, what a wonderfully ominous title. Given the theme of reincarnation I think I'd be sure to enjoy this and its a bonus that though part of a series it works well as a standalone.

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  3. Ooh, interesting! Different from what I usually read and I might have to check it out!

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    1. That is what I was thinking so I had to try it. :)

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  4. It sounds like this was a big hit for you ! WOOT!

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  5. Wow, this sounds really cool! I'd never even heard of this series, but I am definitely going to check it out now. Great review! I'm excited ;)

    Jessica @ Rabid Reads

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  6. I have three books from this series and really enjoyed them. I was too booked when the pubs asked me to review but it is on my wishlist..rocking review Melissa!

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    1. Oh great! I am so going to read the ones I missed. :)

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  7. I had this one on my list too, didn't even realize it was part of a series! :) Thanks for a great review!

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  8. I struggle with shifting POVs so I think that might be a tricky aspect of this story for me Melissa, but I do love a good twisty mystery. It's so much fun for me to be wrong in the who or why of it:)

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    1. I don't think you'd get lost at all. The separation is through time and is very clear. The shift helps you understand what is going on in both time periods.

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  9. POV I'm really strict on. They need to flow for me or else I feel like I'm being tossed around. Thanks for sharing.

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  10. I won a copy of the first book on GR awhile ago and I still havent' read it. I think the covers are gorgeous and I like the concept. I don't mind shifting POVS as long as it is done well, unlike the book I reviewed today.

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    1. The POVs are done well and I can't wait to see what you think!

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    1. Maybe this one gets better as it goes? This one was very easy to read.

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  12. I read the 4th book awhile back and had a hard time getting into it. I didn't know it was part of a series at the time, even though they can be read as a standalone. I don't know, I actually like the sound of this one better.

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  13. It sounds really interesting, a little Nicholas Flammel-ish. I love the thought of collecting people's last breaths. It sounds so cool.

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  14. The twisty fiction sounds great, but I don't do much HF. The title really intrigues me though

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  15. I confess I have never read a book about reincarnation so I'm quite curious about this one. And well if a part is in France lol it's a plus for me. Thanks Melissa, I didn't know this one.

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  16. I think I read the first book (or maybe the second?) but it was a long time ago and don't really remember it now. But I do really love reincarnation stories!

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  17. Ooh I love the concept of storing dying breaths and reanimating them. It's great that these can be read as standalones too, I'm a bit series'd out these days. :-) Glad you enjoyed this, awesome review!

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  18. While I love the premise of these books, I can't really get into them. I think I've read two now and that's enough. Glad to see that you enjoyed this one, even though it wasn't my cup of tea.

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  19. I will put it on my wishlist, Melissa! I've been noticing this author largely due gorgeous covers and I do love historical fiction so it's just a matter of confirming if the writing style suits me. :)

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  20. This one sounds great. I like the book cover too.

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  21. I have my eye out on this too, so excited to hear you enjoyed it!

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Thanks for commenting! I ❤ comments!