From Harper Collins, April 2009.
You can find her website here: Alex Flinn
A Kiss in Time is the first book that I've read written by Ms. Flinn. Once my busy reading schedule lets up, I'm planning to read Beastly since I enjoyed Kiss.
The book is a play on 'Sleeping Beauty' giving it a twist by bringing the beauty, and her kingdom, into an unknown modern world. Talia falls to the spell of the witch and 300 years later, Jack stumbles into her sleep and kisses her awake. Then we get to read about what happens afterwards.
I enjoyed the idea of bringing the entire kingdom forward in time. As plot goes, the classic 'Beauty' doesn't follow logic very well. Regardless of the time period in which the story is told, no one really seems to notice that a kingdom suddenly appears and the story generally stops as soon as the kiss is performed. So we never know what happens to the kingdom after discovering it has woken up in an unknown time.
Kiss brings the ending of the story in focus and tells the tale well. What happens when the girl wakes up? Well, they're thrown into chaos. Their land doesn't exist anymore. Over the past 300 years of our history, we've made significant advances and countries have risen and fallen. Reading this book, it highlights those changes quite a bit. I felt sorry for these people who have no place anymore in the world of power and country. Ms. Flinn questioned what they would do and I felt that, in a magical universe, her answer was more than sound and logical.
The book alternates between the points of view of the two main characters, Jack and Talia, so we get to be inside both heads while the story unfolds. I usually dislike this type of format when reading, but it works in Kiss and I felt no unnatural flow issues while I read. It was nice to watch both characters develop throughout the tale, growing into their opinions and their friendship.
Talia starts off as one might expect: spoiled. However, I did feel kind of sorry for her on more than one occasion. The poor thing never had a chance to be a well-rounded individual until she made the "bad" decision to follow her spoiled inclinations. When she is introduced into our modern world, she proves that there was nothing inherently flawed in her personality and that she could learn and grow like anyone else. I loved seeing a character that I could loathe and pity grow into someone I admired.
Jack is also spoiled in his own way. He starts out very self-absorbed and he feels as though everyone dumps on him all the time. Finding and waking Talia shoves him into a protector's srole, even though he doesn't want it, and it proved that he is capable of change and growth. He shows that he can care about others and, with Talia's help, he becomes closer to his family and to what he wants out of life.
For me, the one flaw in the book was the witch. I felt like her story was predictable and she didn't turn out to be a real villain, either. She was just a disgruntled employee. It almost nullifies the entire journey of the two main characters for me when, at the end, all is forgiven and the "witch" is invited back into the arms of the court which rejected her. I don't feel like I can relate to her. Why would you want to be around people who despised you for so long and accused you of something so heinous? Even if she did forgive them, it didn't make much sense to me for her to join them again. It would have been better if she'd forgiven them and then disappeared to live in peace from then on. It makes the plot seem more Disney than it should be.
In spite of my issues with the "villain" of the story, the overall flow and pacing is good and the end wraps (most) things up nicely. The logic behind what to do with this suddenly-there kingdom is present and it sets up the rest of their lives.
The writing, while cheesy in some places, is fairly tight. The dialogue between the characters is believable and natural. The story flows easily from one situation to the next and the plot is done well.
While there's not much deeper meaning written in, it's nice to find an entertaining story that is hopeful and highlights the growth of its characters. I'm looking foward to reading more from Ms. Flinn.