In this book, main protagonist and super vampire Eric marries his vampire girlfriend Tabitha and they go to Paris for their honeymoon. Eric figures he can hunt for his sire while he’s there. Lots of folks work together to screw up their honeymoon. There’s sex, graphic violence, profanity and a whole lot of attitude.
Meanwhile, back in Void City, Eric’s sire comes hunting for him. Greta and Talbot have to team up to stop her. There’s sex, graphic violence, profanity and a whole lot of attitude.
Crossed starts out in Void City and then moves to Europe. We learn a lot more about how the vampires keep normal people from realizing how screwed up things are in Void City and we get to see the different technique used by the magical folks in Europe.
All in all, the setting is mainly just giving a location for crazy action to take place. Given some of the things that happen, all the hand waving about how there’s a conspiracy to suppress knowledge of the magical world seems like just that. The main point of this series is to have over the top action and concerns about how to explain wrecked cars, skid marks on the sides of buildings and an astronomical mortality rate are beside the point. Don’t think about it too much. It’ll impair your enjoyment of the action.
The Void City series uses multiple first person point of view. Hopping from one head to another like that is hard, but Lewis pulls it off really well. Each character has a different voice and if you’re not sure right away who’s head your in each chapter has a heading that tells you.
Jumping between characters means that you don’t have to like the characters as much as you would if you were stuck in only one of them. Eric is an incredible asshole. I still sort of like him, but I’d never want to be anywhere near anyone like him in real life. Tabitha is much nicer, though a bit on the ignorant side. Rachel is the strong female lead that’s otherwise missing from the series.
There’s an urban fantasy trope of the kick-ass female lead. In this book, it kind of feels like Eric is the main character, but of the different viewpoint characters he’s by far the most passive. He spends the whole book reacting to things while the women around him take the initiative.
Normally it wouldn’t work to let your main character be all reactive, all the time, but somehow Lewis pulls it off. Eric stays reactive until there’s an appropriate, character-driven moment for him to Hulk-out and spring into action near the end.
At several points during the book we get major character reveals - by the end of the book we know a lot more about all the protagonists and several of the ongoing bad guys.
The book opens just before Eric and Tabitha’s wedding. From that point on, a whole series of people try to screw up first their wedding and then their honeymoon. That’s what Eric’s reacting to - werewolves, vampires and immortals all trying to ruin his day. In a way this is like a man vs nature plot - the primary antagonist is so far removed from the action that it’s almost debatable whether he’s responsible.
There’s a second major plot line. While Eric is in Paris, the vampire who created him comes to Void City looking to remove Eric as a possible rival. When she can’t get in touch with Eric, Greta and Talbot have to stop her. Jumping back and forth between the two plots gives Lewis a nice way to break things up and cut away when the action would otherwise start to lag.
Structure-wise, it feels like a straightforward quest plot. “Your quest is to get married, then go to Paris and hunt down your sire before she comes to get you in Void City.” This might be boring if Lewis hadn’t mixed things up a bit with multiple viewpoints, plot lines, flashbacks and action scenes so over the top they would go over well in anime.
Crossed is a mid-series book that does a good job of telling a story while also moving the over-arching plot forward. We get a great reveal on who’s been stirring up all of this trouble for the last few books! The final confrontation left me a little unsatisfied due to a combination of protagonists thinking of solutions that are a trifle too easy (but plausible and in character) and a bit of a deus ex machina at one point. I still really enjoyed the book. It was a quick step on the dismount, not tripping and falling.
The best part is that the ending set up some major changes in the world and I can’t wait to see how they turn out in Burned.