Rating: 4 stars
Buy Link:
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Length: Novel


With memories of a horrific tale about a Blood Shade that would age, but not die, Reylan awakens in his own home with his boyfriend, Jorgas, safe beside him. The domesticity of it is in sharp contrast to the nightmare that was battling the zealous Scimitar of Light and almost losing Jorgas to the Wound. The idea that Reylan has nothing more to do than simply enjoy being with Jorgas and hunt for his next meal at one of Sydney’s many clubs is very appealing.

But first things first, Reylan has to attend to Brett, the Mannequin who subsists on Reylan’s blood and is at risk of going hungry (or much worse) if he does not feed. Curious as to where the man went, Reylan sets out for information, only to discover that everything is wrong. The stately house where the Arcadia Trust is housed sits silent and moldering. A long-time haunt that served the kind of tea only a Blood Shade could appreciate has long since been abandoned. His protege, Isobel, is also missing and her house is now consumed with something dark, something Reylan can only describe as evil. Stunned at how much happened when he was gone but for a few minutes, Reylan discovers his trip inside the Wound to save Jorgas actually took five months.

While pounding the pavement desperate for answers, Reylan realizes someone has started following him. Before long, an opportunity arises and Reylan comes face to face with none other than Kelvin…except Kelvin is a Cloak Walker– he should be invisible. Something must be truly wrong if a supernatural’s powers are being stripped away. With Kelvin’s help, Reylan starts to get an idea of what has transpired, all of it due to the Wound and the mark it left when it was opened in Arcadia Trust. But before that issue can be addressed, a well-known politician named Adrian Tseng seeks out Reylan hoping to exact revenge on the man who murdered his lover–one out of control, newly changed werewolf to be exact. Not only that, but Tseng invokes ancient laws established by the Quinkan, the original paranormal inhabitants of Australia. That puts not only Jorgas on trial for his transgressions, but the two people who stand up for him: Patricia Bakker and Reylan himself. The only way Reylan can see this paranormal legal battle ending with both him and Jorgas coming out alive is by relying on their mutual, sometimes lover, Iain.

Tears in Time is the fourth book in Christian Baines’ Arcadia Trust series. This story takes place not too long after the events of the previous book (Sins of the Son) and I would highly recommend reading at least that story before diving into this one. I think readers would appreciate having a fresh image of what went in the Wound, as the aftermath of that whole ordeal ties closely with the themes in this story. Also, there are developments among the different schools of magic, which readers will want to pay attention to for clues about what’s happening and who is doing what to whom.

Like before, I was drawn to Reylan and his romances. On the one hand, Reylan has come to accept that he loves and is in love with Jorgas. It’s less clear how Jorgas feels, but that may simply be down to the narrative perspective being all from Reylan’s point of view. At this point in the story, Reylan and Jorgas have come together, split apart, and separately taken a Mentalist named Iain as a lover. The ties between Reylan, Iain, and Jorgas are firm, but also somehow ambiguous. This sense of indeterminacy was heightened for me because Jorgas is off page for much of the story. When he is on page, I felt like he was being aloof. Next, there is Iain, whose reappearance in this story starts with him making out with Jorgas while Reylan is away. Ian also seems to be constantly flirting with Reylan, who typically rebuffs Iain’s advances–though that seems to come less from his desire to be exclusive with Jorgas and more because Iain flirts at the worst times. It dawned on me hard that Reylan and Jorgas seem to be in a sort of open relationship and boy, is it interesting to have that revelation when it’s not really central to the story?

Quite apart from Reylan’s romantic tangles, Tears in Time introduces a new paranormal subgroup called the Quinkan, who are far older than the so-called houses that control Blood Shades, Flesh Masters, and the rest. Adrian Tseng is the one who invoked an ancient Quinkan law. As a result, Jorgas must undergo a Quinkan trial to determine if he’s a danger to society, while Reylan and Patricia volunteer to serve as sort of character witnesses. The stakes couldn’t be higher, since failing this trial means the accused and their two champions will be stripped of their supernatural abilities permanently–an ordeal they are not guaranteed to survive. But first, they have to survive a Quinkan trial with Tseng, something Iain himself is concerned about given how powerful Tseng’s abilities are and his desire to avenge his dead lover. To that end, Iain plays a critical role in keeping Reylan and Jorgas safe from Tseng’s meddling. As exciting as this development was, I felt a little bit like growing the world this way made an already busy world that much busier. That said, my takeaway was that the Quinkan trial created opportunities for the reader to muse on Iain’s role in the story and what he means to Reylan.

Overall, I thought Tears in Time was an exciting addition to the Arcadia Trust series. It builds on the previous stories, so I would not recommend delving in without having at least read Sins of the Son. Readers who enjoy sprawling, many-layered worlds are sure to enjoy the myriad cultural (magical?) systems at play in the story. The final lines of this book also contain an intriguing hook that will leave the reader guessing about a key character.