Author: Barry Lyga
Genre: YA Suspense/Thriller
Length: 468 Pages
Publication: September 2014
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
At the end of Game, Jazz was bleeding to death in an abandoned warehouse with two corpses for company, Howie was bleeding out on Jazz's floor, and Connie had been captured by none other than Billy Dent himself. Now Jazz must go on the run, relying only on himself, and face down all of the demons from his past in order to bring Billy down once and for all. And is the Crow King really Billy or is Jazz in for even more surprises?
This novel was a great conclusion to the trilogy. Jazz is forced to face down his demons, determining once and for all if he's a killer or not. His path is sad, tragic even. While he's isolated from Connie and Howie he becomes darker, more brooding. He also faces his worst nightmares and is forced to confront them head on.
Connie shows us her signature sass in this novel. Even while in Billy's clutches Connie isn't just a little girl. Is she afraid? Sure. Does she want to beg for her life? Who wouldn't. But does she fight and run? Yes, yes she does. And while she's not as actively involved in the events of this novel as she was in the last, she does play a key role.
Howie is the ever clever sidekick once more, not willing to throw away his friendship with Jazz even when things start looking very bad. Their bond is one of the great things about these novels. Jazz is careful with Howie because of his physical limitations. He protects Howie. And Howie does the same for him. It really is a beautiful friendship.
Billy and Ugly J are as sick and twisted as ever. The games they like to play with people and other killers is disturbing. And their ability to evade police capture is top notch.
So this novel is not as action packed as I would have liked, but it has some great moments. The ending is not nice and sugary as some might like, but it was beautiful because it was more realistic. At the end of the day, we're the ones that decide who we are. Sure nature and nurture have something to play in our lives, but that doesn't define us. And we get to see Jazz face his nature, his nurture, and determine for himself what path he wants to walk.
Overall I really enjoy this novel and this series. It's not the most suspenseful. You can often see what's going to happen well in advance, but I feel like the story is more about experiencing Jazz's reactions to these events and not being surprised yourself. I definitely look forward to reading more Barry Lyga novels in the future.
Until next time. Enjoy the end of 2014!