With a werewolf gang moving into the area and starting a war with the local werecats, a new supernatural drug hitting the streets that makes people preternaturally strong and nearly immune to pain and injury, several disappearing vampires and a new werecougar who really needs Jazz to show her the ropes – everything seems to be happening at once for Jazz. It’s overwhelming, it’s non-stop and it threatens the supernatural in the city from several angles
Not least because of supernaturally-aware government agents showing up – and news of the supernatural finally being leaked to the world at large
This book has an immensely fast paced, action packed storyline. It pulls in all the characters we’ve seen before and faces off against threats from all sides that hit so many of them personally.
It has some really well written fight scenes, just designed to get the blood pumping with excitement - which is hard to do in print and few authors manage to pull it off. We have an involved, complicated and multi-faceted investigation without dead zones, without it being too linear, without it being simplistic or obscure. We also have multiple storylines, each with complex, real threads, each of which demand Jazz’s attention, each of which are vitally important and show how overwhelmed she is – but at the same time they all manage to come together excellently.
And through it all we have Jazz, with her awesome (and predominantly female) friends, intelligent and skilled without unnecessary “chosen one” elements. A keen sense of duty that is really sold (even if she does go over the top, it’s really well portrayed as I mentioned in my review of Hollow Eyes –her sense of duty is her sense of responsibility, her sense of professionalism and her way of proving herself.
It also continues with its diversity, with Jazz having 2 lesbian friends (albeit in more background roles since the earlier books but they’re still awesome with some excellent unique skills on Rachel’s part – and there’s some mention of homophobia Rachel faces from her family), being half-Chinese herself and having Japanese, Latino, Native American and Black characters all as important connections, friends and actors in the supernatural world and close to Jazz. We do have some elements that continue the shakiness – like the prevalence of Latino gang members (but they’re not demonised for it or presented as having just one aspect to their personalities) and an evil-voodoo practitioner (but we also have a voodoo practitioner who isn’t evil as well) but in general the main problem is simply having so many characters and not the time and the space to give them all screen time – especially since this book was very narrow to Jazz even while it involved everyone.
That’s a recipe for a lot of awesome. But there’s an issue. A big one
There’s a lot that happens that isn’t explored to the degree I’d expect it to – or doesn’t have the same kind of impact I’d expect it to. This is going to be hard to write about without spoiling so I’m going to do a lot of dancing around the subjects.
Like Jazz suffers a severe loss in this book – but she kind of rolls with it. Yes she grieves but she keeps moving and doesn’t suffer the magnitude of loss I’d expect. I think part of the reason why it’s so jarring to me is that Jazz’s muted reaction also kind of mirrored my own. I don’t think we’ve truly been shown how much these people mean to Jazz, I don’t think the relationships have been properly established or the characters fully developed enough for the loss to be felt. When Jazz didn’t seem to feel the loss that deeply, it only emphasised how little the lost mattered to me in the story’s context. I considered it a distraction.