(The Paranormals #3)
Paranormal Young Adult
Received from author for review
Warning: synopsis and review contains spoilers from previous two books
After witnessing Seth cheating on her firsthand, Jenny allows herself to be whisked away by Alexander, a man whose ability to control the dead is a complement to her own dangerous gift to spread disease, deciding time away from her mortal life as Jenny Morton is exactly what she needs to remember the immortal she once was and could be still.
As Jenny disappears with Alexander, Seth shakes of the effects of Ashleigh's latest manipulation and mounts an all-out search to find her, dealing with the repercussions of the CDC's continued investigation of the deaths of hundreds of Fallen Oaks residents at Jenny's hand while he waits for any word on her whereabouts.
When Seth finally locates Jenny at Alexander's side, he finds the girl he fell in love with may be not only beyond his reach physically, but mentally and emotionally as well, and even memories of all their past lifetimes together may not be enough to bring her back to him.
The moment a very young Jenny Morton released her pox on a rattlesnake she hoped to turn into a playmate but instead watched in horror as it died a gruesome death she made herself a permanent fixture in our minds and hearts, the pain and vulnerability resulting from her curse so tangible we almost didn’t want to continue her story knowing things for her would inevitably get far worse before she was granted happiness. The road through the trilogy has been a dark and twisted one, Mr. Bryan’s ability to inflict shallow emotional wounds that make us feel just enough of Jenny’s hurt without overwhelming us to the point we can no longer bear to read creating a reading experience we won’t soon forget. This final installment is as difficult to read as its predecessors, Jenny’s story reaching perhaps its lowest point yet as past and present collide to bring the truth of the six paranormals’ existence fully into the light.
Alexander Death manages to be both the most enjoyable and least enjoyable of the three books, Jenny’s downward spiral into someone we don’t recognize as a result of an intimate betrayal and insidious manipulation unbelievably painful to witness, but at the same time our faith that Mr. Bryan will not lead us into the darkness without providing a flame to guide us back out is at its highest, and we just have to call on our patience as we read, continually scanning the blackness for that first flicker of orange to appear. Still distraught by the events at the conclusion of Tommy Nightmare, it’s easy for us to understand Jenny’s willingness to shed the sweet human innocence of this most current reincarnation and embrace the power memories of her past life help her to harness, but her change takes its toll on us as readers and we long for the moments when her need for Seth was strong and pure and something to truly envy before it was so monstrously corrupted.
Added to the despair over Jenny’s new persona is the pain of Seth’s unwavering devotion to her now that he’s been freed of Ashleigh’s disgusting influence. Though we can’t help but still want to see a grand show of groveling for his past behavior, our love for Seth returns to its previous fervor as we watch him endlessly search for what has slipped through his fingers. Seth therefore continues to ascend as Jenny so tragically descends, and we spend much of the story wondering how and if they might ever meet in the middle again, or whether their feet have carried them too far in opposite directions to find their way back. We know each of them has an unbelievable strength of will however, allowing us hope that all will be well eventually despite the staggering evidence that continues to suggest otherwise.
As with the previous two books, Alexander Death has some bothersome drug use and some more detailed sex scenes, so it's recommended more for older readers. Overall though, Mr. Bryan has written a brilliant series that challenges us emotionally and proves to us that he has little fear of knocking his characters down before slowly building them back up. For those who like dark and gritty tales with characters who scratch, tear, and claw at you until they work themselves under your skin permanently, this series is for you.