Sunday, November 13, 2011

Review: Alexander Death

(The Paranormals #3)

JL Bryan
Paranormal Young Adult
Available Now
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.

Rating: 4/5


  1. I skipped your review since I still haven't gotten to Jenny Pox. I'd like to. I wonder if it's still from on Amazon.

  2. That last line says it all. Fab review, Jenny. ♥

  3. Excellent review. I've got Jenny Pox sitting on my kindle and now I'm just dying to read it. Thanks! :)

  4. I couldn't believe Jenny was changing so much. It made me so sad, but I loved this story, and the whole series so much. If anyone ever asks me to recommend a book/series, I always mention this one first. Glad you enjoyed it too. :-)

  5. This sounds both really good and really hard to read! I was intrigued when I saw the blurb for Jenny Pox and now I'm even more so. Poor Jenny! Sounds like she's got it really rough (her author must truly enjoy torturing his characters). Great review.

  6. Wowie! I tried to refrain myself from reading your review because I haven't read Jenny Pox yet (although I have a copy with me and I'm slowly working up the nerve to pick it up), but I couldn't help it LOL! I love hearing what you have to say! x)

    And it just makes me want to read book one even more! I loved how you said that Alexander was ascending and Jenny was descending because it feels like it's setting up the mood already, pre-reading!

    Amazing review, Jenny! I'm glad you enjoyed it! :)

  7. Ah, I would love to read this review, but I'm cringing away from the spoilers. I've heard so many back-and-forth, good and bad things about this series... It makes me curious.

    - Asher (from Paranormal Indulgence)

  8. Alison - This whole series really impressed me. It made me uncomfortable at times and tried repeatedly to rip my heart from my chest, but I always enjoy books that have that kind of effect on me:)

    Smash - Thanks:)

    Kris - Can't wait to see what you think of it!

    Slowest - Me either. I had to walk away from this one several times because it was just painful for me to see what was happening her. I just kept reminding myself that this was the last book and things would have to get better, right? :)

    Mary - That's exactly what it was. It's always hard for me to see a character I've come to love spiral downwards and be able to do nothing about it. JL definitely does like to torture them, but he writes them brilliantly:)

    Mimi - I can't wait to see what you think when you get to it! It was a lot darker than I thought it would be, but I loved that about it:)

    Asher - If you like books that are challenging to read at times based on what happens to the characters, then this would be a good series for you. If you tend to gravitate toward lighter reads, this will probably be difficult to get through:)

  9. I so wanna read your review, but I, too, have yet to get to Jenny Pox. But, 4/5 stars makes me feel like this might be quite an amazing book!

  10. They sounds so weird and different, and I do like that. I want that, and not the same old same old

  11. Oh I so need the other 2 books (which I will get). BUT I can see I may need some tissues. Snakes aren't my fave animal, but still... any in pain bother me. :(

  12. I've been so curious about this series, I really don't know what my hang up is. I need to read them all soon. The emotional journey you've described makes it seem worth it!

  13. Avery - I very much enjoyed this series:)

    Blodeuedd - It's definitely a different type of story, and I always like the ones that get dark to the point where I'm not sure I can take it anymore and then get lighter:)

    Melissa - Yes. Tissues. I wanted to reach in and just hug Jenny:)

    Missie - I'm like that with a lot of books, especially the emotional ones. I know I want to read them, but I also know it's going to hurt to do so so I avoid. I'm an avoider:)

  14. Jenny Pox was a really difficult book for me for some reason. I loved parts of it and other parts were just too much. I really don't know how to say it any other way. I really do want to continue with the series, but that last bit of Jenny Pox was so gruesome. I guess I just wasn't expecting her to go all Apocalyptic on me. But you are right, the characters are dark and gritty. That is the best explanation I've heard of them so far!

  15. I picked this series up a few weeks ago but haven't had a chance to start them. It sounds a bit darker than what I was expecting but I'm still looking forward to the reading the books.

  16. YES!!!! Watching Jenny's downward spiral was SERIOUSLY painful for me dude!!!! I was dying seeing her morph into this completely different person- but all the while PRAYING JL Bryan had a reason for doing it! Which of course he did... *sigh*

  17. I am thinking I will finally read JP over the holidays. I have had it forever :)

  18. Dude, I love this series! There is so much in this last book that really held me at the edge of my seat! Thanks for the review Jenny!