September 17th 2014
Blood of My Blood by Barry Lyga
This is officially our first review since starting the organization of our review page. I am so, so glad, Barry Lyga's "Blood of My Blood" could be that. This book is the conclusion to the "I Hunt Killers" trilogy, and I should first warn readers, that this book reveals some pretty off-screen sexually explicit themes, including sexual abuse. If that is something that makes you dry heave, this isn't the book for you.
What I must get out the way...I was extremely reluctant to read this series at first. While it'd been suggested to us by Stacy Whitman, and then to my braggart sister Libertad, I just wasnt sure I could get into a story about a teenage white boy, who was the son of a notorious, the MOST notorious serial killer to ever live. Libby bragged about it so much, after suggesting it to our book soul mate Fountain Pen Diva, so I caved in when I'd seen they'd both responded so highly despite the subject matter.
I think this series will be one of those series' I talk about for years, when mentioning my favorite series'. It had so many things that I now look for in books, that is so needed in books, that I wish anyone who hasn't read it, would consider it immediately.
Blood of My Blood is the last story in the I Hunt Killers trilogy, and starts where the second book left off. Jasper, or "Jazz" bleeding to death with a gun wound to the leg, in a storage unit and two dead bodies.
The pacing in this story is friggin' amazing. I think because every time you'd get far with one narrative, they'd snatch you back to another person's narrative, leaving you in a fit of suspense. It always revealed just enough information, where you thought you knew what the hell was going on, so much, that at times even Jasper was dumbfounded like the reader.
The story purposely tried to make the reader keep their eye off the prize, and I was guilty of falling victim to that, because my mind just doesn't work like Billy Dent, Jasper's father, or the scariest white man on the planet.
I just couldn't imagine waking up to seeing Billy's face in front of mine, evil and twisted, and enjoying my fear no less. But even with his big balls of crazy, a sick part of me was glad he gave many moments to breath from his evil. Im a little ashamed to admit, and come on? You have to admit, the notorious Billy Dent mastering the Ipad is pretty damn hilarious.
But back to subject, the world building aspect, is still pretty cool, if you consider it to be what it's like to be in the mind of a serial killer. I always enjoyed the references to famous serial killers, because truth be told, I'd never heard of them or bothered to research them before hand. It's crazy how many thing sickos have gotten away with, and for as long as they did. A subject matter to address? You will never look at social networking the same as with this book.
I so wanted to predict the outcome so BAD, but I couldn't have predicted the ending until the last minute, and I was very afraid for the main character.
This was the first book out of the series, where I found Jasper humanly relatable. In the first two books, I had a love hate relationship with Jazz, because of his capabilities to manipulate, but resisting the power to always use it. This book gave some info to his backstory. I wont spoil it for readers, but sadly, I think Jazz was doomed before he was even born.
He never stood a chance to be 100 % normal, and for that, I don't know how to hate him completely. He nearly lost himself several times in this book, and a part of me was glad that he didn't, but another part was disappointed on what that outcome gave.
As a Supernatural fan, and the constant use of the phrase "The Family Business?" This book took that to a whole other level. Jazz took the "Aang" from The Last Avatar route(fans of the series will have a better idea what that means) but it wasn't without consequence.
There was just so much going on with this book. My only complaint is how long it took for it to come out!
The writing style is signature Barry Lyga. Clear and organized. I have no complaints about the style of it. The book is third person, but it actually had multiple POVs, that included bigger roles for Connie, Howie, Weathers, G.William, Hughes, and sadly, even Billy himself.
But they were all amazingly clear, and I wasn't lost for one second. The editing fits an industry standard, and blended dialogue and beats well enough for me to want more. And more. And more.
This is why the I Hunt Killers trilogy will stay with me. It's diversity. Barry Lyga even stated, that he will miss this series, because it's his most successful, and that should trump any bums claiming that including marginalized groups make the sales of a book go down.
True lovers of diversity in books, are parts of the reason this book was so successful. People want to see themselves in books, and not just to help an aid the "default" main character.
Jazz and his long term girlfriend Conscience aka "Connie" were what made me purchase the book, seeing how interracial couples in books, rarely get to just "be" a couple. They're often an "interracial" one. I loved Connie. I think the predicament she put herself in was a bit naive, and she paid for it, but doesn't every teenager make mistakes for people they care about? I only hope that their story isn't over.
I've said this before in my reviews, but the authors HAD to have dated a black girl some time in his life. I chuckle just a little bit, every time I saw the words "hair bonnet" when it come to Connie, mainly because, since I often read this book at night, I was ironically always wearing one. I want to know this dude's in. Why the hell is Lyga being so progressive? How dare he research my experience and actually get it right, instead of make me a stereotype. How dare he!
Howie, that dude is my homie for life. I loved Howie, because he was just such a good freaking friend. He put his life in danger, but did so for the love of friends, and had gotten himself tangled in this craziness, and had a snarky remark to go along with it. So little time or effort is given to make strong, well thought out characters with disabilities.
Hemophilia isnt exactly the best genetic disorder to have when you're chasing serial killers. At 6'6"- 6'7", is freakishly huge height should have made him a threat, but he was still a boy, trying to fit in, and keep his friends alive. If it hadn't been for him, making Jazz human, who knows where Jazz would've ended up. I especially loved his relationship with Connie. I nearly cried when he and Connie saw each other after weeks, and cried together. It was so emotional, and I was glad to see boys crying, in a society that labels men as weak for showing such emotion.
The title is what creeps me out the most. I thought it was plain and obvious, but when it was referenced, I swear, chills were sent down my spine, and I sat for a good 30 seconds, like WOW. There goes my sanity. Before reading this book, I figured I wouldn't give on the title, but now that Im free, free to wander aimlessly with no real purpose, but to think about this book, I cant do Lyga like that.
The cover also suits to book 100%, I hate crows. Never looking at them the same again(even though, my superstitions made me never like them in the first place. You see one at your window, someone's totally dying in your house. Just saying).
The character names and descriptions are all repeats, if you dont know them already. This is the third and final book, so it gets it by default, because by now you already know what they look like.
My hat tips to Lyga. Im so messed up, and happy to be finally free. I LOVED this series. I dont know how many times I have to say it, but I LOVED this series. This is the first book in a really long time, if ever, that I've given a full five stars to.
Now, off to imagine my dream cast!
Dreamcast for major characters:
Nolan Funk as Jasper Dent
Keke Palmer as Conscience Hall
Nicholas Braun as Howie Gersten