Sunday, January 6, 2013
Review: Tommy Nightmare by JL Bryan
Like Jenny, Ashleigh Gooding belonged to a pair of opposites with powers that mirror each other.
Now Jenny and Seth must face the opposite of love...
My Thoughts: I've mentioned before how completely blown away I was by Jenny Pox, so I had high expectations heading in to Tommy Nightmare. Happily, it measured up. Tommy is genuinely terrifying in moments, moving in others, and juuuust complicated enough that I mourned every time he made an evil decision. I'm not willing to count him out of the game just yet.
While Bryan has introduced a fun new villain in Tommy, that doesn't mean he's short-changing the girls. Jenny is every bit as real and amazing as she was in the first book, and Bryan introduces a new girl in the form of an old love of Tommy's. Furthermore--spoiler alert--we also see the return of Ashleigh Gooding, who is every bit as noxious and calculating in this book as she was when we first met her. My favorite part of these books is how neatly Bryan writes the relationship between Ashleigh and Jenny--they never lose their petty, high-school nastiness for all that they're immortals fighting a war with incredible, potentially world-ending powers. Jenny was punished in the first book for her refusal to attempt to understand her powers while Ashleigh was so busily strengthening hers, and she's still struggling with much the same problems in Tommy Nightmare. Granted, her power is much more difficult to safely test than Ashleigh's, as people either die or are permanently disfigured by her touch rather than finding themselves love-stoned for a few hours. Jenny's entire arc in this book is, once again, that of trying to stay one step ahead of her own abilities, this time with the added knowledge of just how destructive she can be. This would be repetitive if not for the added drama of Jenny's secret being released into the world and the additional supervillains thrown into the fray. Jenny has to grow up, whether she wants to or not, because she's going to be eaten alive if she doesn't. And, by the end of the book, she seems to realize that she can't just stay in Fallen Oak and be a perpetual child forever, not when Ashleigh is once again on the move and is determined to destroy Jenny's life utterly before continuing with her plans for--I'm not kidding--world domination. Unfortunately, she's now in the sway of someone even more dangerous than Ashleigh or Tommy, and she's not in a good emotional place. Jenny Morton is poised to become Batman with mittens, and I love it.