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Bitten to Death (Jaz Parks, Book 4) Paperback – August 12, 2008
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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About the Author
Jennifer Rardin began writing at the age of 12. She penned eight Jaz Parks novels in her life. She passed away in September 2010.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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This book gives us a further look into Vayl's past. While much of it still remains a mystery, and probably always will, I did enjoy learning more about him. He has made allusions to the fact that Jaz wouldn't have liked the man he used to be and he seems ashamed of his past. However, even though he may have done bad things in the past, that was then. That he had the strength to leave the situation he was in as well as able to survive to make a better man of himself is nothing short of admirable.
Poor Vayl and Jaz, they never seem to be able to catch a break when it comes to their budding relationship. Vayl thinks he is sure about Jaz, yet anytime something comes up with his sons, his thoughts about her seem to go out the window. Jaz on the other hand knows that she loves and needs Vayl, but just cannot bring herself to accept this fact. The fear of losing him is too high. So, when you add in those problems to the psychotic vampire who is trying to steal Vayl away and claim him for her own, you can't expect much progression to happen. It is a shame that everything seems to be against them, and I think I will do a happy dance when they finally get together. As frustrating as the slow progression has been, I prefer it this way as long as that means that they will have a strong foundation and not crumble at the first obstacle, so that in the end everything will have been worth the wait.
I enjoyed this book, but I did have one complaint. The situation with Cole is really starting to grate on my nerves. It is obvious that she will never choose him, and I think he knows that. In fact I bet the only reason he seems to be going after her so hard is the fact that he can't actually have Jaz. He just doesn't seem to be the type to settle down, which is what being with Jaz would lead to. Jaz has herself so worried about crushing him by telling him no, but I just don't think it will really effect him that much in the long run. He may think he loves her, but deep down I think she is just a "safe" outlet for him. So despite that one issue, I loved the book and cannot wait to read more. I'll have to say the thing I love most about this series is that while there is an overall story arc that leaves unfinished business from book to book, each individual book has its own issue that gets resolved. So, no nasty cliffhangers to drive you nuts, making this series a must read in the urban fantasy genre.
The three are in Italy at the compound of a small group of vampires that Vayle has a complicated history with, supposedly working with them to set a trap for Samos, the big bad guy behind the smaller bad guys of the past 3 books. We get vampire politics, Vayle's complicated history, David's shell-shock from the events of the last book, and Jaz' chance to reconsider the web of friends she seems to be forming. Plus, they steal Samos' dog, and that's just cool.
The major trouble is magical this time, with the vampires in the "Trust," a kind of vampire commune, combining and forming a powerful and hard-to-steer gestalt. It's especially dangerous to Vayle, who was once a part of the trust and whom most members would like to see return. Jaz has to start to understand, accept, and work with her increasing sensitivity to and control of magic to identify the threats and protect Vayle.
Jaz can't shoot her way out of this--even Bergman's prototypes prove almost as dangerous as his stable designs, providing both comic relief and plot advancement--and we get back to the revenant storyline that started the series. Vayle's history of making enemies and leaving jilted partners behind, his obsession with psychics and his long-dead sons, and his arrogance all combine to make Jaz step up to what she really got into when she entered into the "bonded mortal equal" relationship with Vayle.
From a writing perspective, Rardin did some great things. She took away the easy outs that have weakened the last two books; Jaz can't turn to the team of specialists-cum-friends to avoid facing difficult scenes or risking pushing herself emotionally and physically; Rardin forced herself to write the hard scenes where all three major characters face their failings and their hopes. It's hard writing and it comes off great.
The action and mystery plots deliver as well. It's a great, rollicking read and we never get lost in fast-cut action writing that usually mars this type of book. Rardin has done that well in the past and she's just getting better.
It would be a decent book to start the series on (certainly better than 2 or 3), but it isn't so far back to the first one--and 2 and 3 aren't actually all that bad--so read 'em all if you're inclined to the series.