PERISH (JACK HARPER, BOOK TWO)
By L. C. Barlow
Published by California Coldblood (An Imprint of Rare Bird Books)
Perish marks the second entry in Barlow’s Jack Harper series, a predetermined trilogy that has quickly proven to be as contemplative and intelligent as it is darkly fantastical and horrific.
Though Jack has just escaped the cultish clutches of Cyrus, has she actually rid herself of Infinitum? In New York, she tries to settle into a new life – one in which she isn’t a ruthless murderer, but a person of her own dimensions – only to fall back into violence after receiving numerous letters from a child in need of rescue. Not long after the first, more come, and from other captured children. If this wasn’t demanding enough of her attention, a new threat forces its way into her life: an assassination ring.
Perish is a story that begins with action and rarely lets up. In Pivot, there was a gradual rise in suspense; here, it launches right out the gate with a fury that drives you to follow “one more chapter” with “well, no, I can’t stop now.” I felt compelled to tear through this book in one emotionally exhausting day, but forced myself to take it easy, instead feeding my hunger over the period of a week. Some nights were harder than others to put the book down for some rest, but all of them were full of temptation. The thrill I felt throughout Perish is one I don’t stumble upon often; it is for this reason (and, admittedly, many others) that I have quickly learned to view this series in high regard. Just minutes ago, I finished reading Perish, but I’m already devoted to moving into book three. To my knowledge, it doesn’t even exist in any completed form yet. I will look to Barlow for updates as she can reveal them.
It’s difficult to discuss a book such as this, in which doing so could give away major plot points. That being said, Perish introduces a lot of exciting changes over its course, especially in its final chapters. Going into this middle chapter of the trilogy, I was curious to know what Barlow had in store for Jack, and how it would leave us open for a third outing. In many cases, a second book feels like a bridge, almost lacking in action. With Perish, that was far from the case. This entry took everything we felt in Pivot, and jacked it up several notches (pun intended). I can’t imagine how the final book will play out – knowing all I do now about Jack and her advances – but suspect it will be wonderfully insane.
Perish is no sophomore slump for the Jack Harper series. Rather, it solidifies and multiplies the love I felt for its beginnings, as well as the anticipation (and dread) I feel for its conclusion.
Review by Aiden Merchant