Holy highlighter pink. If you thought Jackal’s cover was intriguing, wait until you read the book. Jackal has heart and layers—more so than Folsom. Hold up. Don’t take this the wrong way. We’re not knocking the first book in the series. If you’ve read our Folsom review, then you know we’re fans. But Jackal was…more. Just more.
Jackal and his counterpart, Phoenix, frequently spar in this book, making it hugely entertaining and also hugely unpredictable. Will they get together? Won’t they? These questions aren’t immediately answered. And so, from a romantic standpoint, you’re left on the edge of your seat wondering what will happen next. Same goes with the End Men movement. How will they become involved? Will they make a difference? And where the hell are Rebel and Gwen and Folsom—AND SOPHIA? Is she…behaving herself?! I promise—some of your questions will be answered. (I’m just not going to tell you which ones.)
My favorite part of Jackal was the man himself. I’m not downplaying Phoenix’s role. Like Gwen, she is one badass female ready to make a difference in the Regions. She is snarky and witty and resolute. She has bite, and she is brave. This is the kind of character I expect from two powerhouse female authors. But Jackal… Jackal was unexpected. He evolves. While once a party-going playboy, he becomes part of the bigger picture. He takes chances. He cares. But what makes Jackal even more multidimensional is his backstory. We learn about the man behind the ego and antics. We learn about what makes him who he is. And because of this, he becomes a character of substance, someone you want to root for and respect.
There are so many wonderful moments in this book that caused a full range of emotions. I cried. I laughed. I cringed. I gasped. And I most definitely cheered. There’s one moment in particular that took my breath away and gave me chills. It’s been over a week since I read Jackal, and I still think about it. That’s how good this book is. It makes you think and keep thinking days later.
I’m so excited to read Kasper’s story next. When I read Folsom, I thought, how are they going to top this? They did with Jackal. And although a part of me wonders the same question about Kasper, I have absolute faith that Fisher and Aster will make it happen.
I struggle reading sequels. More often than not, I feel like they don’t live up to the original story (I’m looking at you, Allegiant!). The novelty is gone and, unless the characters are really amazing or the story is told from a different perspective, it can sometimes feel clumsy and forced. After reading and liking Folsom, I wasn’t sure what to expect with Jackal. Could Fisher and Aster do something different enough with Jackal to make it stand out on its own? Or, would this be more of the same? And what the hell am I doing reading these books about sexy dudes?!
But I went into it with an open mind and tried to let the book speak for itself. And speak it did. Jackal started leaping off the pages. I found myself constantly saying, “Oh man, this dude…” to just about everything he does. Surprisingly, I think Erica and I agree on this book: not only does Jackal live up to Folsom, but I actually liked Jackal more.
While the way Erica describes Jackal is true, to me he is the smart-ass-funny-guy who doesn’t take too much seriously. He enjoys his day-to-day life and seems content. Until he isn’t. We learn about his past and how the characters he meets influence his changing mindset. Like Erica mentioned, we see him develop, and I like that a lot.
Phoenix, the female lead, is the opposite, to start. She’s a focused dancer who has spent her life working toward being the best. But then she meets Jackal and… READ THE BOOK. I think I liked her more than Erica did. I feel like she stands her own against Jackal and, in some respects, steps up even more than he does.
I like their dynamic. In a dystopian future that can seem unreal, their interactions (verbal and non-verbal…heyyyy-ohhhh!) feel entirely realistic. They challenge each other and piss each other off—yet grow together, as they both change their perspectives and views. They seemed real and, to be honest, I might actually miss reading about them. He’s a thinker. She’s a doer. Together, they are fun to read about.
There is some suspense and action in the second half of the book, which made it hard to put down. No spoilers here. While this is a separate story from Folsom, it takes place in the same universe and does move the overarching story forward.
What’s especially interesting, style-wise, with this book, is that the authors provide short snippets of animal mating facts at the beginning of each chapter that help sets the tone for what you are about to read. I am not sure how well it set the tone for me, but there were some really interesting facts. I learned that some flies can be real dicks. Also, worms have both male and female parts, then try to shove their male bits into each other. The first one to be penetrated becomes the female. For many reasons, with this now being the main one, I am super grateful not to be a worm!
There are a dozen End Men total and at one point Tarryn and Willow shared they have a goal of producing ten books, giving each one to a specific character. With the first two books being done so well, I am definitely interested in seeing how this plays out. I’m with Erica here, too. I don’t know how they can do so many books and not just repeat the same formula. Then again, I am not an author. They hit it out of the park with Folsom and Jackal, so I can only assume they will do the same with Kasper (next) and the others in the future.
So back to my original question, why am I reading a series of books about sexy guys? The story and the way the men are written makes them more than just sexy dudes, they are Sexy Avengers! (Okay, now I am seeing the Hulk in a whole new way…)
Note to self: always sell sexy-time books as sexy-time-Avengers books.
I knew you were going to bring up the animal facts! As I read them, I thought, Matt is going to have a field day with these! Honestly, I loved them. They really helped set the book apart from Folsom, making the novel truly unique. It became less like a sequel and more like its own story. I didn’t see it as them trying to set a tone, but rather, they were reinforcing their hashtag #riseofthewomen. These facts were pro-female and hella empowering. They were unexpected and educational. I hope we see something different like this in Kasper as well.
I think you misunderstood my feelings about Phoenix. She excited me, and she was one of the reasons why I cheered at times. I seriously bow down to her. But I expected nothing less from Tarryn and Willow. They are known for strong female characters, so I expected them to produce a character like Phoenix. But Jackal? He knocked me on my ass.
Read it and weep, people (literally)!
To purchase a copy of or read a synopsis for Fisher & Aster’s Jackal, click here.