If you read my review of L.C. Barlow’s Pivot, you know how much I loved the story of Jack Harper. Raised in a cult, destroyed the cult leader and the adventure had just started! I will try and avoid major spoilers from Pivot, but just in case, I do suggest you read the book before reading this review.
Jack is still the same person in this book, only with more depth. She finds herself in a world without the comfort of her familiar life. Although she knows the cult she left was evil and absolutely destructive to her, she finds herself lost I the real world and struggling to know what to do. I was extremely happy that Barlow wrote Jack with this struggle in Perish because, regardless of the horrors of her life before, it was still the life she know and change, especially drastic change is always a challenge. She still finds herself tied to Cyrus and lines such as “Cyrus would have been proud” show her struggle to break free.
I loved seeing how Jack developed, grew and learned. She felt even more like a real person in this book because of her development. She is a unique, intelligent, flawed, powerful character who is learning about herself and I am enjoying learning right along with her.
We are introduced to a slew of new characters in this novel and the phrase about absolute power corrupting absolutely comes to my mind when I think of certain people through the book. Barlow’s gift is her ability to make characters loves, pitied, hated, feared, and intriguing at will regardless of their strengths or imperfections as people. There are no weak characters and they are incredibly diverse.
The plot of Perish was extremely different than I expected. The novel is a direct continuation of the first book, but the development and growth of the plot introduced in Pivot took everything to new heights and extremes. I was stunned while reading to see where the story was going and to not only see the breadth of Cyrus’ power, but the absolute evil that was in the world Barlow has created. I found Pivot to be very psychologically-based horror, while the sequel Perish was more physical horror based on pure wickedness and darkness.
I don’t know what I can say about Barlow’s writing that I didn’t say in the review of Pivot. She has not faltered, she did not relax in this sequel. Her writing remains incredible strong as her characters, dialogue, action, and descriptions all work seamlessly to paint a world of terror and realism within that terror. She writes in such a way that, no matter how fantastic the story becomes, there is part of you that says “this is scary because it feels real.”
Some books it is very hard to find a critique. However, that’s my job, so my only critique is that I wanted more. I felt that I would love to see more of Jack’s struggle mentally as she fit into her new world, as she tried to free herself from both mental and physical captivity. I would love to see her take more time to figure out and develop her new found abilities. That being said, it didn’t necessarily feel rushed, I just personally would have loved to see more. Don’t be afraid to not have action.
This is an absolutely fantastic sequel! The story really grew and it made me even more excited for the third book. The depth of he story has really stuck with me. It is evil and terrifying without losing sight of plot and character. It is a book that will appeal to any fan of horror because there are so many elements to it. If you haven’t already, get a copy of Pivot and then, the moment you finish that one, grab Perish to continue the story of Jack Harper. I’m sure you will be as taken in as I am!