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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

{Book Review} RANGE and THE MAGPIE BRIDGE, Books 4 and 4.5 of The Junco Series by JA Huss

You're probably wondering why I'm doing two at once today. Since THE MAGPIE BRIDGE is a novella and technically 4.5 in the series, I thought it would make sense to review it with book 4, RANGE. The way the novel is situated, it times nicely, too. So there you have it and away we go! 

Book Title: RANGE, Book 4 in the Junco Series
Author: JA Huss
Publisher: Science Future Press
Publishing Date:April 2013
Length: 400 pages
Source: Purchased

Some things can’t be undone.
If this happens,
There’s just one thing
Left to do.

Kill that bitch.

It doesn’t matter
What it takes for you
To get your chance.

You kill that bitch,
And don’t worry
About afterward.
Because it won’t matter.

Two years have passed since Inanna stole Junco away from Lucan. Two years of unimaginable pain. Two years of isolation, mutilation and torture. Two years of fear and loneliness in a morph tank. And that’s not something you just get over, even if you are psycho-assassin, Junco Coot.

Now Junco has to learn to live with the consequences. Her Siblings are suspicious and angry, half her team is dead, Tier is wreaking death and destruction, Lucan is holding his secrets close, and she is spiraling out of control.

There is only one partnership that matters anymore – only one person she will trust and take direction from – and only one way out of the Hell she’s been sentenced to.

Junco is tired of fighting and death. She’s had enough and this time she means to end it – once and for all.

 Book 1, Clutch:
Book 2, Fledge:
Book 3, Flight:
Book 4, Range :
Book 4.5, The MagPie Bridge:
Book 5, Return:

Omnibus, Books 1, 2, 3:

 These books are akin to emotional torture for those who become attached to the characters they are reading. I'm not kidding. Junco was kidnapped at the end of book 3 and when when she wakes in this book, she's been captive for 2 freaking years. TWO YEARS. And her wings have been taken from her. And not only has she suffered incredible pain and torture for two years, but we are also exposed to all of her suppressed memories, of what makes Junco Junco. And it's heartbreaking. It really is. She is resilient and strong and on the cusp of insanity. The secrets and lies are not helping this in any manner whatsoever, and yet what choice do they have?

So you have Junco and Tier, the main characters. And really, you'll dislike Tier for most of this book. I did. But then all the secondary and tertiary characters must be considered. And considered well. They are all complex, have a story to tell, and a part to play in this incredibly twisted, gnarled, woven tapestry of Junco and her fate. We have a creation myth going on here, a prophecy, and this girl who is walking on eggshells as she balances precariously between sanity and insanity with the pressure of a fate/destiny she does not know weighing on her shoulders. She is broken, confused, vulnerable, and you aren't really sure if she is going to murder someone or suicide her way out.

The strangest thing about all of this is the amount of sympathy she brings out from you. It isn't pity, it isn't charitable, it's almost empathy as her pain and confusion is palpable, but of course it's not since I've never gone through anything like she has. You can't help but want to pull her to you, hug her, and surround her with honesty and love. But I get a strange feeling that it would break her at this point. Don't be surprised if you're left in tears. I get attached to some of the characters I read about...Junco is one of them. Full on tears, here.

I know I am raving about this series, and it highly deserves these accolades, but make no mistake: these are not easy reads. They are deliciously twisted, delicately woven, the plot complicated though it seems it should be straightforward, and will leave you feeling as if you just tore your hair out, while screaming at every single character. 

Book Title: The Magpie Bridge, Book 4.5 in the Junco Series
Author: JA Huss
Publisher: Science Future Press
Publishing Date:April 2013
Length:80 pages
Source: purchased

Sometimes what you want
Doesn’t matter,
Sometimes you just
Gotta finish what you started.
Sometimes this really
Fucking sucks.

But other times
You need to take a breath
And sit on the beach.

A long, deep, breath
To remind you of why
You signed on for this shit
In the first place.

This is my breath.

~ Tier

This novella is a gift from JA Huss. No, she didn't give it to me, I bought it. What I mean is, this is a little balm to your soul after the tumultuous, turbulent RANGE. In this novella, we're in Tier's head, seeing things from Tier's point of view. Not the whole series, but just enough to get a glimpse, a touch of clarity, about the impending final outcome. No, at this point, I still can't seem to piece it together. And I read this series in one fell swoop. I admit to missing bits and pieces that would help me pull this together a bit more.

The Magpie Bridge is a mythology story that is related to us in a moment between Junco and Tier. And here, in this novella of the same name, we the readers are being soothed by insight to Tier's heart and mind. It feels as if he's begging for not only Junco's trust, but for ours as well. And as a few more details come to light, you begrudgingly hand it over to him.

Like the four novels before it, this little novella has a helluva lot to say and pieces of a puzzle are starting to click. Unlike other series, I would highly recommend you get this novella, too, and read it in order. I am so glad I waited to read Fledge through Return until I had all of them on my kindle and time to read them together. I cannot imagine reading these piecemeal. The waiting surely would have killed me, even if they had come at the JA Huss pace I'm becoming accustomed to. 

Book 1, Clutch:
Book 2, Fledge:
Book 3, Flight:
Book 4, Range :
Book 4.5, The MagPie Bridge:
Book 5, Return:

Omnibus, Books 1, 2, 3:

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