Mania by J.R. Johansson
Book Three of the Night Walkers trilogy
Publication Date: July 8, 2015
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley
Summary (from Goodreads):
Jack and his half-brother Parker have no time to mourn the loss of their father, Daniel Chipp. With an attack by the body-stealing Takers imminent, the pair must put aside their grief and track down the ingredients of Daniel's formula--one that will rein in the power-hungry Takers--to keep their family and friends out of danger. Their only hope lies in a puzzle their father left behind, a riddle where each brother unknowingly possesses a piece of the solution. The puzzle sets them on a deadly path, spiraling between reality and the world of dreams where nothing and no one can be trusted entirely. And when Parker finds himself deep in the fray between the Takers and the other Night Walkers, it's up to Jack to complete the formula and save his brother's life.
What I Liked:
THIS SERIES. I've always said, this series is way out of my comfort zone. Insomnia was/is not a book I'd usually pick up, but back in 2013, I thought I'd give it a shot. I'm not into horror (though this isn't really a horror series?), or creepy dark books like this series promised to be. Insomnia blew me away! It was one of my favorite books of 2013. Paranoia didn't impress me very much, but I soldiered on and picked up Mania a few months ago. I'm very pleased with how this series wraps up!
In this final novel (I think it's the final novel?), Parker and Jack must work together to figure out how to create a chemical drug that their father had been working on for years. This formula will help Takers by reining in their power - thereby helping Waters, Builders, and your average humans be more safe from the Takers who mean harm. But the stakes get even higher when Parker is captured and tortured - Jack and the crew must find and put together the formula, before Parker ends up dead.
This book is split between Parker and Jack - meaning, we get both of their first person points-of-view. Jack is the older half-brother, though not by much. He definitely sees Parker as his little brother, whom he needs to protect. But Jack trusts Parker, the only person he really trusts since Danny died.
I've always liked Parker, so to be honest, I kind of missed having only his point-of-view! But Jack's point-of-view was interesting and illuminating. Johansson totally split the perspectives telling this book on purpose because, as we see from the summary, Parker and Jack get separated. So it was good to have both perspectives, both stories, especially when the boys were separated.
I liked Parker and Jack. Parker is more likable, but Jack is more intriguing. Finn remains one of my favorite characters - he and I would totally get along and be best friends in real life. I want his t-shirt collection! Addie and Mia don't have much of a presence in this book. Chloe, a Taker, does have a huge presence. Jack struggles to trust Chloe, but it soon becomes clear that she isn't communicating with the Takers, and she wants to help Jack with the drug for Takers.
This book is raw and goes pretty deep. Some of the things done to Parker... I cringed, my heart broke, I stopped reading. Trust me, the ending might seem happy (a little cliche, even), but I couldn't stop thinking about all that Parker had been through, in this book a lone. In the series. Someone give the guy a hug!
There is romance in this book! I mentioned that Addie isn't really in this book - but she and Parker are a very strong pair. Jack gets his own romance! That was a surprise but totally obvious at the same time. Their relationship builds very slowly, but I love how far they come.
I already mentioned some things about the ending - it's a very good ending! Very happy for most people, with a good amount of blood and gore and even death to make the ending not perfect, but satisfying. The series ends well, even though Parker definitely got the short end of the stick. I'm glad I decided to give Insomnia a shot, on a whim!
What I Did Not Like:
Like I said above, some of the things done to Parker... not okay. I get it, it totally enhances the story and adds plausibility and character to the story's villain, but poor Parker! The guy could not catch a break! At one point towards the end, I wanted to punch Jack. He had no idea what Parker was going through, had gone through, and yet, he was demanding and controlling and pushing. Not cool, Jack.
And I thought the ending was a tad bit *too* happy? It seemed like everyone got over the bad stuff REALLY quickly. Especially Parker... he should have PTSD or something. Or be depressed. Seriously, there was some messed up stuff going on in this book. I know it's a YA book, but Parker's reaction to all the trauma he suffered... doesn't seem plausible. Or maybe Parker is just that mentally and emotionally strong? Meh.
Would I Recommend It:
This series took me way out of my comfort - I would never pick it up, on an average day. I can't remember what the push was, back in 2013, but I remember not seeing any reviews for the book, so it wasn't early reviews. That being said, I'm glad I gave this series a shot! The sequel was a bump in the road for me, but the series overall is great. So yes, I'd recommend the series overall. Binge-read them maybe, with the lights on, in the middle of the day.
3.5 stars -> rounded up to 4 stars. A good conclusion to an interesting (and slightly scary) series! I've read all four of Johansson's books now (including Cut Me Free), and I'll definitely be looking out for more of her books in the future!
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