Review: Head Rush

Posted March 15, 2012 by Jen in 5 stars, My Favorite Books, Rating A, Reviews, Urban Fantasy Tags: , , ,

Head Rush
Author: Carolyn Crane 
Release Date: Dec. 6, 2011
Publisher: Samhain
The Disillusionists #3
ISBN: #978-1609286255
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format(s): e-book
Book Source: Author

About the book:

In an attempt to put her unhappy past behind her, Justine Jones throws herself into nursing school and planning her wedding to the man of her dreams. But something is off. Random details aren’t adding up…and is it her imagination, or are her friends and fiancé keeping secrets from her? And what’s with this strange sense of unease, and her odd new headaches?
     Justine tries to stay upbeat as Midcity cowers under martial law, sleepwalking cannibals, and a mysterious rash of paranormal copycat violence, but her search for answers leads her into the most dangerous mind game yet.
     With the help of unlikely allies, including her paranoid dad and best frenemy Simon, Justine fights her ultimate foe…and unravels the most startling mystery of all.

What Im talking about:

     Disclaimer: I don’t know how to write a review of Head Rush without giving spoilers from the first two books. SO… if you haven’t read the previous two books of the Distillusionists Trilogy, go back and start with Mind Games. NOW!
     *WARNING: Spoilers from book 2*
     Our heroine, Justine Jones, has been through a lot the past few months. She went from paranoid hypochondriac, to reluctant superhero, to starting over with the man of her dreams, but it’s not all good. Her band of crime-fighting friends known as the Disillusionists are falling apart after she witnessed their leader and good friend, Packard, shoot and kill Shelby’s boyfriend, Avery. However, everyone but Justine knows that she has been revised–her memories were altered by the man she is about to marry, and he is in fact the killer (this all happened at the end of the second book, Double Cross)
     Head Rush opens with Justine settling into her life with Midcity Mayor, Otto Sanchez, her ideal man, and the two will be married soon. This is what (she thinks) she’s always wanted. Otto is handsome and strong, and most importantly he is stable and safe. Justine still cannot believe that Packard killed Shelby’s boyfriend, Avery. She hates Packard, but when he shows up secretly to talk with her, she cannot help the urge to protect him. She begins to notice things just aren’t adding up.
     For the first half of the book I was on edge! Would Justine find out the truth before it’s too late? Would her friends stop acting so strange? Would Midcity be safe again? Plus I was so frustrated with Justine. I understand that a revision changes the person, but she knew things were off, and she still refused to consider that she was revised. It goes back to Justine sabotaging herself and hiding from the truth. She is a scared little girl inside the tough exterior. She still thinks she wants the easy, safe life. It bothered me that she refused to consider that she’d been revised, but Ms. Crane did do a good job explaining how revisions to a person’s memory does away with the “old self.”
     It is Carolyn Crane’s ability to create characters I care about and how she got me inside Justine, that makes this series, and Head Rush in particular, so amazing. I’ve never read a first person narrative where I have felt so connected to the character. I swear, I experienced everything Justine did-every emotion, sensation, fear and pain. Justine got me to care about Otto even when we know he’s a bad man. She got me to look at life and be happy with what I’ve been given. She gave me Happy Gumby!
     This book has some highly emotion and very touching scenes. Scenes of this caliber are what makes this book a 5 Star — A+ book (and one of my all time favorites). Of course, knowing its life and death for Justine can make almost anything more powerful. There are scenes with her true love Packard, a scene when she says goodbye to Otto, interactions with best friend Shelby and even scenes with her dad, whom we’d never met before. Each of these are spectacular moments. Here is one interchange with her dad that had me in tears. It is such a tender moment, and just what Justine needed to hear.

“I haven’t been the model father,” Dad says. “I taught you all the wrong lessons, none of the right ones. But you’ve grown into a beautiful, brave young woman in spite of me–”

     Saying a possible goodbye to Shelby was amazing. It is the perfect expression of how it feels to love another and what it means to be friends. But it’s when she’s with Packard for what may be the final time, that was so heart-breaking. Justine wants to love him fully, but is worried she’ll let him down or die. She tries to push him away, but he’s never letting go again. I could see Justine grow in those moments – grow to accept all she is and who she can become. So perfect!
     *sigh* This was the perfect end to an amazing series. I am content. Head Rush had everything that made the first two books great plus more. I am still crying… Tears of joy because I have grown to love these characters and tears of sadness because I did not want it to end. The plot was perfect… Twists and turns in just the right places. Love conquering all. Suspense keeping me glued to the pages.
     I’m going to end with a quote from Justine that sums it all up:

Happiness isn’t about getting rid of my fear. Happiness is when something outshines my fear.

My Rating:

Personal favorite – a must read (A+)
In addition, Head Rush is one of… 
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