Jinx’s Fire is the third and final volume in Sage Blackwood’s lovely Jinx trilogy, a middle grade fantasy featuring a diverse main character and some of my favorite settings ever. [Full disclosure: I’m Twitter friends with Sage Blackwood and we often chat about pets, food, and the vagaries of life. However, I liked her books first!] SPOILERS FOR THE FIRST TWO BOOKS FOLLOW. IN THE NEXT SENTENCE. BE WARNED.
At the end of the second book, we left things in a very precarious state, with Simon missing and Jinx struggling to counter the forces moving against the Urwald. In this book, Jinx really starts to grow up in certain ways, which I really loved. He’s a lot more sure of himself, and more inclined to trust his own instincts. This is definitely both a strength and a weakness. At several points, I wanted to cheer and also worry about him. But I completely believed that he’s a teenage boy–he has exactly the right mix of vulnerability and total believe in his own invincibility.
I am also extremely happy because Sophie’s back! Hurray! And Elfwyn is also coming into herself! Hurray! Reven is still being awful! Boo!
One of the things I’ve especially liked about this trilogy have been the themes that are woven into the story. Without being messagey, the books definitely take on some big things. Here, there are lots of questions about nationhood and patriotism, as Jinx and co. try to persuade the Urwalders that they must become a country in order to survive. I thought this was dealt with nicely, with other viewpoints given attention.
And as in the second book, the idea of balance is discussed quite a bit. How does Jinx balance Ice and Fire? How does he fight the Bonemaster without becoming him? How does he confront his own past and recognize that other people have their own versions of what happened? I really appreciated that throughout the story, we’re very much in Jinx’s point-of-view and yet we also get glimpses of how other people think, a sense that they aren’t only as he sees them.
My only criticism is that I felt the middle section dragged just a titch. However, I will also note that I was reading an ebook and my patience level when reading an ebook is never as high as when reading a paper book, so I’m not even entirely sure this is fair.
Regardless, I’m very pleased with where this book ended up. It’s a satisfying conclusion to the story, and I plan to revisit the Urwald often.
Book source: eARC from Edelweiss
Book information: 2015, Katherine Tegen books; middle grade fantasy