Publisher: Pocket Books, 1994
Oh my god, girl! Watch out! Julian has got his fringe vest on and an upper arm cuff. He means business. And his business is all about getting you to finally tell him that you love his crankypants elemental ice lord ways and that you totally can’t wait to move into his new digs in the winter wonderland he lives in. So get ready to give it up! This baddie is on a mission. A mission to make you his. This book is called The Kill so I think you might not win this time…and let me tell you, if Julian were all up in my face with his white blond hair, piercing blue eyes, and tight black pants (and okay that vest too! I’m a sucker for it), I would not mind in the slightest if he won and I lost because his version of winning means that we’ll finally get something more than a chaste kiss or two and maybe we’ll even see him–gasp!–hold your hand! So get ready to make this reader happy because the tension is killing me!
Plot: When The Chase ends, Julian has Jenny’s boyfriend Tom and her cousin Zach in his possession. Before heading back to the ice world he lives in, Julian leaves Jenny with an ultimatum–either come find them on a devious treasure hunt that he’s devised or lose them forever. Obviously Jenny can’t let Julian win so she decides to return to the point where she first saw Julian as a child, her grandfather’s house. Jenny, Audrey, Michael, and Dee travel to Pennsylvania in the hopes of finding a way into the ice world and finally make it, only once there, Julian is the one in control. He’s warped the surroundings to resemble Joyland Funpark, an amusement park near Jenny’s grandfather’s house, and of course, the four friends must play Julian’s game in order to win back Tom and Zach and eventually, their own freedom. They must search for gold coins hidden among the amusement park rides and to rightfully gain them, they must once again face their fears. As this game progresses, Jenny finds a core of strength within herself that she never had before. She realizes she is more in control of her situation than in the past two games and starts pushing Julian instead of fearing him. She learns about Julian’s existence, how lonely and cold it is to be a creature of myth and how much he truly cares for Jenny. In the end though, she also realizes how much she loves the light, being normal, and her bf, Tom. But there’s no denying the attraction she shares with Julian. Ultimately though she is saved from making the choice between the dark ice lord who would do anything to keep her and the normal boyfriend she’s known for practically her entire life. Julian proves his love for her by sacrificing himself when the other ice lords who live in his world decide they want a piece of Jenny. The end is bittersweet but fitting and proves that love and light triumph over the dark everytime.
Oh Jenny. Jenny, Jenny, Jenny. How could you pick that vapid, boring football player, Tom, when Julian was ready to offer you anything and everything your heart desires? How could you let him sacrifice himself for you? I really really wish it had been Tom but no. Julian had to save you from the other mythological creatures, had to give up his life for yours. Why! WHY??? This final installment of the Forbidden Game trilogy was by far my favorite due to its copious amounts of sexy time between Jenny and Julian and the growth that Jenny so obviously makes over the course of it all. The ending is fitting–it shows that Julian isn’t the amoral, unfeeling being that he thinks himself to be and his giving up his very self in order to save Jenny proves that he’s finally learned to really love someone. I understand that Tom or any of her friends was incapable of making this sacrifice because Jenny would let their actions haunt her for the rest of her life, but why did Julian have to die? Wahhhhh! It’s all so unfair. I rooted for Jenny and Julian the entire time. I was so sure that LJ Smith wouldn’t let Jenny become a stereotype by forcing her to stay with Tom but she does. The only good thing to come of it is the fact that Jenny learns to love Julian too and even though she couldn’t be with him because he was, you know, evil, she still recognizes that love and wears his promise ring to remind herself of it. This is such a well written, bittersweet love story that shows that true love does conquer all, even elemental ice lords intent on eating your very soul. It sounds trite, I know, and it is, but we see the characters grow and evolve throughout each book and by the end of the series, Jenny’s choice is actually that, a choice. It isn’t the easiest path but one she’s come to after some intense suffering and a great deal of thought. The game in this installment seems far less important than the first two and in the end, you always know that Jenny can’t stay with Julian. They’re just too different but you can’t stop wishing, praying, hoping against all reason that they can make it work. Sadly they can’t and in order to make it final, Julian has got to die. Fitting but sad.
Based on the following criteria:
How much did I like the heroine: 10. I’ve said it before: Jenny is trite but this girl grows and matures so much over the course of these books that you can’t help but love her. She’s always true to herself and her emotions to the point where she gives up Julian though we all know she wants to pin him to a fur rug and ravish his vest clad body.
How much did I like the love interest: 10. Julian rocks my world. He’s the quintessential bad boy! He’s rough and gruff with a heart of gold and he sacrifices himself to save Jenny from
torture and death. What a fantastic guy! Plus he has the ability to give her anything and everything her heart desires. And he wants to do it! He wants her to be happy! Sigh.
How believable is the plot: 10. Okay, supernatural elements aside, this plot is fantastic. Girl meets bad guy, girl has to choose between her boring bf and bad guy, and in the end, the choice is made easy because the bad guy makes the ultimate sacrifice to keep the girl safe. You don’t even need paranormal stuff for this to be good!
How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc: 10000000. LJ Smith from the 90s is a writing goddess. I’m not so sure about her stuff lately, but the vintage stuff is amazing! It’s fast paced, fluid, the dialogue is quick and believable, and the editing is superb. You can’t beat this kind of writing.
How much did I want to keep reading: 10. Julian is dead. I get that, but god I wish he could be reincarnated as a hot high school boy who meets Jenny later on in the school year and who teaches her to embrace the darkness within. I think I’ve given this way too much thought.
Final Score: 1000000000 / 10. Awesome end to an awesome trilogy. Read them all. Right. This. Minute. Seriously stop what you’re doing and get these books. You will not regret it.