Overall Grade: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2
When you read a book in the Rydeville High series by Siobhan Davis, you need to prepare yourself. While her heroines are the power of her story, violence and debauchery are heaped on them in almost terrifying ways. In real life, no one would look twice at the moments that Davis carefully crafts in her stories. Yet, in fiction, we can become entranced by it because, while horrifying, there is beauty in its ability to drive her heroes and heroines together.
In the first three books of this series, there is a standout character, Jackson. He is charismatic in a way that her other characters aren’t. While charming and crass, he also carries the weight of his sister’s death on his shoulders, and it lends a depth to him that, on the outside, seems surprising. When Davis announced his book, I preordered it quickly because that gravity of spirit intrigues me. And so…when I read an early copy of it, I jumped in feet first and ran.
For me, Jackson is my favorite Siobhan Davis book to date. The reasons are simple:
- The heroine of Jackson, Vanessa, is different from her other heroines in that there is a sensitivity you don’t find in Abby or her heroine in her Sainthood series. She’s fragile because her past is horrifying. Yet, she’s learned to build strength with walls that surround her. I appreciate this combination, which makes her my favorite Davis heroine along with Selena Kennedy.
- While this Jackson is still seemingly carefree and charismatic, he is also broody and troubled. His focus is revenge, and he makes decisions that will both entrance you and frustrate you. While he’s fairly good at reading Cam and Sawyer, he is horrible with self-reflection. However, the complication of personality in him makes this book better than her other Rydeville High and Sainthood stories. There is more to Jackson than we are allowed to see in the initial trilogy, and it’s exciting as Davis offers you more of his story.
- As she does so well, Davis throws every situation at you in her stories, and it compels you forward and keeps you wrapped in the story. I think that’s one of the reasons she is so successful. Every moment of the book reveals a new trap, a new entanglement, a new need for the hero to rescue the heroine from almost certain death or degradation. You turn the page because you need to know that, in this case, Jackson will save Vanessa from certain doom. The story is multi-layered and debauched. Every time a new Rydeville High book comes out, I hope that the organization is finally overthrown, so the abuse and violence end. That is why I jump feet first into her books. And Jackson offers up all these great qualities in ways that I didn’t feel in the last four books.
- Siobhan Davis is a master of universe hopping. This makes for an exciting read because characters you’ve fallen for in past books find space in Jackson. The Kennedys are here; a character from the Sainthood world is here, and of course, the rest of the crew from the other Rydeville High books. While we aren’t privy to all of their storylines, we are connected back to the ghosts of them in Jackson. I love when authors remind us of their other books and characters and craft a bigger world than just the one that exists in the present. Jackson does this well; now, I’m hoping we get Drew’s story because there is MUCH to be unpacked there.
Siobhan Davis’s brand of romance, quite honestly, might make you flinch and grit your teeth as her heroines must endure much. Yet, there is always the promise of retribution and happy endings. The journey there is a wild one, keeping you enrapt until the last word. Jackson, in my opinion, is one of her bests because we realize that her hero is more than the smiling, joking playboy. Her heroine, Vanessa, brings out the depths of Jackson, showing us that, deep down, he is one of the “good guys.”
In love and romance,