Noir by Jacqueline Garlick | Rating: ★★★★☆
As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.
...sometimes magic trumps logic. Especially when love is involved.
Continuing with the next of the series, The Illumination Paradox takes things up a notch with Noir and will leave readers in a haze of disturbing occurrences with their hearts racing. And although I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first book, it was still an action packed treat.
Jacqueline Garlick toys with our emotions from the very start; picking up nearly where the first installment left off and taking us right to the core of things. I loved the little things about this installment, I loved the exploration of romance and the darker tone everything took on.
We left with Urlick and Eyelet being, sadly, separated and the dangerous tone set. This is where things get tricky. And where they go next, how they approach anything from this point, is a massive risk for both characters and their world as they do their best on various rescue missions. It flip-flops between looking for ways to get Urlick from his prison and Eyelet out of the so-called Loony Bin.
The main focus in Noir for a good chunk of the novel is split between these two rescue missions and discovery of oneself. Oh, and messing with our minds/hearts but I mean I think that's a given at this point.
Our locations are expanded and so are our casts of characters. I enjoyed having more C.L. (crazy legs) in this one and I definitely appreciate the scenes between him and Eyelet at the start as well as seeing the sort of family bond between Cordelia, Eyelet, Iris, C.L. and Urlick. I just love these guys so much.
C.L.’s history as a member in the freak show makes things surprisingly different and I enjoyed how they were incorporated into the mix. It was convenient to have this side of him while he and Eyelet plan to get to Urlick; but it didn’t feel lowly or as if it was only added last minute. It worked out well and definitely expanded on C.L.
Jacqueline explores a lot more in this one and we get quite a few gems. We’re introduced to some newer characters which can get a bit confusing, but overall it’s nice to see more included into this world.
I especially liked Livinea, Eyelet’s endearing and sympathetic roommate at the mental hospital. I enjoyed her and felt very, very attached to her from the moment which she protects Eyelet from the nasty guard. I feel for her, too, with her poor memory and grasp on reality due to years of torture. She was heartbreaking, undeniably so, but beautifully beautifully brave. I hope she sticks around.
As far as locations and other newness beyond the disturbingly awful mental hospital: freak shows and prison breaks. There are plenty of familiar settings and characters as well. It’s a blast seeing the expansion of settings. I did wish we could see more history built of their world, but it was still a solid installment.
Fortunately there are answers of some lingering questions… including a surprise of royalty and a dangerous new leader to their world that threatens everything. How long will she last?
(She doesn’t last as ruler for long. I won’t spoil who the royalty is in our mix just yet, though.)
My biggest complaint was the switch in narration expanding beyond Eyelet and Urlick. It’s not that I hated it; in fact, I love C.L. a lot–it just didn’t seem to flow as easily as Lumiere and it frustrated me quite a lot. This could just be because I love Eyelet and Urlick the most; but here we are.
That being said…
Noir was action packed, romantic, determined and remained spine tingling in nerves and fear.
It was filled with a bit more in terms of mature content–it’s still YA friendly but there’s a lot more gore/violence and talk of sexuality in this one. We open our Prologue from Flossie’s point of view and watch as she charms her way into getting revenge against what happened at the end of the last book.
Flossie isn’t my favorite character–and this is coming from someone who likes villains if they are well developed. I don’t personally think Flossie is developed all that greatly but she does serve a purpose to the plot in all her cringe worthy, one dimensional glory. I just feel as though she’s a cardboard cut out of what a scorned villain should be. This could just be all in my head, though, and she could simply be a character I don't personally enjoy.
She’s a bit delusional and a lot dull. I don’t understand her at all and even the brief moments where her dark humor is satisfying, it doesn’t make it up for me.
I’m still caught up in all the events that unfolded with this one; SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER TIME, Urlick is actually royalty, the time in which Eyelet was trapped in the mental hospital… it’s all the sort of heart pounding details that make reading it so easily; I read it in one sitting and had many moments where my heart dropped and the breath got caught in my throat.
I do think that Noir was a bit more disturbing than the last one, but that’s what made it so fast paced and intriguing. It won’t be for everyone and there are moments deserving of trigger warnings, but I liked the rough edges and the darkness to it just as I love the romantic elements and determination.
It goes without saying that I enjoyed Noir quite a bit; there were things I would have changed or could have done without but I still found myself getting lost within its glorious dark tone and magical words. I cannot, CANNOT, wait until the third book.
My hearts pounding nerves and excitement; much like it did during a specific scene where C.L. and Eyelet get separated… talk about heartbreaking. Fuck you, Jacqueline. FUCK. YOU. FOR. TOYING. WITH. MY. HEART.
(I’m kidding please continue toying with my heart and writing. I need the next book. Did I mention that? I’ll mention it again. I need the third book. Need it.)
I have to wait how long?!
I need to know what happens! Especially with that ending. Cordelia! Iris! My heart was pounding. I can't even think straight about it. You’ll know what I’m talking about when you read it. Phew, phew…
AH. Ah, ah, ah… AH.
That’s all I can coherently form right now.
Okay but seriously, can I have the third book now?