Jinx by Jennifer Estep

Jinx (Bigtime)
Jennifer Estep

Jinx is the third book in this series which is a tongue-in-cheek take on comic books. If you've read the previous books: Karma Girl and Hot Mama, you know that Bigtime is a city full of superheroes and ubervillians, secret identities are sort of obvious, and yards of spandex and sequins are required.

My reviews of the previous books:

Karma Girllivejournal | vox

Hot Mamalivejournal | vox

Cover: They swtiched over from a more comic cover, where the characters are drawn, to real people against a sort of comic-looking background. Not sure the reason for this – maybe to make the books look less chick-lit and more like it's a romance/paranormal?

Story: As with the previous books, the story is written in the first person point of view. This time it's Bella Bulluci, who was introduced in Hot Mama as the sister of the male love interest, and a fashion designer with muted tastes. Bella's family has a superhero tradition, her grandfather, father and brother have taken turns being Johnny Angel, a character who rides a motorcycle and fights crime. Bella's dad was killed earlier in the year because of this activity, and Bella has a very hard time forgiving him for choosing to put himself in danger rather than staying safe for his family. She remembers wanting to be a superhero when she was young, but soon was jaded by the worry and fear about her father night after night.

Her past experiences have caused Bella to hate superheroes – she thinks they are ridiculous and can't understand why people choose to have a secret identity. Her rule is to never get involved with a superhero – despite being in a family of them, and despite being closely connected with the Fearless Five, Bigtime's most powerful superhero group. AND despite Bella having her own powers. She has a "supercharged telekinesis" which gives her luck – both bad and good, and which annoys her a lot. It increases with her emotions and discharges with often embarrassing results, but Bella is usually not harmed very much.

I found this contrariness despite who she has surrounding her very stubborn on Bella's part. Her anger at her father's death colors her decisions. I still I found her feelings believable at first. Her practical and worrywort nature explains a about how she reacts towards the danger of being a superhero. Then Bella gets caught in the crossfire between the Fearless Five and some ubervillians after a fund-raiser at the Bigtime Museum of Modern Art. Bella is taken away from danger by Debonair and soon becomes involved with him despite her rule. This is where I found her back and forth annoying – she would really firmly (and sometimes a little meanly) push him away, and then the next time she sees him, they're getting it on. Then she'd remember her rule and tell him to leave after a long evening together, or say it was nice but nothing can come out of it. Once or twice – fine, but this happened a few times. The only explanation of why Debonair is OK with her waffling is that he's been secretly in love with her for months, but how easily he forgives her for hurting him was surprising. Their relationship was really the focus of the book, with the action against ubervillians Hangman and Prism as a secondary story.

Overall – I read this book in practically one sitting. It was fun, and doesn't take itself seriously, so worth reading when you're in the mood for something light. I think I liked it as much as I liked Karma Girl, and I thought it was better than Hot Mama. Bella was a more interesting protagonist and had a less dramatic and flamboyant personality than Fiona, Hot Mama's protagonist. I also liked Debonair and his shy alter ego – he was very sweet towards Bella throughout the story. And as usual the over the top and silly background of the Bigtime world makes things lighthearted and an easy read. Most readers will pick up on the secret identities of some of the superheroes and ubervillians (first name and last name have the same letter, not nice people = ubervillian, nice people = superhero, real job sometimes related to superhero power…), and it's amusing how oblivious the main characters are about the clues.

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