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The Last time we met Jasmine Regis, the Earth had been invaded by the Jinxs in search of breeding mates. She has successfully hidden her femininity and had even found a place with other survivors. In the end she is captured and transported to the planet Emin to become empress, now she is back bringing with her a Jinx mage...
The Jinx Chronicles: Jinx Magic is the second book in the series, written by Sam Stone. Stone has a couple of other series on the go including the Kat Lightfoot Mysteries, which kicked off with Zombies at Tiffany’s, which is predominantly a steampunk horror/adventure series and The Vampire Gene series, which began with Killing Kiss and presented a labyrinthine tale of vampires and time travel. The Jinx Chronicles is Stones take on a science fantasy invasion story.
At the heart of all of Stone's writing are strong female characters and, until this novel, it was never at the expense of her male characters.
The story opens in Trafford City, the one-time shopping mall where Jas had sought refuge, meeting both new friends and foes. The sirens call of her home planet being too great of a draw for her to ignore. When she returns she discovers that while she has been away from the Earth for a single year, three have past for her former comrades. Because she brings a Jinx mage with her she is met with equal amounts of suspicion and joy.
A number of things happen on her return. It is Stone's writing style to continually introduce new characters as a series progresses, so we meet Handley a particularly unpleasant example of a misogynistic male. Handley heads up another group of survivors who live in an underground bunker. Here I feel that Stone hasn’t been as ironic as she thinks. The place is run like a right wing wet dream. Males rule, while the women are condemned, for the most part to be breeders, forced to birth one child after another, until their bodies can no longer conceive, following which they are drugged and brainwash to be used as free prostitutes.
On the one hand Stone cops a wink at the reader and even has one of her characters mention that the setup is something out an '80s B movie. The truth is this is exactly what it is, so I’m not sure the reason for the very lurid and detailed descriptions of the sexual degradation that the women are forced to endure. The inclusion was all together gratuitous and sent a very mixed message about the treatment of women, but moreover, it a lazy portrayal of male misogyny. I found it unconvincing that either the women would allow themselves to be put in this position or that all the other males would so readily go along with this breeding program.
The story is told in two parts. The primary plot involves Jas’s arrival back and Taylor’s group’s attempts to discover the reality behind Handley’s group, while at the same time being unable to discover why the planet’s atmosphere is gradually killing everything living. The B plot happens back on Emin where the introduction of the Earth women has made changes in their society leading to an attempt to circumvent the Emperor's authority.
Stone continue to write well and, like I said, she is good at both world building and producing believable characters. The use of magic has its own internal logic and does not feel out of place of a post-apocalyptic scenario. She keeps the pace up creating a book that’s hard to put down.