Jinx High: Like a cheesy horror movie

Jinx High by Mercedes Lackey science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsJinx High by Mercedes Lackey

Jinx High by Mercedes Lackey science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsJinx High (1991) is the third novel in Mercedes Lackey’s DIANA TREGARDE trilogy, following Burning Water and Children of the Night. This series stars Diana Tregarde, a romance novelist and witch who protects humans from supernatural harm. The novels and short stories in this series can be read in any order.

In Burning Water we watched Diana catch a serial killer inspired by an ancient Aztec god and in Children of the Night she confronted vampires that were sucking the life out of people in her city.

Now, in Jinx High, an old friend asks Diana to visit him in Tulsa so she can help mentor writing students at a local high school. While she’s there, she discovers that there’s a powerful sorceress in town. She’s masquerading as one of the students at the school and she’s already killed at least one of her classmates. Diana must find and stop her.

A Diana Tragarde Investigation (3 book series) Kindle EditionVisiting an upperclass high school where most of the students are over-privileged and under-supervised is never a fun plot for me. I don’t like those kinds of shallow characters and I hate that kind of angst, melodrama, and destructive behavior (e.g., getting drunk, taking hard drugs, reckless driving, etc.). And when one of these high school students is really a centuries-old vampire / sorceress / succubus / whatever who is acting like a drunk, rash, horny teenager, I really have trouble suspending disbelief. The plot of Jinx High is more interesting than the plot of the last book, Children of the Night, but sadly, it’s like a cheesy horror movie — completely over the top. It’s pretty sleazy, too.

Jinx High also has some pacing problems. There are long periods of teenage brooding and some of the scenes go on too long. At these points I increased the playback speed of the audiobook so I could skim through them. Traci Odom does a great job with the narration of the audiobook (Tantor Audio), but it wasn’t enough to save this story.

On the positive side, Mercedes Lackey does a good job addressing racism and AIDS in the DIANA TREGARDE trilogy.

First edition published in 1991. Audio edition published in October 2019. Fay Harper looks like any other teenage girl–any other Queen Bee, that is. She’s blond, and beautiful, and very, very popular–the kind of popular that attracts boys like honey. Fay and her gang take a lot of risks, but so far they’ve managed to get away with everything. It’s as if they are magically protected. Summoned to Tulsa by an old friend whose son has fallen in with Fay’s crowd, Diana Tregarde, practicing witch and successful romance novelist, quickly finds herself in hot water. The new girl at school, Monica Carlin, has come under sorcerous attack, but Diana cannot identify, or stop, the power-wielder. To make matters worse, there is an ancient being sleeping under Tulsa, a being who might be woken by the magic battles taking place in the city. What will happen then, even Diana cannot predict… in Mercedes Lackey’s Jinx High.

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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2 comments

  1. I remember this book as periods of boredom punctuated by moments of strong dislike, which seems to match your experience.

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