Book Review: Torment and Tarnish (2021)

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Torment and Tarnish (Adventures of a Villain-Leaning Humanoid #2) by Jamie Jackson

Sand, the sea and an olive grove. The feel of grass prickling my feet. Bark, rough under my fingers and the palms of my hands […] A message on the wind.

I read Fear and Fury a while back, but my TBR is long long long, so it’s taken me a little while to get to book two but even still I sank very quickly back into Meg and Greg’s world with this book. The case was interesting and everything moves along at a fast past and I read the whole book in a day, which is quite rare for me these days (attention span of a spork, I tell ya), so hats off to Jackson! Not a single dull moment. The action is great and the Rat King, rat hordes and zombie rats made for a surprising complication for our supers. The amount of blood and gore – oh my goodness! \o/

The book begins with Meg still reeling from everything that happened to her in the last book and she’s still dealing with it emotionally and physically. (Poor lady’s knee pops throughout the whole book!) Greg, too, is struggling with everything. He’s become a bit overprotective as a result, but not annoyingly so by any means. I could always see where he was coming from and honestly his concern made sense and was highly justified given how often Meg ran/runs/will run into danger without a single thought to the consequences.

Virgil remains everyone’s big brother/mentor/trainer/dad and bless him, he’s doing his best wrangling these crazy supers. He’s a great character and I love his presence in the books. Ranger, on the other hand, drove me up a wall in nearly every scene. There’s being in love with someone and then there’s not taking no for an answer and he was not only getting up in Meg’s space all the time, but just so disrespectful and undercutting of her relationship with Greg. And out of nowhere? Like, sorry, bro. She’s not going to dump her boyfriend and bone you just because you smirk a lot and tell her that she’s clearly flirting with you. I’m glad Virgil finally put his foot down because it was clear Greg was trying to respect Meg’s agency of handling it, but she just wasn’t and Virgil stepping in to say that none of it was okay was so necessary. THANK YOU MY DUDE VIRGIL. Actually, you know what? I take that back. Meg did say, a thousand times over and with maximum Meg-sass, that she wasn’t interested in Ranger and he just. wouldn’t. take. no. for. an. answer. I was waiting for Meg to let her shadows loose on him but she never did and Ranger’s persistence wasn’t cute or endearing, it was so fucking ruuuuuuuuuuuuude. Team Greg, but also Team Respect No. Like, seriously buddy. BACK. OFF. I’ve been assured by other readers that Ranger will grow on me in the next book, but as it stands, I’m just hoping Greg gets to speak his mind at some point because Ranger was just really disrespectful and boundary-stomping and rather ARRRRRGH to me. He’s a well written complication, don’t get me wrong, but he just wasn’t likeable to me and I was waiting for Meg or Greg to get on his case about it. I can see why Meg holds back, because she doesn’t want to hurt anyone, but in that sense it made me more frustrated with Ranger, because making someone who is afraid of their own powers feel like they can’t fight back because they don’t want to hurt anyone – even in their own defence – is 10000% not cool. So, thank you, Virgil. FOUR FOR VIRGIL.

The scenes with the officers were really funny and I liked the grumpy one bonding with Meg. Solid dude. The reporter drove me barmy and I liked that the grumpy officer was running interference for Meg. If Ranger was boundary-stomping, the reporter takes the cake!! Bringing up Meg’s parents like that and getting up in her face was just FUCK YOU SUSAN UGH.

My favourite bits were definitely the Meg and Greg moments. I just adore them and think they’re so cute and sweet and I can’t wait to see what Jackson has in store for them in future books. So long as they end up together – I WILL TOLERATE NO LESS 😉

The dream sequences were very intriguing and I’m curious to see where they lead in the next books. Lots of unnamed faces will spooky vibes.

Overall, I really loved this book and can’t wait for the next one!

Thoughts as I read [SPOILERS]:

– Ranger is so freaking smirky and arrogant and just determined to sleep with Meg and drove me up a wall, lmao.
– Greg is the cutest boyfriend to Meg and I adored how protective he was of her. Bless his sweet heart. I’m impressed by how much restraint he showed around Ranger, who was literally trying to sleep with Meg in every scene. Dude really would not take no for an answer. Rat bastard. (Heh, pun intended.)
– I’m really curious about Meg’s sand, sea and olive grove dreams.
– Virgil is hilarious and I don’t envy him trying to be everyone’s babysitter. What a trooper.
– The reporter was so pushy and rude and insensitive. I felt awful for Meg during her interrogations and being so nosy about Meg’s parents.

My review of Fear and Fury is here.
My interview with author Jamie Jackson is here.

Thank you to the author for a review copy.

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