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Jason Willow reminds me of a lot of things I love-certain types of books, certain types of movies, and even certain types of video games. We start out with Jason and Miranda Willow, teen brother and sister, who seem by all appearances to be normal teenagers. Normal, that is, if you don't count the fact that they have been on the run with their parents their entire lives, and that their mother goes down in a hail of gunfire in the opening scene.
That loss forces their father, Richard Willow, to make a decision. Obviously, his protection alone is no longer enough to keep his family safe, and he begins the transition of coming more into the open and trying to find out who can be trusted. They go to the castle home of his austere father, from whom he is estranged for reasons yet to be revealed. While there, Miranda and Jason wander off alone and find themselves under attack by an unknown man. Jason and Miranda have been trained all their lives in the martial art of Jakra, and quite passably hold their own until Grandfather, Father, and the Crazy Old Caretaker arrive to take out the intruder. Jason and Miranda can't help but notice that not only do they take him out, they take him out with supernatural style!
Up to this point, Richard has always refused to tell his children why they were running, but this incident eventually forces him, under duress, to begin revealing just what is going on. A large part of the story is dedicated to Richard's continuing efforts to keep the truth from his children, particularly Jason. Even when it's readily apparent that Jason literally must know the truth, Richard still resists telling him all of it. In the meantime, Richard has taken his children away from the family castle, to what he hopes is a place of safety.
Alan Brash has been helping Richard find safe places to stay for twenty years. Now Richard decides to depend on Brash for more and goes to Brash's compound to stay. Brash reveals to Jason that his father was a member of a demon hunting organization called The Watch. There is another ancient group called The Brethren who enjoy calling up demons and using them to possess powerful people all over the world. The Watch is made up of people called The Gifted. The Gift is passed from gifted father to son, from gifted mother to daughter, and so on. When the Gift has passed to the eighteenth generation, that person is known as a triple six and will be more powerful than any other gifted on earth. We do find out that we really don't trust Brash, but Richard had nowhere else to turn.
Turns out that Alan Brash and the Brethren as well have a lot of reasons for wanting Jason, and it isn't so that they can protect him. Before I accidentally reveal everything, I will just say that Jason is in for an interesting stay at Alan Brash's place.
I said before that I love certain types of books and movies, but I also want them to have something that sets them apart from the others. That thing for me here was Jason himself. Apart from having awesome super powers, Jason is a completely normal teenaged boy, subject to pride, insecurities, hormones and sometimes just flat out stupidity. He gets flabbergasted around girls and a pretty one will lead him around by the nose with no effort. There are too many YA stories out there now where the hero (or heroine) is just too good to be true. They're smart, mature, wise, always do the right thing and are good looking enough to grace the wall of any 12 year-old's room. I do have the impression that Jason is a good looking kid, but he's annoyingly cocky, impulsive and does the wrong things-frequently. But he is also well drawn and sweet, he's good-hearted, and we pull for him with all we have. I might have been his own dearly departed mother as I shouted at him in my mind to stop being such an idiot. The important thing is, that Jason finds himself by the end and proves himself to be brave, loyal and true (and now the Blue Fairy will appear and make him a Real Boy).
My favorite part of the book was the rip roaring, rollicking ending. Action? Man, yes! As I rapidly devoured this last section, I was forcibly reminded of Indiana Jones and The Raiders of the Lost Ark, where scores of wonderfully disposable Nazis just keep pouring out of nowhere to be mowed down by whatever Indie and company can throw at them. Jason and our other heroes come out badly scathed, and some of them do not come out at all-but mainly, they live to fight another day...and now, on to the sequel!
Jane McBride~Kindle Book Review