The Third Section by Jasper Kent
Just finished reading Third Section (actually the 3rd novel in the Jasper Kent series of books). If you haven’t read the first two novels (Twelve and Thirteen Years Later) then the rest of this post will undoubtedly contain spoilers and therefore please do not read on (unless of course spoilers are what you seek!)
If you’ve read Thirteen Years Later you’ll already be aware that Alexsei has been exiled to Siberia following his involvement in the Decembrist uprising. Third Section brings to us two different storylines controlled now by Alexsei’s children, Tamara (Toma) and Dmitry. Tamara now works for the Third Section and is investigating a grisly murder. As a result of her investigations she uncovers a number of similar murders that took place in 1812 and 1825 and these in turn uncover the name of Alexsei as a potential witness to murders during both time periods. Tamara is keen to find Dimitry to discuss the murders but also she is desperately searching for her real parents, of whom she remembers very little. Dmitry ‘s actions are now mimicking those of his father in that he is involved in the Crimean war. During his time at Sevastopol Dmitry is befriended by another soldier Typelov who he is soon to realise has his own motives for seeking him out.
To be totally honest I would say that this instalment was my least favourite of the three. I felt the storylines were not as absorbing, the tension not as mmm, tense, and I don’t think I found it as rewarding reading about Tamara and Dmitry as I did reading about Alexsei. That being said I would still not hesitate to recommend. Just, for me personally, it almost seems to suffer a little from ‘middle book syndrome’ (even though it isn’t the middle book) or at least it seems to be used as a vehicle for setting up the next story.
What I did particularly enjoy was the insight into the vampire mind and a little bit more of the uncovering of their true nature. Iuda (or Yudin as he is now called) is his usually wonderful despicable and base self. He is such a superb villain (if that is not a contradiction in terms). He really is quite something and I must applaud Jasper Kent for giving him life. I don’t think I can remember reading a better ‘baddie’ – if that makes sense?
I also enjoyed reading about Tamara’s escapades and uncovering her, rather sad, story. She has plenty of character and gusto and certainly makes up for the lack of those attributes in Dmitry. I don’t know why but I really couldn’t find myself liking Dmitry. He seems almost like a very poor reflection of his father. As though living in the shadow of the ‘three fingered man’ has left him wanting in a number of ways. His character certainly doesn’t improve as you reach the conclusion but no more of that (although at least at the end he does seem to be suffering some regret).
Again, the story is a rich tapestry of well researched history, myth and horror. The voordalaks certainly continue with their gory feasting and their appetites seems to know no bounds. Deaths and blood are in abundance and as the conclusion approaches a number of twists are revealed.
Although this lacks the tension that had me racing to the end in Thirteen Years Later I still enjoyed the read and will without doubt pick up No.4 with eager anticipation. I love the combination of history, horror and myth and if you want some good old fashioned vampires reminiscent of Stoker then pick up Jasper Kent.