In the aftermath of Sophia's death, Jack leaves town, and no-one, not Isis or even his own mother, knows where he has gone. In his absence Isis tries to start a new life at college, make new friends and reinvent herself, but she finds to her horror that Nameless is there too. As the fourth anniversary of Nameless' attack on her approaches Isis knows she must face up to her past if she wants to have a future. Jack, meanwhile is learning to control his rage and pain and put it to a productive, even lucrative use.
In first two books of the Lovely Vicious series you got to know Isis, and saw how damaged she was by what Nameless did to her. You also met Jack, a ridiculously handsome boy with plenty of demons of his own. I was starting to worry that Nameless would never get his comeuppance and Jack and Isis would never stop dancing around each other and finally admit their feelings, and that would have been sad because I would have had to throw my Kindle across the room and it might have broken. But as it turns out, in the third instalment, Brutal Precious, Sara Wolf finally gives her fans the closure they need. My Kindle is saved! Huzzah! Prepare to finally know the whole truth of what happened that night in the woods, and for Isis to confront Nameless one on one and try to make him pay.
Isis' journey to accepting and moving past her rape may be confronting to some readers but it is sensitively handled rather than sensationalist, which might make it a comfort to someone in a similar situation. It could also be useful to anyone trying to help a loved one who has survived sexual assault or domestic violence. The days when these things just weren't talked about are behind us, now if only the need to talk about them was too.There is also finally some discussion of Jack's work as an escort, and how that may have affected him in ways he never realised. As Isis put it, "reluctance is not consent."
My one criticism of the book is that I find Jack's new spying job a bit far fetched (yes, even compared with the soap opera that is his back story). But in the context of an otherwise great book I was willing to forgive a bit of silliness in the plot.
Brutal Precious is a satisfying ending to a great young adult series, full of romantic angst, pithy one liners and serious discussion of some heavy themes. It's a little bit Veronica Mars, a little bit Strangers in Paradise and well worth a read. I will check out some of Sara Wolf's other books, of which, fortunately, there seem to be a few.