emptation, continues the story of Chris Buckley and his quest to find answers in the unusual town of Solitary.  True to the book’s name, Chris is faced with a multitude of temptations, not the least of which is the drop-dead gorgeous new girl Lily.  Oddly enough, with his new ‘love’ he begins to experience something he has yet to find in Solitary—peace.  But is this peace permanent or only a temporary reprieve and more importantly, what will it ultimately cost him?  As Chris begins his senior year, he finally starts to find some answers, but with those answers come more mysteries, not to mention more drama.  The third book of the Solitary Tales series is dark and haunting, with sides beginning to emerge, and caution thrown aside.  But perhaps most disturbing of all, apathy becomes the prevalent emotion in Chris’ life.

It’s taken three books, but this series has finally won me over.  I truly realize I am not the target audience for The Solitary Tales.  It has a lot of qualities found in adult fiction, but the overwhelming amount of drama has caused me to enjoy the series but not love the series.  However, Temptation finally makes the turn that I’ve needed it to take in order for my impatience to kick in to high gear.  In this book, the story becomes less drama and more suspense.  The characters begin to grow-up a bit and drop the ‘chip on the shoulder’ attitude.  Best of all, rich spiritual themes emerge to pull the entire story together.

This series is quite impressive in its complexity.  The story line itself seems simple enough, but Thrasher has done an excellent job of adding side stories to supplement the main plot.  However, I did feel a bit misled by the opening.  I read almost the entire book believing a particular event was going to happen, only to find out I had misinterpreted the prologue.  I’m glad I was wrong, but it slightly effect how I related to one character.

I’m amazed at the number of characters that have been worked in and how each one plays a part in the overall story.  The introduction of Lily makes for some interesting scenes with Chris.  Kelsey’s character (plus her family) has become one of my favorites and I’m certainly looking forward to seeing how her story fits into the next book.  Even the minor characters of Brick and Harris are quite intriguing and serve as a nice contrast to the darker personas of Pastor Marsh, Gus, and Staunch.  Also, I’m thrilled that another responsible adult showed up and did what should be done.

It is great to finally get some answers as to why Chris is so special.  I think I was probably as tired as Chris was of hearing he was special, but having no idea why.  Thrasher answers this question, but also leaves plenty of mystery as to the specifics of his unique gift.  It’ll be quite interesting to see exactly where this part of the story goes and to see the big plans of the antagonists in this book.

As I mentioned earlier, the best part of this book is the spiritual elements.  By bringing Chris’ dad into the story, it opens the door for the spiritual themes to thrive.  While Mr. Buckley’s part is minor, a lot is accomplished through his presence and sets the stage for Chris to show some maturity.

While I liked the first two books in this series, this third book is excellent.  The storylines start to come together, the drama eases, and the addition of responsible adults makes this book much more enjoyable than the previous ones in the series.  Thrasher still has a lot of ground to cover in Hurt, the final book in this series.  I’m looking forward to seeing what he has in store for us.