Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5/5)

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Available On: Amazon (I’ve linked to the reprint omnibus of the series here, my copies are the original Point Horrors, which you can still get second hand if you want that nostalgic feel!)

Oh, nostalgia! I have such fond memories of diving into the Forbidden Game series as a teen. The Chase by LJ Smith, in particular, was one of those books I just couldn’t put down. I mean, seriously, who didn’t reread it multiple times? 📖✨

For those of you who’ve been following my reviews, you’d know that The Hunter was the first book in this addictive trilogy. (And if you haven’t already, you can check out my thoughts on that book right here!). The romance that L.J. Smith weaves in this series was my first taste of paranormal romance, and I’ve been utterly infatuated with the genre ever since.

Coming back to The Chase – there’s just something electrifying about the tumultuous relationship between Jenny and Julian. It’s a dangerous dance of desire and dread. On one hand, we have Jenny, who’s struggling to keep things normal after all the chaos from the previous game. Her relationships with her friends, especially Tom, are strained. And on the other, there’s Julian, the tantalizing Shadow Man who’s been obsessed with Jenny since she was a child. His unwavering love for her, mixed with his dark and treacherous intentions, creates such a thrilling dynamic. It’s a dangerous tug-of-war of emotions, and it pulls at your heartstrings.

The Original Bad Boy, And I’m Still Obsessed

Julian’s character is particularly intriguing. He’s not just your typical bad boy – he’s a creature from a different realm with an undying love, which makes him both terrifying and alluring. The way he plays his games, always keeping Jenny and her friends on their toes, makes for a riveting read. You’re never quite sure where his true intentions lie, and this unpredictable nature adds so much depth to the story.

For me, he’s the original bad boy. If you want to know why I’m so obsessed with the enemies to lovers trope and dark, brooding bad boys, look no further. Julian is it. 

Rereading The Chase as an adult gave me a fresh perspective. I was able to pick up on the subtleties of the relationships, the fears and insecurities of the characters, and the deeper meanings behind their actions. It’s a stark reminder that our past experiences, no matter how supernatural or grounded in reality, shape our present in ways we often don’t anticipate.

Almost Perfect

Given the captivating romance and the thrilling dynamic between Jenny and Julian, combined with the rich depth of character exploration and the intense narrative of the story, I’d rate The Chase a solid four and a half stars.

It’s near-perfect for lovers of paranormal romance with a hint of suspense. The only reason it’s not a full 5 is that, like any story, there are always tiny aspects that might not resonate with every reader. But it’s unquestionably a standout in its genre!

If you’re into paranormal romance filled with suspense, high stakes, and heart-fluttering moments, this book is a must-read. And if you’ve already been on this journey during your teenage years, I’d highly recommend a reread as an adult. It’s a whole different experience!

How Spicy Is The Chase?

Spice Rating: 🌶️🌶️

Like much of LJ Smith’s work, The Chase primarily targets a young adult audience. The romantic tension is palpable, particularly between Jenny and Julian, but it’s not graphic or overtly explicit in its portrayal of physical romance. The spice in this book mainly revolves around emotional intensity, suspense, and the psychological game of cat and mouse between the characters.

It’s certainly on the milder side in terms of spiciness. The allure lies in the emotional connections, the dangerous undertones of Julian’s obsession, and the powerful, often conflicting feelings Jenny experiences. The Chase clocks in at around a 2. There’s plenty of heat, but it comes more from the paranormal tension and emotional drama than from steamy romance scenes.

What Romance Tropes Are In The Book?

Trope Count: 💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚

In The Chase, L.J. Smith delves into several romance tropes that are popular in the young adult and paranormal romance genres. Here are some of the notable ones:

Enemies to Lovers: The dynamic between Jenny and Julian is complex. Julian’s intentions towards Jenny aren’t entirely pure, but there’s an undeniable attraction and connection between the two. Their love-hate relationship is central to the plot.

Forbidden Love: Given Julian’s status as the Shadow Man and the danger he represents, his infatuation and love for Jenny is taboo. This makes their relationship all the more tantalizing.

The Obsessive Lover: Julian’s fixation on Jenny borders on obsession. He’s been infatuated with her since childhood, and his determination to have her by his side drives much of the story’s conflict.

Protective Lover: While Julian’s methods are far from conventional, he often exhibits a desire to protect Jenny, even as he endangers her with his games.

Love Triangle: Though not as pronounced as in some other novels, there’s an underlying tension between Jenny, her boyfriend Tom, and Julian. Tom’s increasing aloofness in “The Chase” further complicates Jenny’s feelings.

Sacrificial Love: Jenny’s willingness to go to great lengths, even making sacrificial promises, to protect her loved ones speaks to this trope. Her choices and sacrifices, especially regarding Julian, are central to the series’ narrative.

Past Lives/Reincarnation: While not explored deeply in “The Chase,” the series hints at a deeper connection between Jenny and Julian, suggesting a bond that may span lifetimes or otherworldly experiences.

Supernatural Lover: Julian is from a different realm, a supernatural being with otherworldly powers, making his relationship with Jenny, a human, all the more fraught with challenges and allure.

These tropes, combined with L.J. Smith’s compelling storytelling makes The Chase a memorable instalment in the realm of paranormal romance.

What Genre Is The Chase?

Like most of her books, L.J. Smith’s The Chase belongs to the Young Adult Paranormal Romance genre. The novel incorporates elements of supernatural occurrences, romantic tension, and coming-of-age challenges that are characteristic of the young adult genre. The presence of the Shadow Man, Julian, and his dangerous, otherworldly games adds to the paranormal aspect of the story, while the tumultuous relationship between Jenny and Julian provides the romance component.