Saturday, April 27, 2013

Bastard Reaction: Fair Game by Patricia Briggs


Patricia Briggs was one of the first authors I read in the urban fantasy sub-genre, her Mercy Thompson series still remains among my favorites within it. Alpha and Omega is the companion series set in the same universe as Mercy Thompson, even sharing some of the same characters. The Alpha and Omega series is different, so it's not for every urban fantasy fan, but it adds good value to the universe. It's been my understanding that Alpha and Omega has a bigger focus on romance than Mercy Thompson, so while I hesitated to give this series a try, I ended up reading it anyways and I'm glad I did.

Fair Game is the third novel in the series that feature Anna Latham, a rare Omega werewolf, and her husband Charles Cornick a native-american werewolf, shaman, enforcer, assassin, and executioner. Their marriage has hit a rough patch, Charles has become withdrawn because he's haunted by the ghosts of all the werewolves he's had to kill. He can't make peace with it, some of the kills are weighing heavily on him. Since the werewolves came out publicly, the tolerance for misbehavior is at an all-time low, which has meant non-stop work for Charles. The latest he had to kill a few werewolves because they lost a bit of control as they killed a pedophile, and Charles is having trouble justifying the need to kill those werewolves under these circumstances. The Marrock, who is also Charles' dad, is worried about his son's stability and assigns him and Anna a case in Boston were he'll be assisting several government agencies in hunting down a serial killer who's targeting supernatural beings, and the latest victim is a werewolf, in the hope that doing this good deed might help Charles cope and get his mental health righted.

Against all odds, I've quite enjoyed Alpha and Omega and I have to say that Fair Game is the best novel Patricia Briggs has written in a while. It had good character interaction, and it really pleased me that we had a very strong focus with the government agencies, which included the FBI and Homeland among others. I don't know how much of a role they'll have in future novels, but we got introduced to some good characters which I hope will become series regulars in the future.

There was one particular scene though that was ridiculous and terrible and took me out of the novel completely, until I managed to regroup later on and continue. And it will be to no surprise that it was a sex scene. One of the worst I've read. Keep in mind that I came into this novel with the full understanding that there'll be a romantic focus, and I had read the previous two novels too, so I wasn't going to come here and complain about the amount of romance this novel had. By the way, there romance in this novel was very well balanced, and quite welcomed, so I have no problem with that. In fact, I'd say it has less love drama than many of my latest urban fantasy reads.

Getting back to the sex scene, picture this. The serial killer has abducted a fey's daughter, and they have to find her and save her before she's killed. Oh, and considering the evidence from past victims, she's most probably currently being tortured in the worst of ways and raped repeatedly. After all the searching, they find the location and when they get to the vicinity of her location, for one reason or another the author concocted a scenario in which Anna and Charles just had to fuck right then and there. Not in a dark corner or in a car while alone, no they decided to fuck out in the open with the rest of the search party around. What the heck? It made no sense from a good storytelling perspective or from a romance perspective or from an erotic perspective, in all irrespective to any elements you like in your stories. This kind of scene is only welcomed in a porn movie, but was just a terrible decision and had no place in the story. Just didn't make any kind of sense, and I would think that even romance readers will agree with me. The sad thing of it was that everything else in the novel was going very well.

If I recall correctly, there was just this one sex scene, poorly executed as it was. Aside from it becoming a bit predictable in regards as to the identity of the mystery, the rest of the novel was pretty good and thoroughly enjoyed it. We had some good action, and Charles kicked major ass. Seriously, he was awesome. I lament though that Anna wasn't given much to do in this novel, particularly from an action perspective. I hope that she'll be more active in future novels. Not that she wasn't taking part of the action, but most of the action scenes we experienced via Charles' POV, so we didn't get to see much of Anna, so maybe it would be as simple as having Anna take some of that burden, even when they're sharing the same scene.

The supporting cast was a good one overall, particular the werewolves from the Boston pack, the FBI agents, a powerful witch, and an apparent fey noble. The thing I liked the most was the ending. There was a trial though that the outcome didn't feel right with me, but what ensued was worth it. One of the best endings I've encountered, and very excited to see where the story goes next as we see the repercussions of what occurred.

Fair Game is simply good read, I might even say great if it wasn't for the sex scene. As mentioned, one of the best urban fantasy stories Patricia Briggs has written, and a very welcomed addition to the Alpha and Omega series and to the Mercy Thompson universe. I'm sure fans of the series will love this one.

Buy Fair Game from The Book Depository

For more information, please visit Patricia Briggs website.

15 comments:

  1. I have only read MOON CALLED and it was two stars for me. Should I give her next one (BLOOD BOUND?) a chance to win me over?

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    1. No. I think Moon Called is well representative of what to expect in the series.

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  2. Excellent recap and review of the book. I also enjoyed the government involvement and seeing the real world consequences of the werewolves coming out. I hope that continues in future books in both series.

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    1. Thanks Bea, and agred on the rest. Looking forward to where we go next, actually at the moment even more than Mercy Thompson, but we'll see.

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  3. I had to tee hee a bit when I read your thoughts on the sex scene as I was thinking the same thing myself when I read it. Considering that Anna was repeatedly raped before she was rescued by Charles I didn't think it was believable that she would doing the nasty in front of everyone else.

    Great review

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    1. Right? It just made no sense at all, and as you say, considering Anna's history, even less so. But oh well.

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    2. It was because of Anna's history that this scene was so pivotal. It showed how her relationship with Charles has developed. This is the woman we first met who had been brutalized by her pack. Trusting was not easy for her. And, in this book, she battled first with Charles pushing her away . It is at the moment that she seems to be losing that she does something surprising, given her history, but it turns out to be exactly what the moment needed. It does solve everything because Charles has so badly hurt their mating bond (ironically because he was trying to protect her), but that moment does help shore up her courage for some new battles still to come.

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    3. I meant to say in my comment above that the act you refer to does NOT solve everything but IS extremely important to helping Anna know she has the strength to face challenges she could never have expected at the time.

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  4. I've not read any of her books yet. I do have the first of her other popular series here. Do need to give her a try, and thanks for the warning. lol.

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    1. Oh, you'll love Mercy Thompson. I read Mercy and series in chronological order.

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    2. Oh Mel, you MUST read. But do read in order.

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  5. HAHA you couldn't handle the sex scene huh? Too hilarious. You know I have to admit I like this side series as much as the main one. The latest Mercy book while I like it - just wasn't as thrilling for me you know? Have you read it yet?

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    1. LOL, well I don't call out every sex scene :P But this one was horrible, and everyone I've talked to seems to agree.

      And yes, I've read the latest Mercy. I thought it was better than River Marked, and I really loved the 1st half. The 2nd half though was a let down, don't know if that was your experience. I hope to review it at some point.

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    2. Agreed it was really bad.

      That aside, I like the Alpha and Omega series better than the Mercy one. Not that there is anything wrong with the Mercy one, but this one is more captivating to me.

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    3. I still like Mercy more, but Briggs have left me wanting in the last couple installments. But she's delivered well so far with Alpha and Omega, so that's where I'm at right now.

      Also, in the latest installments, Briggs has done a better job with the Alpha and Omega supporting cast in my opinion.

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