Monday, April 12, 2010

Review: Fantasy in Death by J.D. Robb

How was everyone's week-end? Mine was definitively too short as I had to work again on Saturday. Ugh. I can't wait for this month to be over, seriously... Well not exactly. I just need the next 2 weeks to go by super fast and then, the last week of April to go by very slowly :) Anyway, I guess I should be happy that I'm healthy. The people in my lab are all coming down with something :(

Okay, enough about work :P I haven't been reading much :( I've read 5 books since the beginning of the month and 4 of them were duds :( So I've been re-reading some favorites such as Demon Angel and Count to Ten. Not really proper re-reads, more like my favorite parts :) I also broke down and bought The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong to cheer me up :D

I also updated all my lists (books read, books bought, books reviewed, etc.) and it seems I've been doing well so far reviewing books :) Well, up till my boss overworked me ^_^; I've reviewed most of the books I planned to review for January and February... the only exception is Fantasy in Death by J.D. Robb... so I thought I'd take care of that today :P

Fantasy in Death by J.D. Robb
published by Putnam in February 2010
They were best friends, driven by one shared vision - to rule the world of virtual reality games. Cill, hard-edged and beautiful, Var and Benny, brains and business acumen, and Bart, the genius behind the idea. Their newest invention, developed to transport the player into a fantastical virtual world, is just about to be launched. Then, suddenly, Bart is found brutally killed, defeated by their own game. Their close-knit group is torn apart. Who could have engineered a virtual death with such devastating consequences? Even Eve Dallas, New York City's most cunning investigator, is hard-pressed for an answer. But as she digs deeper, peeling back layers of secrets, revenge and misplaced allegiances, she realises with growing dread the depth of the killer's master plan. And she knows his game is far from over...

Genre: Romantic suspense, mystery, futuristic
Series: In Death series, Book #37 (counting novellas)

The Story: Story is pretty much as described in the back blurb. The newest case that Eve catches involves the decapitated body of Bart Minnock, the founder of U-Play, a game company. Eve has to figure out who and how Bart was killed in a closed room... and her suspects are Bart's three closest friends and business partners. To help her, she enlists the help of EDD and Roarke. At the same time, Nadine is launching her book.

My Opinion: Fantasy in Death was another installment in the In Death series that was case-focused. I know a lot of people prefer the relationship-focused ones, but me, I don't really mind either way. Actually, I would probably get tired and annoyed if Eve and Roarke had troubles in every book given the timeline of the books (very little time goes by between each book). Problem was, the plot of Fantasy in Death wasn't great.

See, throughout the book, Eve tries to figure out how Bart died. The answer is quite obvious to readers, even though I have to admit, I have difficulty reconciling the idea and reality. I know the In Death books take place in the future where technology is more evolved, but still... it's just something I cannot imagine ^_^; I think this is two reasons I didn't enjoy Fantasy in Death as much. If only the readers weren't "shown" Bart in the prologue, it would have been more suspenseful and would have grabbed me more.

Also, there were two instances in the storyline where I found that Roarke acted out of character. I understand the need for a little conflict to spice things up between Eve and Roarke... but really? Roarke would get annoyed/angry for such a little thing? The man that has been so patient with Eve throughout 30-something books? I don't think so. It was an obvious ploy to satisfy fans that want to see something between Roarke and Eve and I don't think it worked.

Overall, Fantasy in Death just didn't grab me. Not even the bits with Nadine launching her book. Yes, it's fun to see other characters, their evolution, but it's becoming too blatant :(

My Grade: C. Okay, I realize this review is a bit short, but I've listed everything that didn't work for me. As for what works, well after 30-something books, you must know :D The writing is great as always, the interactions and dialogues between the characters, the investigative work, etc. :) Except for the plot, all the elements that make this such a great series is there, which makes me wonder if the books aren't becoming a bit predictable. Perhaps I simply need a little break from the series?

However, I notice this before with the In Death series. Back when Divided and Visions were released, I almost stopped the series. Then, Ms Roberts came back very strong. It's true that with such a long series, it's hard for it not to have some lull. What do you think?


  1. I started this book and just couldn't get through it... I've just had no interest in finishing it up. I usually read the In Death in a day, but with this book it's been difficult getting interested. I'm hoping it's just a phase for me and the next one is outstanding, but so far :( Glad to see I'm not the only one feeling meh about it.

  2. I'm with you about the plot. I couldn't reconcile the evolution of the game technology. I think I gave it a higher rating because I still enjoyed the book overall, and Eve didn't conceptualize the death theory until near the end.

  3. Mariana - Sigh, I think we're just too used to the high standard of the In Death books. Seriously, this series would be at the top for its consistency. Hopefully, Ms Roberts will come back strong.

    Tabitha - Exactly. I'm not a big gamer to begin with... but for it to reach such a level? I'm not sure :(

  4. Well, I liked it more than you. :)

    I didn't have a problem believing the technology. I accept the auto-serve tech so... where does all that food come from anyway? LOL

  5. Leslie - Yep, looks like it :D

    Actually, if you think about it, it's not surprising for gaming technology to reach that heights... my problem is imagining it ^_^;