Monday, March 19, 2012

Review: Fair Game by Patricia Briggs

Here's my review of Fair Game! Yay!! I really wanted to have this up at the beginning of the week and am so happy I managed it LOL. Also, it came a lot easier than I expected :) Seems like I'm really getting back my blogging groove! Double yay! Now, I need to get back to my TBR book... Otherwise, I won't make it on time ^_^;


Fair Game by Patricia Briggs
published by Berkley (Ace) in March 2012

They say opposites attract. And in the case of werewolves Anna Latham and Charles Cornick, they mate. The son-and enforcer-of the leader of the North American werewolves, Charles is a dominant alpha. While Anna, an omega, has the rare ability to calm others of her kind.

Now that the werewolves have revealed themselves to humans, they can't afford any bad publicity. Infractions that could have been overlooked in the past must now be punished, and the strain of doing his father's dirty work is taking a toll on Charles.

Nevertheless, Charles and Anna are sent to Boston, when the FBI requests the pack's help on a local serial killer case. They quickly realize that not only the last two victims were werewolves-all of them were. Someone is targeting their kind. And now Anna and Charles have put themselves right in the killer's sights...
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Alpha & Omega, Book #3

The Story: Ever since the werewolves have revealed themselves to the public, they have been under close scrutiny. They each have to behave carefully and be accountable for their action. The last thing they can afford is cause fear and being seen as animals. As such, the Marrok had no choice but to become more strict and less lenient. Unhappy with the new harshness of the laws, the Alphas have not dispensed the punishment, i.e. death, as they should. To enforce the laws, the Marrok therefore has to send in Charles. However, to kill for offenses that would have previously been pardoned... and so many werewolves that he knew is taking a toll on Charles. It is actually simply destroying him.

After Anna has brought this to Bran's attention, the Marrok realizes some changes are needed. In addition, it's time for Charles to play the hero instead of the bad guy... So he sends Anna and Charles to Boston which has become a serial killer's latest playground. As the last three victims were werewolves, the FBI would like a werewolf to consult with. As Anna and Charles offer their expertise, they realize that many of the serial killer's previous victims were fae. They hope that the FBI will accept their help in the investigation... especially since the next victim, a young half-human, half-fae woman, has already been taken and her life is in danger.

My Opinion: Finally, the new Alpha & Omega book!! I love the world Ms Briggs has created, but if I have to choose between the two series, it's Anna and Charles hands down for me :) And so I've really been looking forward to Fair Game. Do you realize that Hunting Ground was released in August 2009? That's 2.5 years ago! However, I can't help but wonder if this long wait has hyped up my expectations? Most probably ^_^;

Overall, I did enjoy Fair Game. It's Ms Briggs after all :) This means solid writing as well as an interesting plot. And indeed, I thought the whole serial killer case was very interesting. I liked the inter-agency investigation and turf war. I thought the FBI agents were good and solid characters and I really liked how they weren't afraid of Charles and Anna. Wary, yes, but there was no outright hatred or prejudice. What they wanted was to solve the case and they would accept Charles and Anna's help if it meant they would. I liked their interactions with Charles and Anna, trying to glean new information. These books have mostly been from werewolves POVs and involved supernatural beings. I kind of forgot that the werewolves just recently came out and how limited the humans' knowledge was. So this was a nice reminder.

I also very much liked the involvement of Alistair Beauclaire, a fae. He kind of made the book for me. In this type of world and story, it's always interesting to have such "old" characters. They have this kind of wisdom, knowledge and charisma that definitively enhanced the storylines in my opinion. They make the books more interesting by their life experience... We've seen Bran and Asil in previous books, both werewolves, and now, Beauclaire - from the get go, you know he's a powerful fae, but you don't know who. It's also all in the way they talk, always like half-thruths. Anyway, I thought Beauclaire really added to the story and the action and I was glad he was there :)
"It is not wise to give something old and powerful something they care about. And I am very old. Even possibly, older than your father."
Seriously, how can't you not be intrigued by this character? LOL. Also, those were the words of this book. They were very important and do not only apply to Beauclaire. Some foreshadowing perhaps? :P

One more thing I enjoyed was Anna and Charles' relationship. I was kind of disappointed that it wasn't as sweet as in previous books. Mainly because Charles has built some walls around him in order to shield Anna. However, the conflict in the relationship really worked and blend well with the storyline. Plus, I liked seeing how their relationship has evolved. I loved seeing Anna so much more confident, sure of herself. She's no longer hesitant towards Charles, their relationship or her position in the Pack. She understands Charles better than nobody and when he needed her, she acted. Even if it meant facing Bran. And when Bran didn't listen to her, she seek advice from Asil. She's really grown and it was a pleasure to see. I think it's now Charles' turn to let go and believe in Anna. She's strong and doesn't need him to shield her. So it'll be interesting to see how their relationship evolve in the next book.

While there was a lot to like about Fair Game, there were also some flaws. The biggest one for me was the mystery was not very suspenseful. I did like the case, the set-up, but I thought the investigation was a bit too linear. It was one foot in front of the other and they got to the end pretty quickly with very little surprise :( In addition, I thought the pacing or tone was a bit flat and that meant a lack of excitement. Like I wasn't sitting at the edge of my seat which is something I usually do with Ms Briggs books. Perhaps if the book had been a tad longer? I noticed that the Alpha & Omega books tends to be on the thin side. I mean, the firs three books of the Mercy Thompson series weren't thick by any means, but once the series switched to hardcover, it seemed they were normal thickness. Whereas Fair Game is not even 300 pages. Sure, the last thing readers want is for a book to be draggy... but you need a bit of balance. And the last thing is I wished there'd been a mention of how much time has gone by since Hunting Grounds. I know Fair Game takes place really soon after River Marked, since there's a mention of Mercy recovering from her injuries... but that doesn't tell me how long it's been since Hunting Grounds. One year? Two years? Because between Hunting Grounds and River Marked, there was Silver Borne. I'm just curious, because I think it would have told us a bit more about Anna and Charles' relationship.

And before I conclude my review, I want to mention the ending of Fair Game. I'm not going to say much, except that it was good. I really liked it, Beauclaire was awesome LOL. It also opens many, many doors for the series.

My Grade: B. There was lots to love and enjoy about Fair Game and I did. But ultimately, it came down to the feelings. The lack of suspense and excitement kind of took steam out of the book, so the impact just wasn't there. Basically, Fair Game was a solid book, but lacked the wow factor.