Free Agent by J.C. Nelson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Free Agent has everything I look for in a modern fantasy: a well-imagined and unique intersection between the fairy tale world and ours, a kick ass heroine who is far from infallible, and enough twists to populate a pretzel factory.
I enjoyed seeing J.C. Nelson turn popular tropes on their head, reimagining roles for princesses and princes, magic apples, Little Red Riding Hood, that stayed true to their fantastical origins while modernizing and adding his own unique take. The world felt complete and well thought out, though I have a feeling there's still lots in Kingdom we haven't even brushed the surface of yet.
The story begins with an introduction into Marissa's life as an agent and one of her most common jobs - princess matching. The pacing is a little slower here and for a second I almost thought this would turn into a romance. Hang in though, because after the first visit to Wolf Town, the story takes a sharp veer for exciting and events reach an epic scale of dire anticipation that doesn't let up until the very end. I stayed up after a late night shift to read the last third of the book straight through because I had to know what happened next.
For me, the only weakness is an otherwise great book was the somewhat lackluster romance component. I had a hard time buying Marissa's acknowledgment of her loneliness in the beginning of the book given her denial of the other aspects of her life. She and Liam never seemed to truly click to me - (view spoiler)[perhaps because I have a hard time seeing the attraction of a man who eats spaghetti with his hands at truly disgusting restaurants. (hide spoiler)] Although I'm happy she finds some happiness with him at the end, their reconciliation jumped a little too fast from 'hatred' to 'unquestioning love'. Over all though, my feelings about this small component did not take away from my love for the rest of the book.
Nelson does a great job dropping hints about a sequel throughout and I can't wait to pick up Armageddon Rules and see what happens to Marissa next.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>
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