Region Two, Book #3
Heat Factor: Two fairly detailed encounters towards the end
Character Chemistry: They really like each other, but it takes them a while to figure out how to communicate
Plot: Black ops anti-monster soldier rescues line cook from evil vampire, moves him into her home, and discovers that he’s the family she’s been searching for all along
Overall: There are some nice moments, but this book needed a better editor
Here’s the deal. I enjoyed the first book of this series but the second book was extremely frustrating. But I decided to give Book 3 a try because it featured a new team member, so I knew at least it wasn’t going to be Bruce and Vee still all up in their feelings.
Unfortunately, Agent of Chaos was far too long and had some serious pacing issues. While the ultimate love story was nice enough, the balance of introspection and action did not work—far too much introspection (pages and pages and pages, this book clocks in at over 600 pages long), and then some action right at the end, after the evil bad guy who had disappeared for 500 ages gives his evil speech explaining his master plan and moving the larger mystery forward.
I’m disappointed that I didn’t like this book, honestly. Walden-West has built a pretty interesting world of black-ops monster fighters with a lot more moral gray areas than one might initially think. Liv and Marshall, the romantic leads in this book, have a nice dynamic and engaging backstories.
Marshall has severe dyslexia and gets panic attacks; these impact his day-to-day life to the extent that he has never been able to hold down a job long-term and has an extremely low sense of self-worth. His journey to finding a home with Liv and her team was really lovely. It takes Liv a while to understand what’s going on with Marshall because she has very little experience interacting with people who are not part of monster-hunting black ops, and of course Marshall takes her carefulness in getting close as lack of interest in him (as both a person and a romantic partner). There is some real meat for tension between them, and Walden-West plays with this tension in really effective ways…but later instances were less effective, because I’d already seen that dynamic. I don’t need ten examples of the same kind of interaction, when three will make the same point.
I can’t speak to how accurate Marshall’s portrayal is, but to my admittedly non-expert eye, Walden-West treats Marshall and his panic attacks with care.
Look, Walden-West is doing some interesting work in this book. But since my problems with this book are very similar to my problems with the previous book in the series (pacing, length, balance of emotion and action), that seems to be a sign that it’s time to give up on Region Two.
I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.
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