January 12, 2015

Review: Free Agent

Free Agent (Grimm Agency, book 1) by J.C. Nelson


Genre: Urban Fantasy
Edition Reviewed: eBook
Amazon: Paperback | Kindle
Goodreads: Free Agent (1)

When it comes to crafting happily-ever-afters, the Agency is the best in the land of Kingdom. The Fairy Godfather Grimm can solve any problem—from eliminating imps to finding prince charming—as long as you can pay the price…

Working for Grimm isn’t Marissa Locks’s dream job. But when your parents trade you to a Fairy Godfather for a miracle, you don’t have many career options. To pay off her parents’ debt and earn her freedom, Marissa must do whatever Grimm asks, no matter what fairy-tale fiasco she’s called on to deal with.

Setting up a second-rate princess with a first-class prince is just another day at the office. But when the matchmaking goes wrong, Marissa and Grimm find themselves in a bigger magical muddle than ever before. Not only has the prince gone missing, but the Fae are gearing up to attack Kingdom, and a new Fairy Godmother is sniffing around Grimm’s turf, threatening Marissa with the one thing she can’t resist: her heart’s wishes.

Now Marissa will have to take on Fairies, Fae, dragons, and princesses to save the realm—or give up any hope of ever getting her happy ending…


My issue with Free Agent is a personal one. A lack of connection. And some slightly off world building. Because within reading the first page I knew the writing was solid and the world would be fun. To be honest it took a while to get into it because all of the terms and stuff are shoved in your face. At no time is the world explained. Once the terms and stuff kind of sunk in things went smoother. And I discovered some clever humor and fun pokes at fun fairy tales.

So it's safe to say any reader needs pay attention and wait 10 to 20 pages before things click. Nothing will ever truly be explained. Because at first I was so sure that the humans of this world knew that magic and fairy tales existed. Then all of a sudden at 44% there's a wolf chasing Melissa but—

“ . . . what the people on the sidewalk saw—probably convinced themselves it was a homeless man who hadn't shaved, or a rabid dog chasing two women.”

Next it would seem like people were well versed. Then the male love interest was rocked by the sudden truth of a world filled with magic. So at this point I'm going to say the majority of humans don't know . . . but. Ugh. That was another sticking point with me. I do not like to have to guess about any aspect of the Urban Fantasy world being presented. The author needs to make it clear up front. That's not being picky, it's simply good world building.

The final straw was that I could not connect with Melissa. Something about the writing was holding me at arm's length from her and I couldn't connect. UF mainly consists of loner leads. Yes, those types of leads can be hard to create connections for readers. However, it's been done enough and well enough that I expect more out of any book I'm reading. Not just in UF. This continued the whole book. Not only could I not connect to the lead, but I had no emotions to the love story. In fact there was so little connection with the writing that I could not believe love at first sight—or in three dates—in a fairy tale world. Nope. Not only that but all of the characters were hard to like and connecting to any of them was impossible. Instead, the majority of the characters made me greatly dislike them.

The problem was that no matter good the writing, it would tell me how I should feel with the character. It didn't weave a tale that I could connect to. Which is funny because I highlighted the heck out of this book because of the witty dialogue and hilarious fairy tale quotes. That's were I think the problem lies. Nelson was so good, and stuck, on giving hilarity and good lines that character development and connections were quickly glossed over. One scene where Melissa finds out a painful truth about her step-mom, that part of letting her get bartered away was because Melissa's father would never get over her mother while she was there . . . wasn't even addressed. Melissa was angry, but not over that. In fact, it just kind happened and was gone. So the whole plot of the evil queen emotionally ruining Melissa fell flat for me. Because this book couldn't stir my emotions.

It tired me. I went from thinking “this might be a 4 out of 5 read”. To  a 4 and then 3 out of 5. I pushed through and determinedly decided I would not quit this book. Then with about 20% of the book left I thought “I wish this book was done!” It hit my 1 out of 5. Because I know longer wanted to read it, in fact I was wishing that it was over. I felt cheated out of my money.

Sad truth is that Free Agent one of my most anticipated books of 2014. Lots of other readers loved it. Too bad for me. It was annoying to keep wondering about the universe Nelson had created, but then it was just boring not being able to connect with the characters. Most of the time I didn't even like any of them. Yes, even the lead I found stupid, rude, and annoying. Worst was the overall plot was annoying. The only solid thing was the funny jokes about various fairy tales. In the end I think a number of readers will enjoy Free Agent. I simply needed more.

Sexual Content: Mild sexual humor, one or to mild dark themes. Honestly it's clean for the most part.

1/5- I couldn't finish it or wish I hadn't

Previous book(s) in series:
Reviewed on BW: Amazon: Goodreads:
Free Agent (1)
Armageddon Rules (2)
Free Agent (1)
Armageddon Rules (2)
Free Agent (1)
Armageddon Rules (2)

No comments: