Tagged: jaz

The Mission by Fiona Palmer

The Mission by Fiona Palmer(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

Recruited into the secretive, shrouded MTG Agency, Jaz dives headfirst into her training, regretting nothing about her decision to help save the world at the age of 17. Now she’s ready and anxious for her first mission — to prove she has what it takes… and to start making a difference.

The only thing that stands in her way is Ryan, the dangerous and sexy agent who first recruited her, and is now guiding her. He doesn’t want Jaz to sink too deeply too quickly into his world of secrets and lies, but his inability to trust her to know her own mind only makes Jaz furious.

When a job comes along that only Jaz can do, Ryan has to let go, and Jaz soon learns that she can swim with sharks, but she’ll come away with scars.

[Full disclosure: I requested and received a free ebook through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

One of the things that I didn’t like about The Recruit, the first book in the MTG Agencies series, was that the plot was so predictable.  That has been improved on a bit in The Mission but it still does need a bit of work.  What really improved was the fact that more things actually happened because Jaz is now a full recruit into the MTG Agency and has to go on missions.  At first I thought it was going to be fairly predictable just like the first book but although things start out as “hot young female agent has to shadow hot young teenage boy and accidentally falls in love with him”, Fiona Palmer doesn’t play that trope straight.  She changes things up a bit and really surprised me with how Jaz’s relationship with Ryan played out throughout the story.  So in terms of plot, The Mission was far more enjoyable than the first book.

Jaz, who was such an eager recruit in the beginning, is a little more mature now and although she makes a lot of dumb mistakes, she learns that being a secret agent maybe isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.  Things get tough, school isn’t always the first priority and she starts to see Ryan and his occasionally morose personality in a whole new light.  Being a secret agent, she realizes, is tough on friendships and it’s especially tough when you have to lie to your friends and family.  A lot of books involving secret agent main characters wrestle with this idea and I actually liked how Fiona Palmer made it an important conflict for Jaz, but not the main focus of the book because then that would be too boring and repetitive.  It’s just like Jaz’s feelings for Ryan are a secondary conflict but the main conflict and focus of the novel is on her actual mission.  And that’s how you know Jaz has really grown as a character; her personal conflicts are annoying but she puts them aside in the name of her job.  It’s a stark contrast to the first book.

One of the only things I can really criticize was the pacing.  In the beginning we have to get our bearings a bit but I just wish that more could have happened in a shorter time frame.  It’s important to get character development into the mix and all that but I really would have liked for a little more action in the beginning.  I can’t describe things too much without giving away the plot points, but the ending left me only partially satisfied because the events at the end seemed a little forced.  It’s like Fiona Palmer was writing and realized she had to quickly insert a climax in a really forced sort of way.  Don’t get me wrong—I did for the most part enjoy the plot. However, I was a little disappointed that the ending was more predictable compared to the rest of the book.  It left me feeling kind of disappointed but because of how good the rest of the book was I’ll definitely still pick up the third book.  I just have the feeling that the ending could have been done better.

To sum things up, here in The Mission we see a lot more character development on the part of Jaz because now she has a job that she takes seriously.  She’s no longer just floating around aimlessly through life; she has a purpose and she’s going to fulfill her mission despite the danger to herself.  The pacing was generally much better than in the first book but it still needs work and aside from the ending, the plot was so much better than it was in The Recruit.  It didn’t have the best ending but it was well written and I enjoyed it enough that I’ll almost certainly be looking out for the next book.  Basically?  This was a good book, not a great one.

I give this book 4/5 stars.

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The Recruit by Fiona Palmer

The Recruit by Fiona Palmer(Cover picture courtesy of NetGalley.)

From one of Australia’s Queens of Romance comes the debut in a brand new YA series about secrets, strengths, and what lies beneath the surface.

Jasmine Thomas may not be completely normal, but she’s a pretty typical seventeen-year-old girl. She hates the rich mean kids, loves her best friends, and can’t wait to get out of school each day. Her spare time is spent at The Ring — a boxing gym where she practically grew up — learning karate, boxing and street fighting. So, yeah, Jaz can kick some major butt.

Life seems pretty normal until the day Ryan Fletcher enters her gym…mysterious and hot with heaps of bad boy charm. Sure, she checks him out. Who wouldn’t? But what doesn’t show on his gorgeous abs are secrets and lies that dominate his very grown-up world. Now Jaz has to figure out just how far she is willing to go to know more. Could Ryan really be offering the life-fulfilling life path she’s always dreamed of?

[Full disclosure: I was approached by the publisher and accepted a free ebook through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

I have to be honest here when I say that contemporary YA romance is generally not my thing.  It never really has been and likely never will, but with books like The Recruit I’m always willing to try.  So that’s why I accepted the invitation to read and review Fiona Palmer’s newest release.

I was both pleasantly surprised and slightly disappointed by The Recruit. On one hand, I was surprised that the romance element was actually somewhat realistic and that the heroine was well fleshed-out.  On the other hand, it was disappointing that I could predict almost every supposed plot twist throughout the whole novel.  First I’ll talk about the characters.

Jaz isn’t your typical teenage girl.  She likes to kick butt and is actually very good at it.  Normally this would be a Mary Sue alert, but who wouldn’t be good when they’ve spent their whole childhood learning how to fight?  It’s a realistic progression in that way and it makes Jaz a very interesting character.  She grows throughout the book, both in her love of Ryan and in her personal life.  Jaz isn’t sure about life after school but I like how she takes her time to come to her own decision and doesn’t feel pressured to do one thing or the other.  Ryan, the secret agent, is an okay character.  He’s pretty much your typical tortured secret agent but he does have some other qualities that make him a three dimensional character.

The main disappointment for me was the lack of surprises in the plot.  Pretty much everything was hinted at so obviously that you could see the next plot twist coming a mile away.  Another thing I didn’t like was that the plot follows such a typical character arc for this type of novel.  There was nothing new or innovative about the whole thing; most tropes were simply played straight.  The characters are typical of such a novel as well but they were three dimensional so I didn’t mind that aspect.  No, what disappointed me was the predictability of the plot.

Basically, this was an okay book for me.  I would recommend it to some of my friends, but I certainly can’t offer a blanket recommendation for everyone.  Basically, if you like contemporary YA that’s heavy on the romance you’ll probably like The Recruit.  It just wasn’t the best book for me.

I give this book 3.5/5 stars.

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