Monday, May 23, 2016

Thrilling and Twisty: Review of The Long Game

Title: The Long Game (The Fixer, #2)
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Release Date: June 7th, 2016!

From Goodreads...
Tess Kendrick, teen fixer extraordinaire, returns in a pulse-pounding thriller about a deadly conspiracy at the heart of Washington.

For Tess Kendrick, a junior at the elite Hardwicke School in Washington D.C., fixing runs in the family. But Tess has another legacy, too, one that involves power and the making of political dynasties. When Tess is asked to run a classmate's campaign for student council, she agrees. But when the candidates are children of politicians, even a high school election can involve life-shattering secrets.

Meanwhile, Tess's guardian has also taken on an impossible case, as a terrorist attack calls into doubt who can--and cannot--be trusted on Capitol Hill. Tess knows better than most that power is currency in D.C., but she's about to discover first-hand that power always comes with a price.

Perfect for fans of Harlan Coben and Ally Carter, the second book in this thrilling series will leave readers breathless.

My Review!
*Minor spoilers for the first book in the series!

The Fixer turned out to be a surprise-I-can’t-believe-I-loved-this-book-so-much read for me, one that hadn’t been on my radar until I started seeing all the hype from trusted bloggers. This was one of those cases where the hype WORKED for me, because I ended up enjoying this book thoroughly, loving the characters, and falling head over heels for two possibilities of ships that I couldn’t wait to see where the romance ended up in the sequel. And while I did love The Long Game, as it kept up the pace of the first book and pulled me in just as quickly, it didn’t *quite* live up to its predecessor.

Tessa Kendrick is, of course, the main character. I’ve always loved her, and that hadn’t changed in this one. She’s still that strong, stoic, kickass girl who reluctantly fixes things for people, but she’s grown so much since The Fixer. She still finds it hard to open up to people and let them in, and she’s still reeling from the upheaval of her life in the form of a sister-turned-mother and a grandfather who is one terrifying person. But I could understand her hesitation, and her anger, and her doubt in herself. She’s been through a lot, and the one person she thought would always be there for her LIED, and she doesn’t know how to get just get over that. But I loved that, throughout this book, she doesn’t give in once, that she continues to help others even though she’d rather not. She’s a compassionate person who tries her best even when she knows it’s going to hurt someone she loves. In this book, she is pushed so far past what she could have imagined, and it’s hard on her, but she does it because she knows how to keep calm under pressure and take care of the people who can’t help themselves. But she’s still just a kid. Luckily she has so many people on her side, willing to BE THERE for her. :)

Like Asher, who is still a lovable, adorable puppy human being who makes me laugh constantly, and I loved that we got to see more of him being a non-comedian. Henry has always been that calm and collected character who makes you wonder what’s going on inside his head. He reminds me of Gansey from TRC, actually. I freaking adore Vivi; her support of Tessa, her infectious personality, and her overall character.  I hope to see way more of her and Tessa’s friendship, and just more of her dealing with shit from the first book because it felt ignored. I’d also love to see where Tessa’s friendship goes with Emilia, Asher’s twin sister, because I love her a hella lot and she needs more page time. And ah, the romance. Ah. Hahahahaaaaaaasobsobsobsob. I can’t say anything because SPOILERS. But let’s just say, I’ve had to readjust my thoughts and feelings after this one. I’m dying for the next book already because Jennifer Barnes cannot just leave things as they are and expect me to be okay with it! My ship, my faves. YOU CAN’T JUST DO THIS TO ME, DAMN IT.

As in the first book, I was super intrigued by all of the political drama and scandal happening in Washington. It’s got a Scandal vibe that I LOVE. But it doesn’t forget about Tessa and her characterization. Though there is a lot of shit going down, especially involving seeds that were planted before and that have now grown, the author does not let that take over the storyline. I loved that, through everything, we get a lot of character development, and not just with Tessa. I definitely loved the moments between Tessa and Ivy, and Tessa and her new family of an uncle and a grandfather (who is seriously a scary man). I especially really love the relationship between Tessa and Ivy, and how it’s evolved since the first book. The two of them obviously have a lot to work through, even now, but they’re still there for each other no matter how angry or hurt they may be. It’s one of those strong familial bonds that just absolutely gets to me when I read books. And I love how it has huge importance to Tessa, and that it doesn’t get lost in the fast-paced plot of the series.

I’m so damn in love with these books and these characters that I always just want MORE, MORE, MORE. More of Tessa and her strength, Ivy and her skills, Adam and his quiet support, Asher and his comedic relief, Vivi and her colorful personality, Henry and his mysterious aura, Emilia and her tech genius, and more of the political intrigue that has kept me so interested that I hardly notice when I’m turning pages. I’m super glad The Fixer got on my radar, and I’m dying for more of it! PLEASE TELL ME THERE WILL BE MORE? PRETTY PLEASE?! Because The Long Game was another fun and intense installment in this series, and I loved it!

Update: there is no 3rd book planned (or more accurately, sold) for this series, and so if you need me, I'll just be over in the corner sobbing about how unfair publishing is. I'm so heartbroken!

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