Seduction Game -- Pamela Clare
Book 7 of I-Team series
First of all, this is probably the book with the cover I like the least in this series... not that any of the other covers were extraordinary or anything, but they were still serviceable. This one feels awkward... and something else I can't pinpoint.
Secondly, I wasn’t really going to write a review, but I felt the need to share a few sparse thoughts about Seduction Game. I was extremely excited when Pamela Clare announced a new book in the I-Team series--the I-Team books were my first official foray into racy Romantic Suspense novels. So in spite of random schmaltzy moments strewn about each of Pamela’s I-Team books that give you goosebumps or make you wince at how flowery everything is, these books hold a special place in my heart.
Seduction Game wasn’t exactly what I’d been expecting, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, aside from the need to suspend disbelief just a tad bit more, I actually really loved the new twist and the entirely new and unexpected role that the ever-present Holly Bradshaw takes on in this book. Furthermore, Holly has been exactly what I’d been looking for and wanting to see in this series for a main female protagonist.
The rest of the I-Team women in the this series are great, don’t get me wrong. They’re strong in their own way and they’re clever and they own their books. But there has always been an underlying fragility, a stereotype, making these women embody that whole “fairer sex” ideal that was hard for me not to roll my eyes about. They were handled with kid-gloves eighty percent of the time in their books because they couldn’t handle seeing suffering or tragedy without breaking down into tears or running off and having a melt-down. Even simple things such a news of murder, more bloody and gory photographs, things like that, would turn them into sobbing messes.
It didn’t feel realistic and made me wonder if they were maybe being made out to be more dramatic than was necessary.
While I understand that there’s a certain amount of empathy necessary when dealing with all the terrible things that happen in books like these (all the terrible things that happen in life, period), it doesn’t mean that they all need to start falling apart, or reacting with horrified surprise at these happenings. We know that terrible things happen in this world on a daily basis. These are strong women who have been in the investigative journalism field for years--it’s a bit incredible that they’re so surprised to have these terrible revelations confirmed. It’s a little hard to believe that they’d never come across anything as gruesome before. Again, it just didn’t feel realistic.
While Holly has always been a beloved presence throughout the series, with her flighty personality, her open sexuality, and her sunshine and butterflies attitude about life, it was hard for me to imagine her getting her own book. I had been expecting a novella or a short story or something. In fact, rather than Holly getting her own book, I’d been hoping that we would finally get an I-Team male journalist coming across a woman in law enforcement or the like.
But Pamela gave us Holly. And boy do I appreciate what she did with Holly!
So this new twist that kind of turns her into superwoman? I liked it a lot! And I especially loved that Holly could be very tough as nails, superwoman-like and still love being feminine and have her high society likes and dislikes and maintain some of that almost ditzy personality while exhibiting that she’s a lot more intelligent and quick-witted than anyone ever expected, or gave her credit for. And her reactions to the Big Bad World were a little more acceptable and felt more realistic.
Holly Elise Bradshaw is the ideal heroine I’d been waiting to see in this series. And it was awesome!
The build up that takes us into the main conflict of Seduction Game however, had given me pause, though. A few things happen that don’t really sit well with me, but the fact that this I-Team installment took an unexpected turn with the main female protagonist and even a little bit in tone and ideals made it easier to ignore what wasn’t working for me so that I could enjoy the book.
There was a pretty good “Game of Cat and Mouse” vibe going on in the beginning, which then lead into a strange “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” foray… or something like that. I liked it, but I’m also conflicted about liking it due to some of the factors that lead us where we ended up going in the story. To be totally honest, I’m not sure how I feel about the beginnings of and the subsequent development of the romantic relationship between Holly and Nick. Like I said, some things just didn’t sit well with me… but in some ways, it seemed to make sense.
And so, questionable logic aside, while Seduction Game may not be my favorite of the I-Team books, I honestly DO believe that Holly Bradshaw has become my favorite of the I-Team heroines. It’s a complicated logic working around in my mind that makes this extremely vague review feel even more nonsensical--my apologies.
On an aside, Nick Andris, Holly’s leading man… is a little harder for me to fall in like with.
The rest of the I-Team series men were, as usual, very much welcome!