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[ [ [ Under Wraps: The Underworld Detection Agency Chronicles [ UNDER WRAPS: THE UNDERWORLD DETECTION AGENCY CHRONICLES BY Jayne, Hannah ( Author ) Mar-01-2011[ UNDER WRAPS: THE UNDERWORLD DETECTION AGENCY CHRONICLES [ UNDER WRAPS: THE UNDERWORLD DETECTION AGENCY CHRONICLES BY JAYNE, HANNAH ( AUTHOR ) MAR-01-2011 ] By Jayne, Hannah ( Author )Mar-01-2011 Quality PaperHardcover– 1 Mar 2011
I read both the previous reviews before buying, so I didn't expect a new Tad Williams, but even so, I can't rate this highly.
I think the author is happier writing witty repartee than action. The only problem is that it isn't very witty (although it does have its moments!) and the action mostly involves Sophie squealing, throwing loaded guns at people, bleating stupidly at trolls trying to creep up and rescue her, or failing to make basic investigations. After all, if your boss disappeared, wouldn't you (and your sexy police/FBI partner) think of checking his home for clues before nearly a week has passed?
The information cliffhanger at the end irritated me, but didn't give me enough to hope that Sophie will progress from waste of space to heroine.
I also spent some time scratching my head over a couple of inconsistencies; do fallen angels gain genitalia when they lose their wings? Why would anyone think or treat a 100+ yr old vampire like a teenager? If a werewolf busts out of his chains once, don't you use stronger ones next time? If someone breaks into your flat at night why don't you i) tell your flatmate, and ii) increase security, urgently? Bizarre. And throughout it all, we get the Scooby Gang banter, but... they aren't a Scooby Gang - they haven't even started acting like a team yet, let alone shown they are trustworthy.
If I had this Sophie foisted on me during an investigation it would be a toss up whether I would fire her (to keep her safe) or strangle her (to keep my blood pressure within normal bounds).
So what is good about this book? The language flows, it reads smoothly. The premise holds massive potential, and I made it to the end. Just.
The cover is so mis-representive that I wonder if the publisher was playing a UF version of Pin The Tail On The Donkey.
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An excellent premise is let down by a poor storyline and two very annoying leads. Sophie Lawson has almost no likeable qualities, she spends all her time making up stories in her head based upon TV shows. Which seems ridiculous given that she works at the Underworld Detection Agency (UDA) and her real life is much more interesting than most. But she's too busy sniffling, whining and moping over her lack of a normal childhood to embrace the moment. And why an "administrative assistant" should be assigned to work with police detective Parker Haynes is never properly explained, big deal she has access to the right files all she does is spend her time getting hot and bothered over Parker's hot bod - even though he's not a particularly nice guy. Where's the plot, the emotion or even the fun in this novel? Great looking cover and premise are seriously hampered by a storyline that limps along with no likeable characters and a really hard to relate to female lead that is just too inept and whiney to live
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You know, I really liked the idea of this book. I looked forward to the idea of a heroine who wasn't a bad-ass leather-bustier-wearer who could could fight like a ninja and shoot like Annie Oakley. A more normal urban fantasy heroine would be great. Unfortunately, this is not what we have here. Sophie is simply a woman who seems to be as dumb as a bag of hammers and who drops 20 IQ points that she cannot afford to lose as soon as anyone with XY chromosomes who isn't actively ugly walks into the room. The author may be aiming at "adorably ditsy", but she needs to go away and read more Mary-Janice Davidson or Janet Evanovich who do this a lot better. Their heroines have personalities and succeed in being funny and likeable. This heroine is also a bit of a Mary-Sue in that although she isn't drawn as being particularly attractive or interesting, men seem to be magnetically attracted to her anyway.
But the main reason I will not be buying the next book in this series, even though I could really do with some new books, is the author's repeated and offensive use of the word "spastic", for example in one scene where Sophie is trying to get away and thinks "Spastic movements!" and starts jerking around all over the car. So if you have a child with cerebral palsy, this author thinks it is acceptable to disguise her poor writing skills by mocking your kid for a cheap laugh. Lovely.
I read a lot of urban fantasy, can't get enough, and I really enjoyed this book. It's refreshingly unique. Not at all predictable or run of the mill. The lead character is funny, dry and can laugh at herself, (and frequently does), and is very down to earth. She's also a little closer to my age than the average heroine is in these types of books which I find very welcome. (About thirty. Not all leads have to be seventeen and emotionally unstable). Also the plot doesn't go by the usual rules and has its own agenda which is what makes it so different and enjoyable. Although I did guess who the bad guy was before they were revealed, there were still enough surprises there to keep the story interesting. It's well written, smart and I enjoyed the world that Jayne has created. Gonna go read the next book in the series now. (Yay, a series!).
Before I bought this book I read the previous review. In ways that review holds good points. It's not the best book in the world. But it's far from the worst either. If your looking for a strong female lead who has been fighting for her life since she was three. Don't buy this book. If your looking for a down to earth normal woman dumped into having to investigate horrific murders and kidnappings,who is more comfortable throwing a fun at an attacker rather than firing itit however givegive this book a shot. The next book in the series has many improvements. And I have just downloaded the third and looking forward to reading it. I am glad the second book was such an improvement it took my there star rating of this one up to four. Don't be put off by knowing it's not the greatest book. Try it, you may enjoy it! I did.
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