Top critical review
The weakest in the series so far
on 17 February 2017
A half-decent plot does warrant two stars in what is nevertheless the weakest instalment so far.
The main problem is that the main protagonist remains emotionally adolescent, seeking security with either nice (the late Tommy Lien, Iteeche Ron) or "strong" (Jack) men. This is expressed in a particularly blatant (and grossly sexist) passage on p.220: "Since Kris would gladly trade half her net worth to have just half of what Cindy Lu had in her bra, it didn't sound like all that bad an idea." All through the series Kris is worried by her plainness and her "long nose". An interesting case of an author diminishing (even demeaning) his supposed heroine.
Then in Ch.32 we have Jack mooning, as if he were 16, over the potential loss of his life and love. The author's view of his protagonists' projected mental processes is in itself that of a 16-year old. It's quite painful to read this.
A second black mark has to be awarded to the increasingly irritating "Nelly". The dialogue between Kris and her AI are degenerating into infantilism, to the point of being unreadable. Fortunately, nothing is lost by skimming or even skipping them, written as they are for the intellectual level of 12-year olds. One would hope not to encounter them in future instalments, nor the insufferably "cute" Abby and Cara. Some hope...
Oh - and we have the "lopsided grin" back again. In the early volumes it was Tommy, now it's Jack. The author clearly does a lot of his writing on autopilot.
Of course, the author's handling of dialogue has been his major weakness throughout - clumsy style, pedestrian dicta. His descriptions of actions/events work much better, but we don't get as much of these here as in earlier volumes.