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Pack of Lies by Annie Bellet
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Originally posted on Tales to Tide You Over
This is the third book in The Twenty-Sided Sorceress, and like the previous two, it provides both a self-contained story and progress on the overall series arc. This is something Annie Bellet does very well, making each one I’ve read so far satisfying to read as a standalone urban fantasy while raising interest in the bigger picture as well.

I have my sister to thank for reminding me of the books I’d already purchased (she reviewed a different Annie Bellet novel). These novels are on the short side, but they don’t skimp on story or character development. They’re perfect for when I don’t have a lot of time and want a complete tale. Though, with the way book three ends, I really want to find out what’s going to happen in book four. It’s not a cliffhanger as the story is already complete, but there is a grand teaser in the epilogue.

I like how Jade’s character develops in Pack of Lies, or rather, I like that she develops if not necessarily the path she chooses. It is enough to make me curious about how she’s going to swing the crazy balance of her magic, her friends and family, and what she wants to be. I was sad to see Alek, her Justice boyfriend, missing in the beginning, but that doesn’t last long while he brings enough complications, and on multiple levels, to make the delay worth it.

Avoiding spoilers, I have to say a lot changes in this book, the kinds of changes that shift the whole landscape. This is important because one of the reasons for a long break between each book comes from past experience with series where I binge read and end up losing what I loved about the series as the patterns become obvious. There are some patterns in the first three, but they’re more thematic than repetitive. The new elements introduced in Pack of Lies seem to indicate the series will not fall back on old patterns but rather find different angles each time.

The dynamic of Jade and her band of loyal friends, including her boyfriend, is still going strong. There are humorous, smart alec moments to balance out the, at times graphic, violence, and many cute geek culture references for the reader’s amusement. I especially enjoyed the Tetris reference as it connects to my own experience with using the game’s lessons in real life.

The elements that drew me in are present and accounted for, while the stakes are high in this book, and the list of new and interesting villains continues to grow. I suspect it’ll take me a long time (possibly until Bellet ends the series) to grow tired of these characters and their struggles. It’s well worth the read. ( )
  MarFisk | Oct 16, 2016 |
I must say that this series has me hooked and wish the next book was already available. The alpha of all werewolves has died and the alphas from the different packs around the country are in town to fight for the position, only someone has started killing innocents in a political play. Once again Jade, a mostly in-the-closet-sorceress, is asked to help and the threats and challenges she faces just keeps growing with each book as she’s not the only one using magic.

Plenty of action and I’m enjoying watching her grow as she needs to keep thinking outside the box in order to exercise her magical muscles. All of the regulars are on hand, truly good friends that Jade now recognizes as family.

And I’m happy to say that one of the areas that I found fault with in the first book has been rectified; world building, especially with the shifters, has received more attention. Part of that is even though Jade’s friends are shifters, she never really asked questions. But one area is still lacking for me. Through Jade’s thoughts, words and actions, we know what her emotions are, but I’ve yet to actually get in her head and feel them.

There are a number of things that came up in this book that leave open interesting threads for future books and I can’t wait to see what the author does with them. ( )
  dearheart | Oct 28, 2014 |
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