Wednesday, September 9, 2020

GL Carriger - The Enforcer Enigma

Judd has wandered from pack to pack his whole life, searching for wolves who will accept him for who he is and who he loves. Now he believes that he’s finally found the right pack and the right man.
Rejected by his family for being gay and geeky, Colin has never fit in with werewolves, yet now he is one. He doesn’t know how to react when Judd starts courting him. He’s even more lost when a famous singer, the selkie mob, and the feds also start chasing him.
Can Judd protect Colin and still prove his love? Can Colin figure out why enemy shifters are invading his favorite cafe? And what’s with all the gold sparkle? Find out in The Enforcer Enigma.

Comment: I got this book because I've been a fan of the series since the author started publishing them. I was more than glad to finally pick this one up.

In this 3rd installment, we have the story of Colin and Judd, the two extremes in the pack. Judd is the oldest of them and Colin the youngest.
Although they have been treating each other as pack members, it does seem to be obvious to everyone how much connection exists between them, even though both aren't what one could describe as "chatty" or "obvious".
However, now that someone from Colin's (and his fellow pack member and older brother Kevin) life is in need of protection from their bodyguard business, Colin starts to think about himself and what he could gain from life if he takes a chance on his own happiness. The fact Judd is thinking along the same lines surprises him but in such an inclusive pack, why not grabbing what could be a lifelong bond?
Will Colin and Judd g past their own quiet personalities and possible fears and become the couple everyone already expects them to be?

I have had a great time reading the stories in this San Andreas series featuring mainly gay protagonists in a paranormal setting. The author is Gail Carriger, known for her excellent world building and imagination in the PNR area.
The first two full length books in this series were amazing to me and I had hopes this would be too. In terms of romance and character development yes, it was indeed amazing, as was how heartwarming the relationships between the pack members.
However, two main reasons made me like this installment a little less, when comparing to the others.

The first reason is the main characters' personalities.
Both Judd and Colin are likable characters, they are quiet, reserved people and I could easily identify with their need to be alone, to be their own person even if they felt right in a pack. Physically the age difference doesn't get to be such a big deal between them but in maturity and experience, yes. Judd is often letting Colin be aware of how far he can go, how well he feels in certain things... I really liked how well they communicated and discussed what was good for each other.

However, this also made for a slight analytical beginning for them, it wasn't as spontaneous and vibrant as the previous couples' evolution was.
Colin also felt he could be more daring but things from his life made him close on himself. This is fine, people evolve and change but I thought his nerdiness and quiet personality seemed more intriguing in the other books. Same for Judd, his aura of mystery and quiet strength felt more interesting before this book where he acted more as a teacher/mentor than a mysterious guy.
I suppose their relationship, overall, wasn't as romantically developed as the others.

The second reason is the tone of the character's interactions and, therefore, of the story as a whole.
The plot didn't interest me as much as the events in the previous books either but it did allow for some information to be pertinent to be known. Throughout the story we get to see characters interact and situations to be developed. Fine but it just felt some situations were explored more for their strangeness and the characters seemed to showcase their quirkiness and in some of them, the "twink" side of their personality. 
Again, all fine, but them the tone feels a little bit fluffier and I must say I liked the balance of the other books more. It feels as if here the author let go of some control in what kind of information is shared and I confess I preferred the more serious and apparent maturity in the pack's interactions seen in the first two books.

It's true I might be unfair in this, for I keep making comparisons but books #1 and #2 really were great, balanced, sweet without being fluffy, cute without being silly. It feels as if here some of the tone and the situations were a little too ridiculous. 
Other times it felt as if all characters had to be as out and loud as they could. I admit I don't enjoy stories with the so-called "twink" very much for it always seems they are described as almost childish and only interested in make up and glitter and clothes... I'm generalizing, of course, but it's what comes to mind as soon as I think the word. Some characters in this series are proudly so and that's fine but I like it better, personally, when that isn't so obviously mentioned or such a big part of the plot or the characterization.

Still, this was a good story and I liked seeing where the other characters were at, how they interact and deal with one another.
The plot ended up on a situation I can't see the appeal of, it was a little unimportant to me because the emotional content it could start of didn't have such a big impact as it could (perhaps of the tone as I've mentioned) but overall, it was information enough.
I'm still eager to keep reading the series and although the next book features another "twink" character, I have hopes it will be a more engaging story to me.
Grade: 7/10

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