Free Agent by J.C. Nelson
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this book. I picked it up because I just plain love fairy tales, and it sounded interesting, with a heroine who is basically a debt slave to her Fairy Godfather. I absolutely love urban fantasy, and it's great when you find one that hits on your happy buttons. This book does it for me.
One thing I will say is the author has a weird/morbid sense of humor. He talks freely about feeding poodles to hellhounds and running over gnomes, and this might be a turnoff to some readers. Once I got used to that, it didn't bother me as much. I think the worldbuilding was good. Set in New York, but the magical Kingdom is adjacent, and can only be reached by some with a magical tie.
Marissa is a cool character. She's tough as nails but also vulnerable in other ways. She reflects the psyche of the average twentysomething person: trying to figure out who they are and what they are doing, and what they want to do with their lives? Marissa has had it tough because her destiny wasn't exactly her own. Her only goal was working off her debt and getting back to her family. It's absolutely heartbreaking when she realizes the truth about her family. However, Marissa's feels very much like a fairy tale heroine. I like that Marissa's angst becomes her strength. While Grimm is her boss, I think their relationship is very complex. I would say that Grimm is almost like the father that Marissa craves. While her family seemed to throw her away, Grimm has given her another family and taken pretty good care of her, considering.
The romance was very cute. Nelson plants some seeds but never gives the whole story away, so one is likely to ask why Marissa thought this person was the target. I liked Liam a lot and I hope he sticks around. His curse is kinda sucky for him, but cool from an urban fantasy perspective. Ari is fun as well. A very unprincess-like princess who plays a huge role in this story.
The reviews aren't great for this, but I give it a strong thumbs up. The author knows his fairy tales and takes the reader along for a ride that is in parts funny, sad, scary, creepy, and feels unique even with some elements that make it fit well within the urban fantasy genre. Some aspects were a bit confusing, but it wasn't a deal breaker for me. Overall, I found this thoroughly enjoyable and I devoured it in about 36 hours.
Overall rating: 4.5/5.0 stars.
Chloe Bennett as Marissa
Miles Teller as Liam
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