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Play-Survive-Win

REVIEW:  The Prada Paradox by Julie Kenner

REVIEW: The Prada Paradox by Julie Kenner

Dear Ms Kenner,

Two years ago I got swept up in your Play.Survive.Win world. The scavenger hunt plot with death as the booby prize for those who lost plus smart protagonists sucked me in and didn’t let go until the last page. “The Prada Paradox” closes the three book story arc and, while not as good as the initial “Givenchy Code,” it still delivers.

My blogging partner Jane has already written a letter outlining the story so I’ll head straight to my thoughts. This was a neat way to get new readers up to speed with the storyline so far without doing a complete info dump. But, even while being neat, the start of the action was slower compared to the two other books. If the tension had been mounting the whole time, it would have worked better but the into 1/3 just felt too languid compared to the rest of the series. The fact that the heroine is a famous actress who has to dodge fans as well as the assassin added a nice twist. I can also believe the attraction between Devi and Blake since it’s based on a previous relationship as well as “we’re dodging death by the minute” outlets of emotions. I did wonder at why it took so much longer in this book to get the antidote to the poison which kicks off the game but I think I see where you’re coming from based on information revealed about who set up this game and why. I also had my suspicions about a certain character. And while I know why you had to have Devi be so mad at Blake, her extreme reaction to his interview on Letterman seemed a touch over the top.

I did figure out quite a few things (the tracking device, the way the poison was delivered) which, agreeing with Jane, made me question if these two had really read up on the background for the movie they were making and ended up lowering my grade for the book. However the actual chase sequences were enough to net the story a B- and I admire that you did something different with the setting other than another NYC one with unknown hero and heroine.

~Jayne

REVIEW:  Prada Paradox by Julie Kenner

REVIEW: Prada Paradox by Julie Kenner

Dear Ms. Kenner:

I started becoming a Julie Kenner fan with the The Givenchy Code whose title was not only a clever play on the blockbuster, The Da Vinci Code, but also a creative take on the chick lit oeuvre: a heroine who loved shoes and code breaking. In The Prada Paradox, the last in the “Play Survive Win” trilogy, we have a heroine who loves to shop but lacks some skills in the code breaking area.

Devi Taylor is movie star trying to make a comeback by playing Mel in the big screen adaption of Mel’s real life trauma told in The Givenchy Code. The “Play Survive Win” game was an online Role Playing Game where players were assigned to be the Assassin, the Target, or the Protector. In order to “win”, you either lived or killed in the game depending on your role.

The problem is that Taylor’s love interest on screen used to be her love interest off the screen until a Letterman appearance gone bad. Blake Atwood is a new leading man in Hollywood, thanks to Devi. He does her no favors, however, when their highly publicized romance ends in a very public way. Devi and Blake become emeshed in a real life version of “Play Survive Win” and must solve Hollywood based clues in order to find the antitode and come out alive.

While this entry in the “PSW” trilogy had trademark zippiness to the writing and the clues were clever, it took a bit too long to start the action. I wasn’t even sure that it was going to have any PSW in it until about a third of the way into the story. The major problems in this book is the obviousness of the villian and the overlooking of at least one major clue which made it convenient for the villian to keep tabs on the good guys.

Because the villian is so readily identified and the clue was overlooked, it makes it hard for me to believe that the characters were smart enough to prevail and survive. Devi and Blake were a sweet pairing and the romance made up for the lack of a believable suspense game. The Prada Paradox was not the best in the series but still a fast read. B-

Best regards,

Jane