REVIEW: The Partner by Lia Silver
Dear Ms. Silver:
I was very excited to read this book after loving Prisoner and enjoying Laura’s Wolf. Part of my problem with this book was my expectations and that a lot of the suspense was taken away because of what happened in Laura’s Wolf. (Note to readers, you might want to stop reading if you don’t want to be spoiled for Prisoner).
In Prisoner, DJ and Echo meet. They are prisoners in a research lab run by the government who have been conducting experiments on various individuals with heightened abilities. The modus operandi of the prison is to threaten those that the prisoners love. For werewolf DJ it is his friend Roy who he bit in an effort to save him. For Echo, it is her sister Charlie. Echo is the fifth girl of a series of girls who were given superior strength and physical skill to become assassins.
DJ’s goal is to find out where his friend is being held and go and rescue him. Echo’s goal is to stop hurting so much. At the end of Prisoner, DJ and Echo have fallen in love. In Laura’s Wolf, Roy has freed himself and DJ shows up at the end without Echo, feeling unsure about the state of their relationship.
Partner backtracks in time a bit. And therein lies the problem. I knew, even if DJ did not, that Roy was safe. So a lot of the suspense or drama was eliminated. I wanted to fast forward to get to some action but the first third, there is almost no action.
The first third, we run through part of the setup as to why DJ and Echo are imprisoned and then they are sent off on a mission together. This mission (and the other ones) were sadly uninspired. DJ spent most of the time wondering whether it was Echo’s foot running up his leg or someone else’s. I didn’t understand what I was supposed to take from these scenes?
There’s a gender flip in this book that’s interesting. Echo is the hardboiled assassin and DJ is the arm candy but he came off bland and Echo (as she grapples up a bunch of wall hangings to take down an assassin) reads almost comical. In some passages, I felt that DJ appeared as a Filipino Mr. Bean. And I’d be okay with that, if that was the tone of the book–a comic parody of spy books. But there was too much personal angst, particularly from Echo’s side, to make it read like a parody.
Echo reveals a truth about herself at about the 30% mark which could have powered the emotional conflict for the whole story and I wished it had been revealed earlier. Around the 50% mark the story became fun and interesting and things were happening. We learn a little more about how werewolves came to be. We learn other secrets of the government lab.
Resolutions to the impossible conflicts appeared and while they were a bit simplistic and convenient, I was happy for the outcome.
The emotional drama, particularly from Echo, became a bit tiresome. I don’t know if I needed to spend more time in her head and less in DJ’s to understand her more, but her motivations for how she dealt with DJ at times and how she held herself apart emotionally were difficult for me to accept. A lot of it felt forced, as in, because there is a book 3, there has to be more conflict, and therefore I’m going to need Echo to be an even worse, irrational basket case than she was before.
In the end, though, I kept asking myself, was book three a necessary addition or could have the book but chopped down by at least half (if not more) and just been part of book 1? And I felt that the answer was yes. I also wondered if I had read Prisoner and then Partner whether the suspense would have been greater. Maybe. I’m definitely in to read more Lia Silver books but this one didn’t deliver for me like Prisoner and Laura’s Wolf. C.