**spoiler alert** Christopher Golden's "Bratva" is a fun ride. When I heard there was going to be a Sons of Anarchy novel, I knew I had to read it. I'**spoiler alert** Christopher Golden's "Bratva" is a fun ride. When I heard there was going to be a Sons of Anarchy novel, I knew I had to read it. I'm in my second viewing of the series, and once again obsessed with all things SAMCRO. This book read like a narrative episode. Set at the beginning of season 4, the boys have gotten out of prison and are just about to jump into the tumult that the cartel and Maureen Ashby's letters from John Teller bring to the club. Jax gets a frantic phone call from Maureen Ashby, telling him that Trinity, his newly discovered half-sister, has left home to be with her Russian mobster boyfriend in Nevada. This news is, of course, coming right after the club assassinates the entire Northern Cali wing of the Bratva, including Viktor Putlova, at Opie and Lyla's wedding. Worried about his sister's life and the possibility of her being used as leverage against the club by the Russians, Jax takes Chibs and Opie with him to Nevada in search of her, leaving their cuts at home to hide their affiliation with SAMCRO.
The narrative perspectives shift mostly between Jax and Trinity, telling both sides of the story from two drastically different points of view. Golden really gets Jax, and we get a clear, deep understanding of where Jax is at at that crucial turning time as well as during the events of the novel. Trinity is basically a new character. Even when she was recurring in season 3, we didn't really get to know her. Golden does an amazing job of creating a deep, complex character with a sense of agency and ego. Trinity was raised around IRA violence, and she understands gangland loyalty and the rules of the underground, but she still maintains her compassion.
Trinity was far and away my favorite part of the book. Despite the fact that the basic premise of the story is Maureen Ashby sending Jax on a fetch quest for her wayward daughter, Trinity manages to add depth and interest to the situation at hand. She isn't kidnapped, she willingly decides to stick with Oleg, her Bratva boyfriend. Her reasons for being there and her perspective on the trouble they get up to make reading her chapters extremely compelling. When the situation gets tough, she adapts. She knows the difference between what's necessary and what's gratuitous. She is, in short, a badass.
I also really enjoyed diving into the Las Vegas charter of the Sons. The small charter has its own new characters and politics. Just a scene where a member is making eggs in their clubhouse kitchen, or the accommodation that traveling club members can expect was really interesting. Descriptions of it from Jax's perspective were fascinating to me, and their involvement in Jax's fetch quest both highlight and illustrate what the bond of brotherhood in the MC can really mean.
My biggest problem was the suspension of disbelief. Trinity is a new character, and her personality is largely flushed out in this book. However, she's a girl who was born and raised in Northern Ireland by an IRA affiliated family. The IRA as it is portrayed in the show is extremely xenophobic and also street smart. Why would a girl from that world suddenly take up with a Russian mobster? Sure, you can't choose who you love, but surely she could have seen trouble written all over him. A lot can be attributed to the impulsiveness of youth, but she didn't seem to grow all that much in that way. Was she so desperately in love that she was willing to be an accessory to his organized crime lifestyle? We see her participating in their business and helping them with her Irish connections in the states. When I took her motivations and her reasoning at face value, I had no problem, but in the end the whole story happened because of her actions. As Jax would say, it was all "on her", yet no one really holds her responsible for the consequences. On the other hand, she's an independent adult who should be free to make her own decisions. How dare Jax agree to fetch her and send her back to Ireland? His commitment to her safety, his promise to her mother, and the possible threat to SAMCRO are apparently more important than Trinity's own wants and ambitions.
Since Trinity's reveal as Jax's half-sister, I had hoped that she would return to the show in some capacity. There is so much untapped story potential in her and her relationship with Jax, and I am glad that she got to star in the first Sons of Anarchy novel. It was the Sons being the Sons, complete with everything one would expect that to entail. We got a little more back story on the Russians and a bit more insight into the last living child of John Teller. Fans of the show, especially those that miss Opie as much as I do, will find something to like in this book. I read it via audio book, which was narrated expertly - accents and all - by Peter Berkrot....more
Full disclosure: I only read 45% of this book, according to my Kindle, so keep that in mind. I doubt it gets any better toward the enUgh don't do it.
Full disclosure: I only read 45% of this book, according to my Kindle, so keep that in mind. I doubt it gets any better toward the end.
I was drawn in by the synopsis, only to be immediately turned off by the awkward prose, grammatical and spelling mistakes. I have read terribly written fan fiction that was easier to get into than this book. What I read of the story was all over the place, and the unfortunate word and phrase choices just take you back out of the tropey sci-fi decoupage world set up in the book.
I have learned my lesson and will read the sample before compulsively buying wacky looking sci-fi romance.
This book did make me feel better about my work as an author. So there's one positive....more