Nicola O.'s Reviews > Once Bitten, Twice Shy

Once Bitten, Twice Shy by Jennifer Rardin
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Feb 28, 10

Read in February, 2010

Per the Official UF Style Guide, Jaz is a kick-ass, heavily armed, slightly neurotic red-head who tells her story in first person. However, Jaz's voicing of this story is outstanding. It's appealingly conversational and wise-cracky; perceptive and smart but fallible; layered and full of personality. Jaz has a complicated history but there's no info-dumping -- the tidbits about her character are handed out in the perfect balance between tantalizing and satisfying.

I really liked the political plotting of the story -- it's a modern "problem" that the team of Jaz and Vayl need to solve, and the paranormal elements are... well, I wouldn't say "window-dressing," exactly... What I mean is, this is the sort of story that has been told repeatedly through the ages: about power and betrayal and politics and double-cross. What makes it unique to us today are Rardin's wonderful characters and the unique paranormal world-building. It has the clean spare pacing of military-style contemporary, and the paranormal bits are treated matter-of-factly; in the same way another author might treat hostile terrain or enemy weaponry.

Speaking of weaponry, anybody who's a fan of Bond's Q or Inspector Gadget should get a kick out of Jaz's goodies. The scenes where they're introduced are exactly like every classic spy movie where the agent gets briefed on how they work, which seemed a little tongue-in-cheek to me in a fun way. Imaginative, useful, and within the realm of possibility, the gadgets have a high "cool factor" and are an entertaining bit of frosting on this cupcake without overwhelming or bogging down the action.


...Read more of my review at Alpha Heroes
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