Thursday, March 13, 2014

Review Wednesday- Thursday Edition! | "Fog of War" by Ethan Jones

This week's review is a day late, so I'll just get right into the review. The author sent me an ebook for review after I had entered the Goodreads giveaway for it which has ended.
As always, here's the Goodreads description:

The Fog of WarWhen an Iranian nuclear scientist wants to defect, Canadian Intelligence Service sends in its best agent, Justin Hall. After his mission is compromised and Justin barely escapes northern Iran with his life, he sets out to discover who has put him and the Service in grave danger.

CIA information about a traitor in the Service sends Justin into violence-soaked Somalia, where he quickly becomes ensnared in a web of lies and deceit. He's left with no choice but to go rogue and form an alliance with Romanov, a sinister Russian oil baron.

Cut off from the Service, Justin is forced to navigate through ever-shifting alliances and survive deep inside a Yemeni terrorist stronghold. All the while, he's being hunted by a traitor.

This tour-de-force spy thriller is the hottest page-turner of the summer. New and old fans alike will love this new suspenseful novel in the Justin Hall series.

"Fog of War" is technically book three in a series about the Canadian Intelligence Service agent Justin Hall, however, it's not entirely necessary to read the other books before you read this one. Like other spy/agent plot lines, there isn't one singular plot line that makes it crucial to read the story from the beginning, but it may help to do so- if nothing else, to get to know the characters better. I haven't read the other books in the series, so I don't know if this book did a good job of rehashing Justin as a character, or his relationships etc.or if they were more glossed over because this is the third storyline he's starring in.
For that alone, I would recommend reading this series from the beginning, because I didn't find myself caring about him as a character.
The narration of the story tended to be a little confusing, at least in the beginning. It was a third person P.O.V., but I would find myself not knowing which character I was following at certain times.
Really though, the main problem I find even looking back through my notes are mostly character related. Justin's personality was all over the place, but it didn't seem to follow any sort of believable pattern. He's the tough as nails agent, but wait- he's also a loving fiance`, oh and he's very very close to Nathan, his partner. So much so, that they're finishing each others sentences as if they were the Sherlock and Watson of war. But wait, Nathan isn't is actual partner, Carrie is- and they're also close, so close that when she shows up, Nathan is practically in-existent. Not to mention the weird charges of sexual tension I was feeling between Justin and Carrie that I really found were unnecessary.
None of the relationships really felt authentic to me. Not even the main character and his girlfriend, Anna. In fact, the only relationship I actually started to believe was Nathan and Justin's dynamic- and possibly because it was a little too overdone. However, like I said- that duo stops existing as soon as Carrie shows up in the story.
The plot was character heavy, which as a series, probably works- just like the relationships in the story are probably more solid and realistic in the other books as well- but as a singular book, people were coming and going before you could really tell who was who. It was all sort of done chaotically. Top that with some line edits that I found which could have used a little polishing up (though I'm nit-picking there)- it didn't make me excited about the storyline and doesn't make me want to read the rest of the books.

Now, I see why some people like this book. I really do, it's a "shoot-em up" in book format. I admit, that's not my type of story- so I was focusing more on the relationship building, the personal changes and conflict within the characters. Doing that, I found the story lacking.
Do I recommend this book? Sure- if you want a really light read or a war/secret agent sort of story in book form. Or if you've read the other books int he series. However, if you're looking for a character driven story with intriguing and complex personality building- and this would be your first book by the author, I would maybe give it some second thought.

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