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WesternSFA
Free Agent
by J.C. Nelson
Ace, $7.99, 281pp
Publication Date: July 29, 2014
This is the first book in a promising new debut series.  There are some very interesting characters and concepts in this story.

Marissa works for a Fairy Godfather in a world of humans; thinly separated from a magical realm, and from the Fae realm.  The Fairy Godfather’s agency helps people with solutions.  And Marissa helps with those solutions.  In this case, it’s a routine Princess-wishing-for-a-Prince to love.  Marissa’s task is to seduce the Prince, then break his heart, leaving a broken man ready to be ‘healed’ by a loving Princess.  A task that she’s done successfully dozens of times; but that doesn’t stop this one from going very, very wrong.  The first mistake was when Marissa let down her guard and allowed herself a moment of hope that she would someday have a love of her own…possibly this one, Liam.  Her second mistake:  he wasn’t the Prince.

Then someone wants to curse the Prince and Marissa’s actions cause the curse to adhere to the wrong man – Liam.  And she’s saddled with a sad, frustrated Princess who won’t go home – can’t, actually, there’s an evil stepmother waiting for her.  And on top of all that, the Fae lost a child, kidnapped by werewolves (and not the sexy kind).  Fortunately, Marissa finds the child and returns it…unfortunately, the Fae are actually grateful and the Queen bestows a ‘blessing’ on Marissa.  It’s not as great as it sounds…  And that’s not all…someone has lost something important – a super magical deadly something – and they think Marissa knows where it is.  And they plan to use it to start a war between Fae and the magic Kingdom, with humans left on the battlefield.

This was a lot of fun.  The author had some original takes on stereotypical characters.    Turns out, Fairy Godmothers aren’t as nice as Fairy Godfathers, and Princesses don’t have to stick to type.  Marissa was a pretty well-drawn character although I think the author may do better by her with a little more writing experience.  Some of the plot was a bit vague; I didn’t think he resolved Marissa’s personal issues well and perhaps he means to in the sequel; but I needed more clarification as to what she thought of it all.  I also lost a little track of a couple secondary characters and wasn’t entirely sure who and what they were to Marissa.  But overall, it was fun and I mean to follow-up with the sequel. ~~ Catherine Book

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