Price of Honor

Price of Honor - Radclyffe Despite the 'Honor' series being one of my favorites, I must admit I haven't been keeping up with the Powells. My last visit with Blair and Cam was four years ago with Honor 7 which was a little underwhelming except for the ending. But the huge explosion of lesfic in the past couple of years has really backed up my to-read list. Plus, catching up with the latest of Blair's outbursts and Cam's recklessness isn't very high on my list anyway. But, the book blurb from this latest Honor 9 really grabbed me. Finally, an antagonist that we can truly get into--not one of the usual hokey, power-hungry, one-dimensional bad guys who have pestered the first family so far. Could this 'Jane Graves' girl be as interesting as the phenomenal Valerie, who, in my book, holds the title of 'best supporting character' of all time? Are we seeing a multi-novel arc for her?

First, let me get this out of the way: Valerie is a complete no-show in this book. No mention. No nothing. This is all homeland security and secret service work, so it would be too much of a stretch to work her (she's CIA) into the action, or even the narrative. No worries though, because the plot chugs along at a fast pace, and our requisite new pair of lovers are there to pick up the slack in between.

Blair is her usual needy self (she wouldn't be Blair otherwise ;) but at least she is now more restrained and mature than ever (phew, after 9 books, she better be!) so most of her outbursts and fears are internalized. Cam is well, Cam--reliable, self-less, and still as indestructible as ever! I don't think there has ever been a book where Cam wasn't physically hurt in some way. I still fondly remember her 'angry looking scar' from Book 1. She's picked up quite a few more since then. Talk about being battle-scarred :)

No Honor book is complete without a new love story, of course. Radclyffe resorts to a very classic pairing this time. Femme reporter with stunning model-like looks gets plenty of attention from the guys but only has eyes for the quiet, loner, K9 agent who is more comfortable around her dog than people. Very cliche but it works. They've got good chemistry and their no-nonsense approach to starting a relationship is refreshing. But, and this is a big one. Dusty the agent is a virgin! All this time??? How come no one's grabbed her if she's so dashing. And how come she's so good in bed??? LOL Still, I love that these two characters felt like original Radclyffe creations, rather than those transplanted or cloned from a previous book. A shout out too for using girl names this time.

The biggest winner here though is the plot--gripping, edge-of-your-seat and surprising.
I did not foresee the drone deployment at all.. The author is an expert at weaving love stories seamlessly into thrillers and it shows in this book, even with two love stories going on (and one of them is 9 books old!), I didn't get the urge to skip.

Going back to my raison d'etre for picking this book, the intriguing 'Jane Graves' was a bit of a disappointment. I was expecting her character to be more nuanced. And honestly, to be one of the other new pair of lovers. Or at least, for Blair/Cam to be able to pull her back from the dark side. I hope its not too late for redemption. Dear Radclyffe, please don't just shove her to oblivion. She's got the makings of a future Valerie. After a whole life of sacrifice for a misguided ideal, please give her a break! :) .

In summary, I must say I'm pretty pleased that this age-old classic series still has some serious legs. The well hasn't run dry. The formula still works. And I'm not saying this just because I got a review copy from Netgalley. :)

BTW, people who have never heard of this series and would like to try it should really start at Book 1. You won't get many of the great character dynamics otherwise. Also, the original free version of it is probably still online somewhere.

4.4 stars