Aparna (inspirethoughts) wrote,

Book Critique 2016 – 02/28/2016: Ruthless Game (Ghostwalker Series #9)

Mar 25 2019: Updated the review and added spoiler alerts

Continuing with the critiques I started in 2015, here is the next in series – a book review.
Prologue: Go here.
For review of all books under Ghostwalker series: Go here.

Stars: 3.5 / 5
Recommendation: A good one to have the continuity of the series but definitely needs an effort to like one of the lead role.

Ruthless Game is the ninth book in the Ghostwalker Series by Christine Feehan published in December of 2010. The plot is centered around Kane Cannon - second-in-command to Mack "Top" McKinley, leader of the GhostWalkers Team Three - and Rose Patterson - one of the orphan girls from Dr. Whitney's Group One whom he had put in his breeding program.

GhostWalkers are a group of women and men who are sent on special missions. They have enhances psychic and physical abilities along with genetic modifications, using in some cases not just human genes but all kinds of animal and plant genes. However every GhostWalker would need an "anchor" to draw back the psychic backlash, especially that would instigate violence. They are complex characters trying to live with their enhanced abilities and at the same time fight against the corrupt people around them, executing their missions successfully. So far we are introduced to two teams of GhostWalkers Men serving in various areas of law enforcement and armed forces and one group of Orphan Girls on whom Dr. Peter Whitney had experimented. He has paired each of his GhostWalker men with the women in the hopes to breed the next generation of GhostWalkers.

In Shadow Game we had seen that Dr. Lily Whitney-Miller, married to Captain Ryland "King" Miller - head of Team One - find the details of the Orphan Girls that Dr. Peter Whitney had experimented on along with Lily. Now adopted or held in a different lab or on their own or more girls added as years progressed, Lily and Ryland are determined to find those girls now women, rescue them and provide a safe haven. So far they have rescued Dahlia Le Blanc, Iris "Flame" Johnson, Briony "Bri" Jenkins, Marigld "Mari" Smith, Saber Wynter and Tansy Meadows.

We had met Rose for the first time in Deadly Game, in which we learn that Dr. Whitney had paired her with Kane in his breeding program to make super babies. At the end of that plot, with help from Team One, Team Two and Kane, the women in the facility escape. Rose gets separated from Kane in the process, and we also see that she is pregnant with their child.

Subsequently in Street Game, we meet Kane Cannon again, but we see more of him, get to know him better and understand his turmoil and guilt at him being a participant in the breeding program. We also know that the enemies of GhostWalkers are searching for those escaped girls from the breeding program facility and in particular they are looking for the one who is pregnant, Rose. Finally, now we get to hear the story of Kane and Rose.

Team Three is sent on a mission to rescue two hostages and their informant in the middle of the desert, only for Kane to encounter Rose Patterson, his lover whom he was paired with by Dr. Whitney as part of his breeding program, and whom he had been searching for since her escape from the facility. Kane is determined to take her to safety, his home with his family, while Rose is determined to not be part of him or anything to do with Dr. Whitney anymore.

Despite their different approaches, they are both thrown in together, once again, while finishing the rescue mission, and are stranded in the desert, facing unknown enemies, all the while looking for a way to escape. And the game turns as ruthless as Kane himself was, just as Rose had expected.

The plot is very intense, showing more and more dark side of Dr. Whitney along with similar others south of the border. It was slower at some places but overall Christine still managed to keep the momentum. The story-line, the imagination of what more new experiments one could see, the fights, the characters and the finale - all have a right place in the book.

The wedding celebration scene at the end reminded me of the scene from Dark Blood where the next generation of the Carpathians, newly born, are gathered around the adults and they seemed highly intelligent. Since Dark Blood came a good four years after this book, I believe Christine replicated the scene with kids in the wedding celebration here into that plot, relevant to the Carpathians of course.
The first time around I read the book, I distinctly remember that I wasn't much impressed by Rose or the character portrayal of her by Christine. She had gotten under my skin in the most irritated way. This time around when I re-read the series, I thought Iris "Flame" Johnson was being a prick by not listening to Raoul "Gator" Fontenot and trusting him no matter how many times he explains or shows that she wouldn’t be going back to Dr. Whitney, but instead would be part the GhostWalker Team One. But that is nothing compared to what I feel about Rose.

Even in the second go round, I couldn’t get rid of the prickly feeling I got towards her character. In the beginning of the book, I could understand why she wasn’t trusting anyone in Kane's team, why she was reluctant to let go of her control or why she had forced him get rid of the tracker that could have helped his team come back for them. I felt it very hypocritical of her that she wanted Kane's help in getting to a safer location, wanted his team's help for protection, but didn’t want anything to do with him or his family, family that he trusted with life.

Despite their live being in danger due to her stupidity not to trust Kane's team, and even though his team risked their lives to rescue them, guard them all the time in their warehouse, and protect them, she doesn’t trust Kane's family until one of the team members gets almost killed. Was she so low a character that one of the team member had to almost lose her life for her to trust? Wasn’t Kane's love and the way his family always protected her meant anything to Rose?

That was what confused me a lot about Rose and made it hard to like her. However, the overall plot made up for it for me to continue the book.

There is repeat paraphrasing seen, which increases as the plot continues. Surprisingly, we find a few character and grammatical errors which is odd since Christine rarely has such errors. A good read all in all, despit
e not my favorite in the lot.

Spoiler Alerts:

1) Plot Reveals:
a.  Rose gives birth to a baby boy, Sebastian Kane Cannon, in the middle of this plot.
b. Fargo, one of the super soldiers of Dr. Whitney's personal army had been paired with one of the orphan girls in the facility where he was orchestrating his breeding program. And she had tried to almost kill Fargo. I wonder who that orphan girl is.
c. In Conspiracy Game and after, Christine had GhostWalkers Team One and Two settling in the mountains of Montana. But in this book, she has some of them settling in the mountains of Wyoming. Definitely we can say that Team Two is in Montana since Jack and Ken have their housing there. So is Team One in Wyoming or Montana?
d. Rose recalls being with a child, Thorn, when she was a kid in Dr. Whitney's basement lab. However, in Predatory Game, it sounded like Saber Wynter and Thorn were held together at a location separate from the first group of orphan girls. Perhaps that is how it must have happened. We will only know when we read Thorn's story.

2) Sub-Plots:
a. In the first book, Shadow Game, we were introduced to Dr. Brandon Adams - GhostWalkers own doctor who takes care of them as well as keeps them safe from Dr. Peter Whitney and his rogue super humans. In Deadly Game, another doctor, Dr. Eric Lambert, is introduced who takes care of these GhostWalker teams. But in this plot, it turns out that he is a plant by Dr. Whitney.

b. GhostWalker Team One, Army Rangers and Army Green Berets; first introduced in the first book, Shadow Game - under direct command of General Theodore Ranier. They make their base in the mountains of Montana along-side Team Two as of Predatory Game.
i. Headed by Captain Ryland "King" Miller - His story was told in Shadow Game, and he marries Lily Whitney, adopted daughter of Dr. Peter Whitney, at the end of that book. They have a baby boy - Daniel Ryland Miller - in Predatory Plot.
ii. Nicolas "Nico" Trevane - His story is told in Mind Game, and he marries Dahlia Le Blanc at the end of that book.
iii. Raoul "Gator" Fontenot - His story is told in Night Game, and he marries Iris "Flame" Johnson at the end of that book.
iv. Kadan Montague, Ryland's second-in-command. His story is told in Murder Game, and he marries Tansy Meadows at the end of that book.
v. The rest of the team consists of Sam Johnson; Jeff Hollister; Ian McGillicuddy; Tucker Addison; Jonas Harper; Kyle Forbes
vi. Jeff Hollister goes through a very tough recovery when he was brutally experimented by Dr. Whitney in the first book, Shadow Game. We see more about him in this plot, recovering and getting better at his abilities, although he might have a permanent limp. I would like to see Christine pen a story for him soon more so because he is creeping into the reader's mind slowly.
vii. Tom Delaney, Sr., a decorated military man, enhanced by Dr. Whitney despite failing psych evaluation, is rescued by Kadan Montague in Murder Game, giving Toma  chance to have some measure of ease to live a normal life for a discarded GhostWalker. He will join Kadan's team once the treatments are complete and he is deemed safe.

c. GhostWalker Team Two, Paramilitary Ghostwalkers Team (Navy SEALs) working with NCIS; first introduced in the second book, Mind Game; under direct command of Rear Admiral Frank Henderson. They make their base in the mountains of Montana where Jack and Ken already reside as of Predatory Game.
i. Headed by Logan "Max" Maxwell.
ii. Jack Norton, oldest of the Norton Twins. His story is told in Conspiracy Game, and married Briony "Bri" Jenkins, at the end of that book. Bri gave birth to twins, Jeremiah Ken Norton and Noah Jack Norton, as of this plot.
iii. Ken Norton, the second Norton Twin. His story is told in Deadly Game, and married Marigold "Mari" Smith at the end of that book.
iv. Jesse "Jess" Calhoun - His story is told in Predatory Game, and married Saber Wynter at the end of that book.
v. The rest of the team consists of Martin Howard; Neil Campbell; Trace Aikens; Antonio Martinez (first mentioned in Street Game).
vi. When the GhostWalker Team Two was introduced in Mind Game, Christine had mentioned one of the members as Todd Aikens. But in Deadly Game, she names him Trace Aikens. Is he Todd or Trace? Had she named him first as Todd and then later changed it to Trace? Or are there both Todd and Trace?

d. GhostWalker Team Three: Marine Force Recon Urban Warfare Team; first introduced in Predatory Game; under direct command of Sergeant Major Theodore Griffen. 9 men and two women who grew up together to form a family by heart, joined by a newbie now. They make their base in San Francisco, around the warehouse that Jaimie already bought in Street Game, as of this plot.
i. Headed by Mack "Top" McKinley. His story is told in Street Game and he marries Jaimie Fielding at the end of that book, one of the girls in his group.
ii. The rest of the team consists of Javier Enderman; Gideon Carpenter; Brian Hutton; Jacob Princeton; Ethan Myers; Marc Lands; Lucas Atherton; Rhianna "Rhee" Bonds; newbie Paul Mangan.
iii. Brian Hutton, the first member we met in Predatory Plot and had been interested romantically in Patsy Calhoun, Jesse Calhoun's - GhostWalker from Team Two - sister in that plot. Is he paired with Patsy? But Patsy isn't a GhostWalker? Or is she?
iv. Rhianna is sent to Mossad on load and Javier and Rhianna seems to have a history as being lovers as of Street Game plot. She returns to the team in this plot.

e. GhostWalker Team Four: Air Force Pararescue Special Forces Team; first mentioned in Predatory Game; more revealed in Street Game where we meet Joe and hear about Malichai:
i. Joe Spagnola, works undercover at Jaimie warehouse protecting her.
ii. Malichai Fortune - another member wounded twice when sent on deadly missions.
iii. Wyatt Fontenot - Raoul Fontenot's brother is introduced as a GhostWalker in this plot.

f. Group One of Dr. Peter Whitney's Orphans: Twelve orphan girls on whom he had conducted his experiments to make them psychically enhanced - Lily Whitney-Miller, the only girl he had adopted for himself; Dahlia Le Blanc; Iris "Flame" Johnson; Briony "Bri" Jenkins; Marigold "Mari" Smith; Tansy Meadows; Rose Patterson; Jonquille; Laurel; Camellia "Cami".
i. More about them is shown in Deadly Game
1) Ivy, supposedly killed by Dr. Whitney to teach the orphans girls a lesson;
2) Rose, Cami and Mari and two others live in a secret compound that Dr. Whitney has for his own army of super soldiers. Unclear if they were part of the first group of orphans or were they a second group of orphans.
3) In that escape effort, all the remaining four sisters also spread away. Curious to see how Christine will bring them back in.

g. Group Two of Dr. Peter Whitney's Orphans: Fist introduced in Predatory Game. Not clear if they were part of the 12 original orphans he had or were added on later - Saber Wynter; Thorn. Unlike his first group, they are not named after flowers.

h. The Fontenot family is introduced in Night Game - Raoul's three brothers (Wyatt, ) and his grandmother, Nonny. Wyatt is shown to have romantic feelings towards the lost and found girl, Joy Chiasson.

i. Dr. Peter Whitney who thought be dead in the first book Shadow Game, is shown to be alive as of this plot with more devious plots in his mind. As the books progress, we see the various kinds of horrific experiments he had done on the GhostWalkers - tracking them with a computer chip in their body; pairing the Orphan girls not only with one of the four Ghostwalker teams, but his personal enhanced team that he created using the rejected psychic candidates as part of his breeding program; injecting them with Zenith, a fast-healing medicine but with serious repercussions. He is revealed to be psychic in Deadly Game.

j. Dr. Peter Whitney's allies in his devious plots are:
i. Senator Ed Freeman, the one the Norton twins tried to rescue and were in turn kidnapped in Congo, is married to Violet Smythe - one of the Orphan Girls from Dr. Whitney's Group in the secret compound. She is also a GhostWalker paired to the Senator. The Senator gets shot in the ensuing battle between his super soldiers and Whitney's during the escape attempt of the orphan girls in the compound, in Deadly Game.
ii. Jacob Abrams, a loaded banker, and Senator Freeman's father, Andrew Freeman.

3) Grammatical / Historical / Location / Character Errors:
a. On Pg. 163, Line 11, it should be "Were you able to…"
b. On Pg. 193, while describing the scene, Christine has Rose in a button-down-the-front shirt. But on Pg. 196, she has Rose in a button-down blouse, while she is on the same scene.
c. In Conspiracy Game and after, Christine had GhostWalkers Team One and Two settling in the mountains of Montana. But in this book, she has them settling in the mountains of Wyoming.
d. Including Rose now, Team Three is a total of 13 members. However on Pg. 347, while describing the scene, Christine has 9 members on the mission while three left behind at the warehouse watching over Sebastian. Shouldn’t there be 10 on the mission?
Tags: books, critique by amateur, ghostwalker series, reviews

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