Aparna (inspirethoughts) wrote,

Book Critique – #340: Power Game (Ghostwalker Novel #13)

Apr 5 2019: Updated the review and spoiler alerts.

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 involving mystery, eroticism, science and undefined.

Power Game is the thirteenth book in the Ghostwalker Series by Christine Feehan published in January of 20177. The central plot revolves around Ezekiel "Hunter" Fortunes - one of the three Fortunes brothers and a member of Team Four - and Bellisia "Bella" Adams - one of the orphan girls from Dr. Whitney's Group Four.

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. There are a total of four teams of GhostWalkers Men serving in various areas of law enforcement and armed forces and four groups 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, Marigold "Mari" Smith, Saber Wynter, Tansy Meadows, Rose Patterson, Azamie "Thorn" Yoshiie, La Poirve "Pepper" and Cayenne. The stories follow these men and women.

Christine seems to be continuing with the Team Four stories for now. What with the conspiracy of NASA emptying villages around Team Four's base and newer enemies keep popping up, one would expect her to continue with Team Four. However, more and more curious about Team Two and Three members since we only saw fewer plots for them. The story in this plot begins a few months after Spider Game, with most of the Team Four out on a mission and a few of them left behind to protect the women, children and Nonny.

On a mission sent out by Dr. Whitney, Bellisia "Bella" Adams finds that Team Four has been sold out to an internationally famed evil man. She comes to Louisiana bayous and the Team Four base to warn them. But instead she finds Ezekiel "Zeke" "Hunter" Fortunes instead. And he is the one sacrificed by the traitor. Bella takes upon herself to rescue him. But they have more bigger problems to fight against to just survive; one of them being their fierce attraction towards each other.

Bellisia’s smoothness is a perfect match for Ezekiel’s fluidity although to the core both are ghostwalkers. They not only match in their powers but also in emotions and love. Too good to be true for a reader but when you feel for what these ghostwalkers went through you would end up rooting for them to get this perfect match in their mate. Christine has finally showed the ghostwalker character with all their arrogance they are, true to their self, as opposed to softening them up.

Considering the tough and brash look that Ezekiel portrays, Christine made his plot much lighter than expected. She brought forth the softer side of the GhostWalker men, their humor and the love they have towards the women, children and Nonny. Some scenes did bring tears to my eyes, happy tears. Christine also gives more history about the remaining members of the team who were introduced new to us in the previous book Spider Game.

Christine goes in length to show us how the various divisions of military work together to go into hot zones all over the world, how they train for it, how they execute and complete their mission, how they handle wounded and rescued and how they come back. It probably is similar with any kind of armed forces for any country. However, just the thought of so many men and women out there protecting and serving, reading about it up close, garnered more respect and awe from me towards all those soldiers. Thank you Christine for bringing this to light.

Clearly we see that Dr. Whitney has more labs scattered across the world in this plot, some for his Breeding Program and some for creating his army of Super Soldiers. And more and more enemies are thrown at the GhostWalkers. I wonder how the end for Whitney would come.

As I mentioned in the review of Spider Game, Christine doesn’t exclusively tell that Trap Dawkins has Asperger's syndrome, but gives us all the symptoms in her scenes. However, she exclusively mentions about it in this plot.

While reading through the book, I thought the chapter 17 would be end of the plot. But Christine goes on to write three more chapters to it. First I wondered why extending the plot, but then once read I realized she sneaked in quite a few sub-plots in that three chapters alone. Smart!

And for the first time I have a favorite character from this team - Joe Sapgnola, the Team Leader. He has suddenly taken up a soft spot for me and I really want to see proper justice done to his character.

In every book we see that the orphan-girls are also super soldiers. However, Christine wraps it in the soft-nature of these girls masked with insecurity sometimes and stubbornness other times making them more human. Every plot we get more glimpses into the atrocities of Dr. Whitney on these girls when they were children and the same he does on the ghostwalkers as adults. It makes you wonder how safe your world has been and not so for so many. Makes you want to weep for these girls who haven’t known anything about childhood nor ever behaved as children.

Authors who write series like these always bring in the remaining characters in most plots to build a relationship between the characters as well as the readers. Similarly Christine brings in quite a few characters from past plots in the series reminding the reader about the other teams and other members of this team. However that tends to add repeat-paraphrasing and retelling of the old plots. Although it is lesser in this plot.

The title Power Game got me a preconceived opinion that either there would be a shift in power between Dr. Whitney and Violet or may be a new power will be introduced to the ghostwalkers abilities. It might be partially true but the plot didn’t pack as much punch as one with power would. It went smooth as silk with a few edges as these plots go but less of fire and more of embers. In a way it suited the characters though which I can totally be happy with. I believe the original title for this book had been Swamp Game as that was what Christine had announced earlier this year for this book. Swamp Game might have suited well in my opinion.

Another successful book from Christine. The series is becoming more and more intense with more players joining that Ghostwalkers have to fight against, with their surviving skills and the unimaginable twists in their powers and abilities. It would be interesting to follow each of the remaining Ghostwalker's lives and see how they eventually destroy the evil Dr. Peter Whitney.
Spoiler Alerts:

1) Plot Reveals:
a. Gerald Perkins and Adam Cox - Bella's handlers - are antagonistic towards Dr. Whitney's experiments, specially the way he treats the women. They eventually break ties from Whitney and join Team Four at the end of this plot.
b. In Spider Game, we see that Joe Spagnola is partial towards Violet Smythe despite her betrayal towards GhostWalkers. In this we see the reason why Joe gives her the benefit of doubt, he is clearly paired himself to her. But she betrays him in the ultimate way in the middle of the plot.
c. Bellisia keeps wanting her sisters of heart from the facility they were held in also to have the same kind of life that she is now going to have with Ezekiel, his team, Pepper, Cayenne, the girls and Nonny. A clear segue that mostly the next few stories at least will be centered around the remaining 6 girls from Bellisia's group - either them paired with Team Four Men or Men from other three teams.

d. Joe seems curious about the orphan-girl named Shylah aka Peony, in the facility Bellisia escaped from. Could she be the girl Joe is paired with? I sincerely hope Christine is going that route.
f. Christine leaves an open plot about a piece of land that the team Four is unable to locate owner of. I am guessing she will tie it in with the next plot or so.

2) Sub-plots:

a. In Shadow Game, Dr. Brandon Adams - GhostWalkers own doctor who takes care of them as well as keeps them safe - is introduced. But now they have their own doctors on their teams - their team members - after the betrayal of Dr. Eric Lambert in Ruthless Game.
b. In Ruthless Game, 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. A slight confusion I have as a reader on where the first two teams are located. In Conspiracy Game and after, Christine had GhostWalkers Team One and Two settling in the mountains of Montana. But in Ruthless Game, she has some of them settling in the mountains of Wyoming. And in Samurai Game, she has both Team One and Two living in Montana around the Lolo National Forest. So who is living in Wyoming?
d. GhostWalker Team Two is also sent out an mission at the same that Team One is sent in Samurai Game. Wonder if Christine will have a story from that arc for Team Two sometime in future.
e. In Viper Game we see that Pepper was trained with five other girls for ten years in a facility as soldiers. So was she part of the breeding program that Dr. Whitney, part of the remaining three girls that escaped?
f. We don’t see anything about the last two brothers of the Fontenots in either Night Game or in Viper Game. Who could they be?
g. In Spider Game, Cayenne hints at two other labs with women and children that Dr. Whitney is running while Violet indicates about six other labs where Dr. Whitney has his experiments for either termination or conducting more experiments on the Super Soldiers.
h. In Viper Game, Christine mentions about a government plot to empty five towns for a NASA project. More meat for future plots.

i. GhostWalker Team One, Army Rangers and Army Green Berets; first introduced in 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 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 marries Dahlia Le Blanc at the end of that book.
iii. Raoul "Gator" Fontenot - His story is told in Night Game, and 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 marries Tansy Meadows at the end of that book.
v. Sam "Knight" Johnson - His story is told in Samurai Game, and marries Azami "Thorn" Yoshiie at the end of that book.
vi. The rest of the team consists of Jeff Hollister; Ian McGillicuddy; Tucker Addison; Jonas "Smoke" Harper; Kyle "Ratchet" Forbes; Tom "Shark" Delaney, Sr. wrongly enhanced by Dr. Whitney and thrown away, rescued by Kadan in Murder Game.
vii. 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 Murder Game. I would like to see Christine pen a story for him soon more so because he is creeping into the reader's mind slowly.

j. GhostWalker Team Two, Paramilitary Ghostwalkers Team (Navy SEALs) working with NCIS; first introduced in 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. They have twins, Jeremiah Ken Norton and Noah Jack Norton, as of Ruthless Game.
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. Mari is pregnant with twins as of this plot.
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 introduced 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?

k. 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 buys in Street Game, as of Ruthless Game.
i. Headed by Mack "Top" McKinley. His story is told in Street Game and marries Jaimie Fielding at the end of that book, one of the girls in his group.
ii. Kane Cannon - second-in-command to Mack. His story is told in Ruthless Game and marries Rose Patterson at the end of that book. They have a baby boy, Sebastian Kane Cannon, in the middle of the plot.
iii. 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.
iv. Brian Hutton, the first member we met in Predatory Game 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?
v. Javier and Rhianna seems to have a history as being as of Ruthless Game.

l. GhostWalker Team Four: Air Force Pararescue Special Forces Team; first mentioned in Predatory Game; more revealed in Street Game; rest of the team is introduced in Viper Game and Spider Game; make base in Louisiana bayous around Gator and Wyatt's home in New Orleans. Under direct command of Major General Tennessee Milton.
i. Headed by Joe Spagnola - In this plot it is clear that Joe and Violet had some romantic entanglement in the past, and that Joe paired himself to Violet. She stabs him in an attempt to attack the Team Four fortress.
ii. Wyatt Fontenot - Raoul's brother. His story is told in Viper Game and marries Pepper at the end of that plot. They are biological parents of identical triplets produced in-vitro by Dr. Whitney - Ginger, Thym, Cannelle "Elle". She is pregnant as of this plot.
iii. Trap Dawkins - genius scientist. His story is told in Spider Game and marries Cayenne in the plot. She is pregnant now.
iv. Rest of the team consists of Malichai Fortunes; Mordichai Fortunes; Draden "Sandman" Freeman; Gino "Phantom" Mazza; Diego Campo; Rubin Campo.
v. Diego and Rubin have one sister, Star, who had joined the nuns after the tragedy that befell their family.

m. 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) Cami and two others live in a secret compound that Dr. Whitney uses for breeding program along with Mari and Rose. In the escape attempt all of them spread away.  Mari and Rose's stories have been told. Now waiting for the others to speak.

n. Group Two of Dr. Peter Whitney's Orphans: First introduced in Predatory Game. It is clear that although Thorn was later on isolated with Saber in a different facility, she was with the others in the Group One in the beginning, per this plot - Saber Wynter; Azami "Thorn" Yoshiie.

o. Group Three of Dr. Peter Whitney's Orphans: First introduced in Viper Game; originally developed in France but later kept at the facility in the Louisiana bayous for termination; mostly considered rejects by Dr. Whitney: Le Poivre "Pepper" and her triplets - Ginger, Thym and Cannelle "Elle"; Cayenne

p. Group Four of Dr. Peter Whitney's Orphans: First introduced in this plot; seven of the ten remain - Bellisia "Bella" Adams; Zara; Scarlet; Blue; Cat; Amaryllis; Shylah.

q. Dr. Peter Whitney is shown to be alive as well as psychic as of Deadly Game 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 Men and Women - 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; experimenting with animal genes and DNA; zombie soldiers with a bonish exoskeleton.

r. Dr. Peter Whitney's allies in his devious plots are:
i. Violet Smythe-Freeman - one of the Orphan Girls from Dr. Whitney's Group in the breeding program - first introduced in Deadly Game, married to Senator Ed Freeman, the one the Norton twins tried to rescue and were in turn kidnapped in Congo, conspires with Dr. Whitney to kill the Senator, gets herself paired with Whitney, so she can get to White House as of this plot. Bellisia kills her in this plot.
ii. Jacob Abrams, a loaded banker, and Senator Freeman's father, Andrew Freeman.
s. Before Violet Smythe-Freeman was killed, she made allies to eliminate the GhostWalkers with animal DNA:
i. Senator Crane from Mississippi; Senator Delgato from Florida; Senator Jenson from California and General Ivan Newman - Air Force's military service chief.

3) Places the reader travels along-side the Ghostwalkers in their fight against Dr. Peter Whitney:
a. Musi River - I know a Musi River in my hometown Hyderabad in Telangana, India. (More about that here). But didn’t know that there was a river of the same name in Indonesia. More about the river here. There was no reference anywhere to see if both the rivers were named after someone common to both countries, but I do wonder if that was the case.
b. Christine introduces John Stennis Space Center in Mississippi where Team Four train other soldiers on their missions. The center is famous for its Special Warfare Combat Craft (SWCC). I am wondering if Christine would expand this further or create another ghostwalkers Team - Team Five.

4) Grammatical / Historical / Location / Character Errors:
a. On Pg. 305, Line 21, it should be "..the word failure.."
Tags: books, critique by amateur, ghostwalker series, reviews

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