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Pichla | Agla

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 installment in the Ghostwalker Series by Christine Feehan published in January of 2017. The plot revolves around Ezekiel "Hunter" Fortunes - Captain and Doctor of Team Four, the Elite Air Force Pararescue Team - and Bellisia "Bella" Adams - one of Dr. Peter Whitney's discards but has been highly trained to be an assassin and spy.

Brief intro of what the series is about: Ghostwalkers are a group of women and men who have special talents, including psychic and physical abilities (both enhanced genetically and natural) and some abilities more rarer than others. Dr. Peter Whitney had spear-headed this operation for a long time starting with orphan-girls and then continuing his experiments on males to convert them to super soldiers. He also pairs the orphan-girls to specific members of these super soldiers in an attempt to create the next generation. These super soldiers belong to four different teams: Team One - the special forces team, comprised of Army men, mainly Rangers and Green Berets headed by Ryland Miller with base in the mountains of Montana; Team Two - made up of Navy SEALs and headed by Logan Maxwell with base in mountains of Montana along-side Team One; Team Three - consisting of Marine Force Recon Urban Warfare Team headed by Mack McKinley with base in San Francisco and Team Four - consists of the Elite Air Force Pararescue Team headed by Joe Spagnola with base in the bayou of Louisiana. The orphan-girls are also divided into four groups. The stories follow these men and women who are marked for termination by Dr. Peter Whitney as he deems them failure and how they fight back while living their life as normal as they could.

This time around Christine concentrates her plot on Team Four - the Elite Air Force Pararescue Team. While most of the team was out in the field on a mission, Ezekiel "Hunter" Fortunes along with four other Ghostwalkers from his team - Gino, Draden, Rubin and Mordichai - stay in the Fontenot compound protecting the women - Cayenne and Pepper - and Wyatt and Pepper's triplets - Ginger, Thyme and Cannelle. However the perils are not far from home for this team. First Ezekiel is kidnapped by someone from whom Bellisia Adams - a spy and an assassin - helps in escaping. And then all hell breaks loose for Ezekiel and his team when more dangers come to their doorstop. And Ezekiel has to trust his family in the hands of a spy to fight these dangers. Will he give his trust? Will Bellisia turn around and protect him? Where will Christine take us with these and many more twists and turns is something every reader will enjoy as the plot continues.

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. I always wondered why she did so. Perhaps to set the stage for the reader I guess. But portraying them truly did elevate the character better.

Interestingly enough Christine starts the plot with the lead female character rather than the male ghostwalker who centers the plot. A slightly different approach that I see rarely in her books. We get to see more of Team Four in this book compared to the previous two plots that Christine had included them in. 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. Rest of the team is also expanded more and evolved with this plot.

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.

There is sex of course, Christine being an erotic writer. However I am pleased that her focus was on the plot this time around like many of her books. The previous book Spider Game was too much of sex and too little plot for my liking. Very excited to see her back in the game.

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. No harm in doing that but occasionally things tend to get repetitive and mundane. Yet, it was a pleasure to see more of Trap Dawkins & Cayenne (Their story told in Spider Game and my review of the book here), Wyatt Fontenot & Pepper (Their story told in Viper Game and my review of the book here), Iris "Flame" Johnson - wife of another ghostwalker from Team One, Raoul "Gator" Fontenot (Their story told in Night Game and my review of the book here), Nicolas "Nico" Trevane and Dahlia Le Blanc from Team One (Their story told in Mind Game and my review of the book here).

Looks like the past two books - Viper Game and Spider Game - and this one has been focusing on Team Four by Christine. Curious to see how the remaining unpaired members of the other teams are faring and who their partners will be.

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. I might be partially true but it was a bit disappointing that 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.

The repetitiveness of the text is far more lesser in this book than before although we do see the repeat of the history on some of the characters – which of course is warranted as Christine has come up with the next book in this series after a year. One would tend to forget what the series was about and who the characters were.

Another successful book from Christine despite some of my negative points. 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. Bellisia "Bella" Adams is not just trained to be an assassin and spy. Courtesy of Dr. Peter Whitney's experiments she acquires other super abilities that most of which Whitney is not aware of. Some of them are:
i. She can change her body head to toe to resemble the background and completely blend into it, making her a mimic and a chameleon.
ii. She has Setae on her fingers - single microscopic hairs split into hundreds of tiny bristles. An experiment that Whitney had apparently been successful in producing setae small enough to hold a human being, but an experiment he wasn’t aware of it yet cause Bellisia hid her ability from him like most of the ghostwalkers.
iii. She could make herself as small as possible so she could not be detected.
iv. She has octopus-like abilities that forces her to be in water more than on land. She suffers serious dryness when on land for a long time.
v. When injured she can repair her cells enough to stop bleeding.
vi. She has venom in her spit that is deadly enough to kill anyone upon contact and there is no  anti-dote for her venom.
vii. She can retain anything heard or seen or read – word for word.
viii. She can break computer code without any outside help but just by using her brains – and along with Zara and Shylah’s brains.
b. Just like any ghostwalker, Ezekiel also comes with powers not only physical and psychic but also acquired because of Dr. Peter Whitney's experiments:
i. He could foresee danger to him or people around him few moments before it actually happens.
ii. His eyes glowed like an animal's eyes with a strange power in them. What more does his eyes could do?
iii. He has incredible speed in anything he did in combat.
iv. He has enormous power in him that when unleashed cannot be stopped by an army -  a dark and scary weapon hidden inside him. And he could manipulate that energy to his needs.
v. He has acute hearing.
vi. He can pitch his voice very low almost hypnotic.
c. A third villain enters in the mix with this plot. We are introduced to Bernard Lee Cheng - a ruthless Chinese business who wants everything that Dr. Whitney has with regards to the Ghostwalker program.

2) Powers other Ghostwalkers have form Team Four – Elite Air Force Pararescue Team
a. Master Sergeant Gino Mazza: Has an acute sense of smell that helps him identify the enemies, has an x-ray vision that he can see through walls and blockades, can also blend into the surroundings but not exactly like Bellisia, can crawl up the walls and roof like spiders. We also see how Gino comes to be part of Team Four in this plot.
b. Lieutenant Draden Freeman Doctor: Has an acute sense of smell that helps him identify the enemies, can crawl up the walls and roof like spiders.
c. Colonel Joe Spagnola – squadron leader for the Ghostwalker PJs and a Doctor: He is immune to Violet’s compelling voice, doesn’t give away energy to be identified as a ghostwalker.
d. Trap Dawkins: Has Asperger’s Syndrome with a very high IQ. I read his story in Spider Game but somehow this part eluded me.
e. Rubin and Diego Campo: Both of them can track anything and find anything, can make a bomb out of anything and take apart one faster than anyone else could. A much more detailed flash back on how they come about to be part of Team Four is shown in this plot.
i. Rubin Campo has the ability to psychically heal anyone. Christine uses a similar ability for her characters in the Carpathian Dark Series (My review on some of the books in this series here). For those characters it made sense, but it is a bit hard to believe these ghostwalkers to have the same character. However considering the enhancements it is not surprising. I wish we have such talents for real. So much good can be done, of course so much bad can also be done.

3) Sub-plots: Like any author Christine also has sub-plots introducing characters that make us want to see more about them in future books.
a. We also get introduced – by names only - the remaining six orphan-girls in the facility that Bellisia was housed:
i. Scarlet, Blue, Cat, Amaryllis, Shylah, Zara.
ii. Zara is Bellisia's best friend in that location. The way Bellisia mentions about her made me wonder if Chrsitine would have her as the key character in the next book. And true to that, her website shows a book to be released in mar 2018 titled Covert Game focusing on Gino Mazza and Zara Hightower – again a Team Four plot.
b. Whitney's atrocities: Every book we hear new atrocities performed or planned by Dr. Peter Whitney that make one not only cringe but have their skin crawled
i. Whitney would inject the orphan-girls as part of his experiments with a drug called Zenith before going on a mission with a time limit. This would force the girls to go back to Whitney for an anti-dote.
ii. Whitney's breeding facility in United States had been destroyed by the Ghostwalker men and women who had escaped his facilities and didn’t want to keep them open. However Whitney opened a new one in Italy now. Curious to see if the Ghostwalkers will destroy it too eventually.
iii. Dr. Whitney put a chipped device – sometimes multiple - in every orphan-girl he experimented on so he could track them if ever they escaped.
iv. He also paired his orphan-girls with the ghostwalkers in the chance that they would give super soldiers as kids. But he doesn’t pair just one girl with one ghostwalker, but with multiple ghostwalkers. Cruelty and inhumanity at the top is seen in Dr. Whitney that makes the reader’s skin crawl.
c. Gerald and Adam are the super soldiers created by Whitney who are Bellisia's handlers. How will these characters evolve is something to watch for in this plot. And perhaps an elaborate sub-plot will be seen for them in future books.
d. Ezekiel has two brothers - Mordichai and Malichai - who are also Ghostwalkers of Team Four. Christine must have had a plan for them in future books but I am curious to see who will be paired against them.
e. 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.
f. Joe Spagnola comments that Senator Violet Smythe-Freeman’s ability to use compelling voice does not work on him. Which reveals that she had been paired with Joe. I do hope that Christine would not miraculously make Violet one of the good ones and partner her with Joe eventually. I sincerely hope she finds another well-balanced ghostwalker girl for Joe.
i. 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.

4) A new character Donny is introduced in the plot who acts as a surrogate father to Bellisia. Will his character evolve more in future is something we have to wait and see.
5) 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.

6) 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.

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