Author: J.C. Nelson
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Grimm Agency #1
Mass Market Paperback, 294 pages
Publication: July 29, 2014 by Ace
Source: I received a review copy from the publicist in exchange for a honest review.
When it comes to crafting happily-ever-afters, the Agency is the best in the land of Kingdom. The Fairy Godfather Grimm can solve any problem—from eliminating imps to finding prince charming—as long as you can pay the price…
Working for Grimm isn’t Marissa Locks’s dream job. But when your parents trade you to a Fairy Godfather for a miracle, you don’t have many career options. To pay off her parents’ debt and earn her freedom, Marissa must do whatever Grimm asks, no matter what fairy-tale fiasco she’s called on to deal with.
Setting up a second-rate princess with a first-class prince is just another day at the office. But when the matchmaking goes wrong, Marissa and Grimm find themselves in a bigger magical muddle than ever before. Not only has the prince gone missing, but the Fae are gearing up to attack Kingdom, and a new Fairy Godmother is sniffing around Grimm’s turf, threatening Marissa with the one thing she can’t resist: her heart’s wishes.
Now Marissa will have to take on Fairies, Fae, dragons, and princesses to save the realm—or give up any hope of ever getting her happy ending.
Free Agent jumped on my radar months ago. I haven’t read any Urban Fantasies that tackled classic fairy-tales and was curious how it would be. The beginning of the book was kind of hard getting into; it was so different from the usual types of Urban Fantasies I read. It had a lot going on and if I had to describe this book in one word it’d be wacky. However, being wacky was a good thing! After a few chapters, I found myself immersed in Marissa’s world where the only currency that matters is glitter (Yes, you read that right) and High Kingdom/Low Kingdom is superimposed over our world, and only those with magic can enter…or in Marissa’s case a special bracelet from her boss Grimm, The Fairy Godfather. Marissa is Grimm’s agent; she works the odd jobs from disposing an imp to being the ‘wrong girl’ (to know what I mean, you got to read the book!) hoping to pay off her parent’s debt.
It took a few chapters for me to get invested into the story and in our main heroine and narrator, Marissa. I’ll admit I wasn’t so keen with the world building, everything I read seemed so comical from the glitter currency, Marissa dressing up in a red cape and using pigs to barter with the wolves, to matching a prince and princess for a HEA ending. But I was so wrong. Nelson actually made everything work, and no sooner I found myself unable to put down the book. Even when I did put it down, my mind kept going back to the book desperate to find out what will happen next. I ended up enjoying Free Agent more than I expected. The world that Nelson created is so unique and unlike anything I’ve ever read; with all the fairy-tales you can think of incorporated but with Nelson adding his own personal spin on it.
I really like the main character Marissa. She’s been barter by her parents at the age of 16 in exchange to help save her little sister Hope’s life and you’d think anyone being an indenture servant/agent would have a crummy attitude or outlook on life but Marissa takes everything in great strides. Marissa is only human, relying on magical gadgets and potions to get the job done but what she lacks in magic/power she makes up for in personality and heart. Another character that stood out from the crowd was Princess Arianna (Ari) who happens to be one of the agency’s clients in search of a Prince. Most of the Prince and Princess are described as ridiculously good-looking and of course stuck-up but Ari is the complete opposite. Ari is seen as an underdog and second string princess at the start of the book but progressed greatly into her own person who was strong and independent by the end of the book.
Free Agent is an exciting action packed debut that will have you up till the early morning and laughing out loud till your inside hurts. I love everything about this new series. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for something creative, fresh and unique. Free Agent is a boat load of fun with plenty of snarky dialogue to boot. I’m already looking forward to the sequel, Armageddon Rules which comes out next February. I’m already counting down the days…a little under 7 more months to go! LOL.