The Agency by Jessica Page is a paranormal romance with a mystery twist. The Agency is Ms. Page’s first published novel and is part of a series called Agency Hunger. Ms. Page provided me with a copy of her novel in return for a review.
We all know that I am a terrible romance reviewer but I will comment of the stuff that I understand about the concept.
Our male main character’s name is Reid. He falls into the cognitive trap of telling himself to “not think about thinking about a subject”. You know what happens then. The more you fight it, the more you think about it. Sure enough. The more Reid thought about not thinking about liking Harper the more she stuck out in his mind. Silly old vampire. Should know better by now. Especially since he discovers early one that Harper is able to read minds. I thought this was hilarious which is what romance is to me.
The other romance bit that I am able to understand is the sex part. For those of you who do not know yet, I am Norwegian. When Ms. Page told me that her novel had adult content I admit that made me curious as to whether this Viking would think so as well. Personally I think older young adults could read Ms. Page’s novel so they could learn about consensual sex. Because that was what it was. Nice, consensual sex that made me a bit horny. Well done Ms. Page – both on making me horny with your writing and for writing about kind sex. Nor was the violence especially violent.
Both Reid and Harper are extremely sexy and good-looking and that seems to be some sort of rule with romances.
We first meet Harper as she is on her way to and arrives on the subway platform. She has her first encounter with the supernatural world when a person sneaks up behind her wanting to “taste her”. Harper knows this because of what she thinks is a one-of-a-kind ability. To say that she is freaked out is putting it mildly. She turns around, sees sharp incisors and red eyes and thinks what any regular person would
“a fucking vampire standing right in front of me ready to kill me? That is not possible.”
Immediately she has her second encounter when the first vampire is pulled off her by another one – Reid.
Harper is dragged into the supernatural world disbelieving herself and who/what she meets yet finally feeling as though she fits in. Her mind-reading ability caused her adoptive parents to turn her over to a private research facility for testing and Harper had lived 8 years of her life in a laboratory being examined in all sorts of ways. Growing up is difficult enough to do under normal circumstances. Adding non-optional electric shocks and other invasive procedures has made her wary of other people’s reactions to her abilities. Discovering that she is a normal supernatural with an irregular ability must have been relaxing. Finally there is a place in this world where she belongs.
The supernatural members of Harper’s new world are werewolves, vampires and mages (Harper is a mage). You are either born or made a vampire or werewolf. Mages have to be born but do not begin manifesting their abilities until they are ten years old. Werewolves have controlled, painless transitions and they remain in charge of themselves after the change. Vampires are alive but depend on blood to feed the virus that gives them extra abilities. Both werewolves and vampires need to be coached while they are newbies so they do not allow their predatory sides to take over.
Reid is old enough that he has seen the consequences of letting his predatory side rule. His choice was to join up with the group of supernaturals that wanted to keep the community and themselves under control. He belongs to the Agency as one of their best trainers and agents. His responsibility will be to train Harper. Their job will be to help figure out why all the illegal turnings and the deaths that follow the unsuccessful ones are happening.
I liked Jessica Page’s first attempt at a novel. Sure, there is something that needs work. That is a tightening of the story. Sometimes her story falls out of the flow and she has to find her way back into the stream again. But she manages to make her text flow and that is a feat in and of itself. Her English is Canadian English.