Sunday, June 24, 2018

Review Sunday: The Masterminds by Olivia Wildenstein (Masterful #2)


Masterful #2 (trilogy - 3rd installment set for release in 2019)
Released: 2016
334 pages

Blurb:
"When the perfect plan goes perfectly wrong.

The only downside to Joshua Cooper’s investigation of a mob runner is not being able to discuss it with the two people closest to him, 19-year-old twins, Aster and Ivy Redd.

That is...until Aster is accused of killing the mob runner. Then discussing it becomes the least of his worries.

Desperate to exonerate the girl he loves, Joshua dives into Indianapolis's dark underbelly, and uncovers a string of crimes and lies that leads him straight to the Masterpiecers's art show.

Straight to Ivy..."




Review:
I received a copy of The Masterminds from the author, Olivia Wildenstein.  All opinions expressed are my own.

I really don't know how I feel about this.  On one hand, I love the story (see my previous review!) but on the other, I don't think this second volume was capitalized upon enough.

1.  The characters.  This is the part that I really enjoy.  We spend an extensive amount of time with each of the main characters (there are three notable ones) in their POV's and their characters are developed nicely.  The mystery element of the story really lends itself to a sort of psychoanalysis that the author engages in enthusiastically.  I loved the investigation of each character's motivations and how they interplayed with each other.

2.  The plot.  This is the bit I have an issue with.  The first two thirds of the book is basically a retelling of what happened in the whole of the first book, but with a different perspective: this time, on the other side of the mystery (Brook and Josh vs. Ivy).  Honestly, I don't think it was really necessary to devote that much page time to it.  It felt repetitive and I found myself becoming increasingly impatient with the pace.  I enjoyed seeing the other side of the story, but it expanded to take up most of the book which I don't think was necessary.  However, the last third was a very enjoyable addition to the plot and while I found the ending to be a bit of a whirlwind, it was a good wrap-up to the events introduced in the first book.

3.  The romance.  Again, this is something I'm not too sure about because of the repetition of events.  Basically, the new information concerning the main relationship (a love triangle that's kinda-sorta not a love triangle between Chase, Brook, and Ivy) is just that Brook massively in love with Ivy which you could already surmise by the events in the first book.  Personally, this installment felt mostly like it was catering to fans who wanted to see a new perspective on the events.  Which is great, but I think it's a good job for a novella.  In any case, the romance ended nicely and I didn't mind the love triangle too much (which is kind of saying a lot for me!).

The Final Verdict:
While this installment is a bit repetitive (and slightly unnecessary), I did thoroughly enjoy the continued character insights.
3 stars



Meet the Author:
USA TODAY bestselling author Olivia Wildenstein grew up in New York City, the daughter of a French father with a great sense of humor, and a Swedish mother whom she speaks to at least three times a day. She chose Brown University to complete her undergraduate studies and earned a bachelor’s in comparative literature. After designing jewelry for a few years, Wildenstein traded in her tools for a laptop computer and a very comfortable chair. This line of work made more sense, considering her college degree.

When she’s not writing, she’s psychoanalyzing everyone she meets (Yes. Everyone), eavesdropping on conversations to gather material for her next book, baking up a storm (that she actually eats), going to the gym (because she eats), and attempting not to be late at her children’s school (like she is 4 out of 5 mornings, on good weeks).

Wildenstein lives with her husband and three children in Geneva, Switzerland, where she’s an active member of the writing community.

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6 comments:

  1. Recaps in sequels need to be carefully balanced. Sorry this recap took over. At least the characters are great.

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    1. Yeah... my thoughts exactly. I've never seen it happen before; usually it's the other way around but then again, you never know what you'll find in books! Thanks for stopping by, Jenny!

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  2. Second book syndrome? Sorry this wasn't the greatest for you but hopefully the third book will tie everything up without being as repetitive as this one was.

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    1. Eh maybe a little. A lot of the time with trilogies, the middle book is a bit bland and just serves as a bridge from the first to the last book and there isn't really any meaningful character or plot arc's to be found. This one is a little more of just repeating what happened in the first book which I felt was unnecessary. That's what I'm hoping as well! Honestly though, I didn't even know it wasn't a duology until I looked at the GR page. It wrapped up so well in this book, I don't know where the author could even take it in the next one. I guess we shall see! Thanks for stopping by, Di!

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  3. Hmm, not sure this is one for me. That said, I usually find myself reading series out of order so maybe here I could just start in the middle?

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    1. Haha you actually could probably do that! There's SO much overlap, if you don't mind losing one of the POV's and like four references throughout the book, there's no reason not to (I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing...). Thanks for stopping by, Stephanie!

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