I have read this book and am very disappointed. I have been a Plum fan for years. One For the Money was the first book I ever read that had me laughing out loud. I loved all the characters and their quirks. I think the series has gone on for too long. JE has apparently lost interest. Fearless Fourteen was a compilation of scenes, conversations and gags from the previous books. The book was boring. The way Lula was portrayed was embarassing. She tricked Tank into thinking he proposed to her??? Then she worries about a pre-nup agreement??? There was no romance in this book at all. Morelli keeps trying to remember if he really did sleep with his cousin (in his garage..hey..it was dark in there) ICK. Mooner was in the book...not even stoned...It was like reading a mediocre fan fic. Thank goodness I didn't pay for this read. I usually buy the audio book CDs and the hard back book the day of the book's release. NOT this time. I'm done. The book just seemed empty....no triangle tension....just Morelli goes to work...comes home....eat...who is going to take care of Zook?....go back to work....eat...should we have sex?...not with the kid here....work ...eat...work...eat. YUCK.
I couldn't disagree more. Janet has returned us to the 'burg, bringing in the great characters from the past books. Lula & Tank were just too funny, tricking him into marriage is just SO Lula! And his reaction was priceless. While Mooner wasn't stoned he sure did bring a lot of fun to his guard duties. As for Joe and his memory- you couldn't be more wrong. In the end the truth does come out and there's no doubt who was the father of his cousin's child. Ranger was back to being the great mentor he was in the beginning, the teasing banter between Joe and Stephanie was spot on. Even Grandma Mazur was back from her stint as a caricature to being a really funny part of the story. I can't wait to go to Foxwoods to tell Ms. Evanovich just how much I loved this book.
That was me, too, K. I loved every bit of Fearless Fourteen. Loved seeing the history, the beloved Burg characters, the interactions with Mooner and Zook, Ranger got some downright hysterical lines, Stephanie and Joe were great, and Lula and Tank were hilarious. As for the Joe/Zook connection (or lack thereof) I'll have to go back and re-read, but what I got from my first reading (granted, I was going as fast as I could! LOL!) was that he a) couldn't remember ever having sex with Zook's mom (which is different than 'I don't know if I had sex with her or not'--how some of the negative reviews are interpreting that) and b) always used condoms. Some reviewers have complained that Joe wasn't concerned enough that he might be Zook's father. But if Joe didn't have sex with the mother, and used condoms except with Stephanie, it would have taken an immaculate conception to produce Zook. He wasn't concerned because he knew it wasn't a possibility. <<shrug>> That was my take on it anyway. Like you, I loved Grandma Mazur in this one. She was absolutely funny, and her own usual zany self, without the over-the-top caricature she'd become in the past couple of books. All in all, this was probably my favorite book in a long time.
I sadly would have to agree wholeheartedly with Susan. This book was tired and reeked of Janet not caring about her characters anymore. If she was tired or overworked - take a year off. This book was so disappointing to me. Recycled plots, scenes copied right from her previous books - it's all so sloppy and not what we've come to expect from this author. I have been a loyal fan for years - I own all the books and many audios - this book will not be on my shelf.
I thought the way she treated Lula was disrespectful. This is a woman who was raped and tortured, and she's now (all of a sudden) so desperate for marriage that she resorts to lying and deception? That's not the Lula I know and love. Joe is not my favorite person, but the way she turned him into a man who brags about sleeping with so many women he can't remember doing it with his cousin (ick!) is just slimy. I am one of Janet's most loyal fans, and this book is just not up to her previous levels of excellence.
If you read the content of this story, Loves To Read, you would have seen, in print, in black and white, that Joe was hardly bragging. THen again, I guess it's all in how you interpret what you read. I think one of the main problems with the negative reviews showing up all over the internet is that there's a distinct lack of the Ranger character advancing as a sure-fire love interest. He was told to "find another direction" by Stephanie, and when he invited her to his bed she declined, saying she missed Joe. And on and on.
As for the recycling- it's nothing new at all. It's been done in the last several books. This book is packed full of freshness and humor.
I did read the story and I think he was bragging. I also think that laughing about not using a condom when he took Steph's virginity by telling her she was special was appalling. Second only to his writing about deflowering her on the wall of the sub shop and the sports stadium.
I didn't bring up Ranger because I didn't want my review to be just about the triangle, because that's not what bothered me about this book. Ranger and Steph had less time together than previous books, but even their scenes together lacked the trademark Evanovich funniness and enthusiasm that she has built her empire on. I like that Steph admits to being in love with both men - I think it adds tension to the series. And you're right - Janet is a master of leaving things open to interpretation. When Steph suggests he find another direction, maybe she was urging him to step up to the plate. And I don't believe that, in previous books, Janet has lifted whole scenes and recycled them, like she has in this one. It's just not right. This book was her worst effort - and since she's such a great writer, I expect more.
Step up to the plate? LOL! Yeah, okay. And I completely disagree with your interpretation of them (not just him) talking about not using a condom their first time together, and how they'd be happily married by now if she HAD gotten pregnant.
I haven't enjoyed a JE book this much since Four to Score...I've already done a second read-through.
If she HAD gotten pregnant, he wouldn't have known - he took off for the Navy right after. And Steph did not agree that they'd be happily married.
Look - I'm not going to get into an argument on interpretations. I personally don't like what JE did to the characters in this book and obviously you do. You have a right to your opinions, same as I - and we're not going to change each other's minds.
I also really enjoyed this book. It's one of the best Plum books to come out in quite some time. The humor was there in spades, the mystery lightweight which is what Janet writes best. Sometimes JE gets a miss when she attempts to combine humor with darker material and in this book it was just fun from beginning to end. I loved seeing the return to the Burg characters, and the history of the series mined through discussion of past events. There was no more recycling in this book than there was in some of the other recent Plum books. Wasn't TS basically a recycle of HS? This book was classic JE, bringing back the humor, characters and teamwork and chemistry of Joe and Stephanie that made the early books so great. And without the distracting "noise" of the triangle which had gone on too long. It was great to see Ranger and Steph act like friends, without the sleazy come-ons or whiny pandering "do you think you could change your ways for me and commit?" That to me was far more demeaning to a female character than anything Lula did. I enjoyed Steph's interactions with Ranger in FF in which she held her own as an equal. Why should she have to simper around him?
And I agree with EasyStreet regarding the paternity issue. Joe was pretty certain, due to his use of condoms, that Zook wasn't his so why should he be concerned. And I didn't see any of the comments made by Joe as bragging. He's owned up to his past and apologized for it many times. And he's so far from that person in who he is now. And I'm confused as to why Steph's reaction to Zook possibly being Joe's is confusing and wierd, when she accepted the fact that Ranger is Julie's father? If Steph were to enter into a relationship with Ranger, she'd have to accept Julie and she does. So the same would go for Zook, and her reaction to Zook is in keeping with her character. I thoroughly enjoyed this newer mature Steph. She still loves adventure and gets herself into zany situations, but her loyal and integrity are back and she thinks before she acts.
I have to agree that I was disappointed in this book. It felt to slap stick to me. I have to say, I loved Mooner and the potato cannon because it brought back memories of my own in my youth. I just thought it seemed flat. I don't know what purpose it served for Steph to be blue. Who's toes were they? Who was the bad guy? These books (which I generally love) are billed as romance/mystery. We can debate all day whether there was romance or not but there wasn't much mystery. I didn't laugh out loud at all. I chuckled a few times. I was embarrassed for Lula. It made me want to look away and not witness her being such an idiot. It made me uncomfortable. I won't be paying money for it. I don't really read the books for the triangle and I don't really care who she ends up with, but I want a good story and this one just wasn't it for me. I'm glad for those of you that did like it. That's what makes the world go round eh?
Someone pointed out in the beginning of their post just what was wrong with Fearless Fourteen, it was mystery lightweight. Janet Evanovich books are categorized as mystery and I would say that this was a featherweight mystery at best. Missing from this book was any kind of exciting plot. There was no real antagnoist. There was no build-up to a great climax where the mystery is solved. It just limped along and then ended. I found myself bored and for the first time with a Stephanie Plum novel, putting it down and picking up another book to read.
Also missing from the book in my opinion was the trademark Evanovich sharp, witty humor. I did not laugh out loud once in this book, and that was a huge dissapointment for me. I miss the more subtle humor, and innuendo that makes Janet so funny.
As for the triangle, I have to say that I missed that too. This book lacked any real emotion between characters. Regardless of which male lead a reader prefers, this book lacked passion, it lacked romance, it lacked mystery, and it lacked humor.
I agree with you very much Susan. Here are my thoughts...
I'm not sure I can explain how disappointed I am after reading Fearless Fourteen and I want to make it very clear that it has nothing to do with Joe vs. Ranger which many people seem to assume.
This book was BORING. Plain and simple. There was no real feeling. At one point Stephanie says that she's paralyzed by terror but other than being told that's how she's feeling, you'd never know. There was no suspense, no drama, heck there weren't even any LOL moments which is a first for me, even with the between-the-numbers books. It was as if every character had lost their edge, whether they are normally sexy, crazy, scary, wacky, whatever. This time they just weren't. It was like Janet took each character and watered them down.
I have never before devoted myself to an author or a series the way I have to Evanovich and Plum. After Lean Mean Thirteen I was willing to toss that mess up to a fluke and remain devoted. After reading Fearless Fourteen, there's no other explanation for it other than Janet Evanovich doesn't care about her characters or her fans whom repeatedly shell out top dollar for her books. If she cared she would do more to put out a quality product. Most of the characters and scenes and the entire so-called plot of FF were reused from her previous books. I think that Janet needs to realize that she can't rely on brand-loyalty forever. I have been involved in the Evanovich fandom for many years and since LMT came out the tides have turned. Love and loyalty have been replaced with disgust and disappointment. It's a shame. I think that Janet lost sight of what should be important, her fans and her characters, pride in a well-written novel and is driving the series into the ground for the sake of making money. I have never before hoped for the series to end but after Lean Mean Thirteen and Fearless Fourteen, the series needs to be put out of its misery.
Some people get them as a perk of working in the publishing industry, others get them, as one option, on Ebay. Type "fearless fourteen ARC". There's one ending in 1 day for $66. Depending on the buzz for the book, they vary widely in price. This one is pretty low.
The funny thing is, when I read TS I and several other Plum readers I know said the same thing. That JE used a ghostwriter for TS. The plot holes were immense (why was it that Ranger HAD to stay with Steph when he has his own safe house that he offered to Steph in TTN?), the plot was recycled from HS when Ranger was FTA, and the characters were NOTHING as they'd been written early on. Steph, previously maybe confused by her feelings for two men, was now openly cheating with one with no remorse whatsoever for the one man she has been interested in from the beginning of the books. Ranger, an avowed opportunist, took it one too far when he climbed into bed with Steph when she specifically told him he wasn't invited. Why was a child killing a man when the books are supposed to be light-hearted? Anyway, I was sure JE had used a ghostwriter for the wreck that was TS. Nobody was acting right. I can't say how many people on discussion boards vehemently denied this idea and vilified anyone who even suggested it. Funny how now the idea is being proposed again when the new book isn't met with satisfaction. I for one love the new book and feel that the characters are once again acting as they did in the EARLY books. The ones people may have forgotten about since the travesties of TBO, EOT and TS are fresh in everyone's mind. But the characters of FF are those that were introduced in books 1-5 and I for one am so happy to see them back.