Book Review: Christine Feehan’s Viper Game

Posted April 24, 2015 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Christine Feehan’s Viper Game

Viper Game


by

Christine Feehan


action & adventure, military science fiction, romance that was published by Jove on January 27, 2015 and has 448 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.
one-star

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Dark Predator, Savage Nature, Spirit Bound, Darkest at Dawn, Samurai Game, Dark Storm, Leopard's Prey, Air Bound, Hot Blooded, Power Game, Earth Bound, Spider Game, "Dark Crime"

Eleventh in the GhostWalker military science fiction romance series and revolving around psychically and physically enhanced men, women, and babies. The couple focus is on Wyatt Fontenot and Pepper.

My Take

When I heard there was a new GhostWalker installment, well, I was so excited I started counting down the days. When I got it, I hovered between gotta read it right now and trying to hold off to make it last longer. Feehan managed to make it last longer all by herself. It was endless, and I was so incredibly disappointed.

I don’t know what’s going on in Feehan’s life or if she’s getting confused with all the series she has going on, but this reads more like a story from her Leopard People series — overly melodramatic. She must be feeling desperate for drama as well, so she brought babies into this mix.

The page count is pumped up by all the repetition. Jesus. I liked that Wyatt insists that he and Pepper talk out their issues before they make stupid moves, so naturally an additional trope has to include Pepper getting ready to run every other minute. Without talking to Wyatt. Because she’s so flawed. He can’t possibly love her. She’s dangerous to him, to his Nonny. Oh, woe, she must flee. Without talking to Wyatt. Even though he’s so dominating and strong. So protective. Gag.

Yeah, it does go on and on like this. No, I lie. It’s worse. Wait’ll you get to the end of the big battle scene after Pepper has killed a man using her wiles. Oh, no! She killed someone to protect the babies and the team. Oh, she must be so flawed. Wyatt will hate her forever. More gagging.

Feehan repeats this crap over and over. God forbid you should forget how much Pepper hates and fears men. How much she loves the babies. How possessive Wyatt is about Pepper, but he hates women. I got to wondering, as Pepper yammers on about how unworthy she is, why doesn’t Wyatt tell her about Flame?

There’s the descent into the insta-attraction melodramatic trope. Pepper feels the attraction to Wyatt’s confidence, his ability to dominate, command a room, the sheer sexual pull. Naturally, Wyatt’s heart did a curious somersault and his cock stirred … she was built for long, lazy nights on the bayou…. Of course, neither likes the other sex. They’ve sworn off men/women. So we spend the entire story fighting and fucking.

Ya know, I do enjoy sex scenes, lovemaking, whatever you want to call it… and I found myself skipping a lot of it. Partly because Wyatt is so clumsily dominant and irrationally jealous.

Feehan is also clumsy in portraying the initial team — Wyatt, Malichai, and Ezekiel — as having cat genes. Oh, she tells us every some clutch of pages, but if it weren’t for the tell, I’d never know it. She talks about the men having a need to hunt, to rage because of the cat within them. We never do actually go hunting, unless it’s to go to the evil compound. I suppose you could say their defense against the attack at the house involved hunting. Technically.

While I like that Wyatt is trying to communicate, that he comes to see Pepper’s perspective on his actions, I don’t understand why he’s so quick to be mad angry-possessive. Yeah, yeah, I know all about the cat genes making him territorial, but it’s out of all proportion.

“I’m the boss, not bossy, there’s a difference.”

Feehan sets up the possibility for tension in the team over Pepper — and not just the sexual attraction aspect — and whether she’s part of a trap. But it doesn’t go anywhere. It gets a few mentions, and that’s it. I guess it was easier just to cut-and-paste the I want you / I don’t want you along with all the sex onto the pages (over and over and over) rather than use her brain to develop this.

There are some funny bits in here. Wyatt’s “teaching” the granny-bashing guard some manners, Draden’s reminders to Trap to be nice, the encounter with Harley and the snotty Lucia, Nonny’s stories about how she raised the boys. It sounds beautiful and so very cozy and homey.

Um, if you’re planning to include French in a story, know that the language has the formal vous and the familiar tu. I don’t think lovers are using vous between themselves.

Feehan says “the Fontenot home is old, even for the bayou”, and then she goes on to repeat how the boys Nonny raised built the house for her. Huh, I thought those boys were only in their 30s, and I gotta confess, I don’t think a less than 30-year-old house is that old.

Oh, gimme a break. Wyatt’s complaining that Pepper didn’t tell them how many guards would be on the roof, and a few paragraphs later, he’s stating that they “reconned multiple times”. And Pepper’s so brilliant, she doesn’t think to warn the boys about the enhanced soldiers Braden has?

If you have time to waste reading, go ahead BUT get it from the library.

The Story

There are strangers in the bayou and a terrified woman with a baby on the run. She’s desperate. Desperate to return and rescue the two babies who were caught when she and Ginger escaped.

Now Wyatt and his friends have come home in answer to Nonny’s request, and they won’t be putting up with such behavior. Nor allowing anyone to hurt a child.

The Characters

Pepper is a GhostWalker who believes she’s flawed. She’s been trained to be a seductress who can kill with a bite, and her body has been manipulated to put her into an ever-increasing heat if she goes too long with sex. She and the viperous, 17-month-old babies who run like the wind, communicate with ASL, and are obviously very intelligent — Ginger, Cannelle, and Thym — are scheduled for termination.

Dr. Wyatt Fontenot grew up in the bayou with the ability to hear others in his mind and do psychic healing. He left in a temper, making a poor decision. Grand-mere, Grace Fontenot, is Nonny, their 80-plus-year-old beloved, respected, very intelligent, plant-gathering grandmother who raised her grandsons and lives in the bayou. Raoul, a.k.a., Gator, is one of his three brothers, and he’s married to Flame (see Night Game, 3).

Wyatt’s team of GhostWalkers have been…
…psychically and physically enhanced and cat genes added to their DNA. Their day jobs are in the Pararescue Jumpers, an Air Force Special Forces team. Malichai and Ezekiel (can manipulate snakes, frogs, and insects) Fortunes are two of the three brothers who raised themselves on the street (Modichai will show up later) with Mal and Zeke part of Wyatt’s initial team. Draden Freeman, a.k.a., Sandman, was a model before he went for the enhancements, and he’s an amazing medic.

Trap Dawkins is a billionaire who retains everything he’s ever read and decided to go for the enhancements *eye roll* (he can get through any building and is a straight-up assassin) — they call him the iceman. He has no clue how to behave in society and doesn’t care enough to be nice, although Wyatt says that Trap feels compassion. There’s an interesting insight much later in the book from Trap and why he befriended Wyatt. And he’s being set up for his own story. Daryl Monroe is Trap’s assistant.

Lily Whitney Miller is Whitney’s daughter, and she hates everything her father stood for. She’s married to Captain Ryland Miller, the leader of the GhostWalkers (see Shadow Game, 1).

Wilson Plastics is…
…run by Dr. Braden. The boys believe the compound is a blind for human experimentation. The guards include Blake, Larry, Jim, and Pierre is one of the enhanced ones.

Cayenne is a new reject brought to Wilson Plastics.

Dr. Peter Whitney is the evil mad scientist all the GhostWalkers have been chasing since Shadow Game and his ugly head is raised up in this one as well. Violet Freeman is officially a widow and a traitorous GhostWalker; she’s hooked up with Whitney.

Delmar Thiboudeaux owns the Huracan Club and saw the Rougarou that haunts the swamps. A traiteur is the local healer whom Nonny supplies with plants. Joy Chassion is the popular girl whom Wyatt had thought he loved. Mrs. Marsh owns the clothing store and is the biggest gossip in the area. Harley Jetter is an old friend from high school who chose to stay on the river. Lucia is with Harley, but angling for Wyatt’s attention. Alain Daughtry works as a shoe salesman now and has always thought he has a right to any woman he wants.

Sergeant Major Theodore Griffen ran one of the GhostWalker teams.

The Cover and Title

The cover is well done. Pepper is gorgeous with her bedroom eyes and the pink scales beneath them, the pouty lips, the black hair twisted into a loose braid with a very snake-like roundness, a pattern of scales embedded into her hair. The background is deep in the bayou, overgrown with trees and plants. Look carefully and you’ll see the green snake slithering down along the right side of Pepper’s head.

The title is too accurate, for this deadly maneuver is a Viper Game.

one-star