Review of Bookburners: “Hard Bargain” by Andrea Phillips

35612753Bookburners: “Hard Bargain” by Andrea Phillips. Season Three: Episode 3.

The annual invitation to the Market Arcanum has arrived, but Ashanti’s still barred from fieldwork. With Liam and Menchú still recovering from last episode, it’s up to Sal to represent Team Three. Only, she won’t be going alone. Fox assigns Grace to join her.

“Hard Bargain” feels like a change of pace. While Sal and Grace encounter some obstacles at the Market Arcanum (and some sleuthing results), this episode generally feels like a moment for the characters to catch their breaths and reflect before the presumable storm hits. There’s definitely the sense that this episode is building up to something bigger.

Grace continues to make my heart hurt. I’ve gotten a firmer handle on what’s going through her head. While I don’t like it, I can see how she got to this point. I think the only thing that would snap her out of this (potentially depressive?) funk is if Sal and co find a way to cure her for good and let her live a normal life. Grace needs to think of herself as a person first and foremost, not a weapon.

Meanwhile, Menchú is pensive. While he doesn’t encounter much action in this episode, he spends a fair bit of time worrying over his encounter with a certain individual from last episode. The questions of who she is and what she’s up to hang over this entire episode. The tension is palpable. I think we’ve met the season three villain, and I think she’s going to be memorable.

I have a feeling things are going to get worse before they get better.

I received an ARC in exchange for a free and honest review.

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