For Tess Kendrick, a junior at the elite Hardwicke School in Washington D.C., fixing runs in the family. But Tess has another legacy, too, one that involves power and the making of political dynasties. When Tess is asked to run a classmate’s campaign for student council, she agrees. But when the candidates are children of politicians, even a high school election can involve life-shattering secrets.
Meanwhile, Tess’s guardian has also taken on an impossible case, as a terrorist attack calls into doubt who can–and cannot–be trusted on Capitol Hill. Tess knows better than most that power is currency in D.C., but she’s about to discover first-hand that power always comes with a price.
“Tell her,” I said, “that I am my mother’s daughter.”
After reading The Fixer last year with Sara and Abby I hadn’t planned on continuing on with its sequel. But, when Sara and Abby suggested we read The Long Game this month, I went along with it. And I’m happy to report that Barnes upped her game with this sequel.
My biggest problem with The Fixer was the lack of shock factor in the mystery. There were the occasional thrilling moments but overall, I found it a little underwhelming. This time, you can tell that Barnes took her time crafting the bigger picture and paying attention to smaller details.
The plot of this book revolves around two events: the student president election at Hardwicke and a romantic scandal involving President Nolan’s son and a convicted terrorist. What impressed me was the relationship between the events and the parallels in Tess’ and Ivy’s actions in dealing with them. Whether or not Tess had wanted to accept the fact that she was a fixer in the previous book (by nature or by blood), the reality was concrete in this book: Tess was a fixer, and she acted it from the very first page.
Expanding on my favourite aspect from The Fixer, the theme of family is bigger than ever in this book. With the truth about Tess’ parentage out in the open there was free reign to further explore the complications of Tess’ and Ivy’s relationship. While it took some time and progress was slow, it was there. But the familial aspect wasn’t isolated to Tess and Ivy anymore, now we have the addition of Adam and William Keyes as uncle and grandfather, respectively, with the latter having a greater role than the former.
In my review of The Fixer, I mentioned that Barnes knows how to write great characters. We can see that plainly in characters like Tess and Ivy and William Keyes, but when it comes to developing other characters I’m beginning to wonder. For example, Adam, Bodie, Asher, and Vivvie. They haven’t changed much at all from who they were in the prequel. And this was a shame because some of these characters are just so likable!
The last thing I want to mention is the loose ends. The Fixer is meant to be a two-part story but when it’s all said and done, there are questions and threads left untied. Whether these are going to be forever unanswered or Bloomsbury will commission a third book depending on the sales from this one is just too much.
In conclusion, The Long Game is a worthy sequel to The Fixer. But as a conclusion to the story, it could use some work. I would not mind a third book if it meant answers and some growth on my favourite comic relief.