Title: Blood and Circuses (The Administration #8)
Author: Manna Francis
Publisher: Casperian Books
Buy link: Amazon.com
Release Date: July 1 2015
Genre(s): Science Fiction (Dystopian)
Page Count: 290 pp
Reviewed by: LenaLena
Heat Level: 1 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
It’s set to be a busy autumn in New London and beyond. With the ripples of the revolt still running through the European Administration, Val Toreth is slowly settling into the new flat he shares with Keir Warrick. But on orders from the very highest levels of the Administration, Toreth finds himself leaving his regular beat far behind and heading over the Atlantic to Washington D.C. Without his usual team or his authority as a Para-investigator to back him up, Toreth is caught up in a world of politics, diplomacy, and religion far outside his experience. Worst of all, he’s stuck with an unexpected and very unwanted companion on his trip. Can he keep his cool and win through when international reputations are on the line?
Back in New London, Investigator Barret-Connor is called on to deal with a case that lies outside the traditional areas of interest of the Investigation and Interrogation Division–the unexpectedly dangerous world of Europe’s music corporations. With dark secrets hidden behind the PR-groomed public façade, both his professional skills and conscience will be tested.
The eighth book in the Administration series contains the novellas Innocent Blood and For Your Entertainment, and continues the lives of now partially domesticated Para-investigator Val Toreth and somewhat harried corporate director Keir Warrick.
The Administration series is that rare kind of series where the latter books are even better than the earlier books. Blood and Circuses is book 8 in the series, and rumor has it that it was written after Manna Francis finished writing the as yet unpublished book 9. I am looking forward to that one, because this one was good, but it wasn’t as great as book 5, 6 and 7 (which are my favorites). The main reason is that this book lacks tension. Manna is a fantastic author. She is great at writing tension. She has managed to keep the overarching plot line of Toreth and Warrick’s developing relationship full of subtle and not so subtle tension over the space of seven books, gradually upping the stakes, without ever allowing either of the main characters to become twisted or sugary versions of their earlier selves. There have also been plenty of books with external tension, due to Toreth’s job, the realities of living a dystopian bureaucracy and, of course, the shenanigans of the Socioanalyst we all love to hate, Jean-Baptiste Carnac.
This book has none of that. There is no tension -or further development- between Warrick and Toreth in the only story that features them both and there is no outside threat. The first story is an interesting case that requires Toreth to travel to the USA. Which is not a dystopian bureaucracy, like Europe, but it has its own nasty flavor of a future gone bad. It’s a good story, but there is not much at stake for Toreth and he kind of breezes through it. The last story is told from Barret-Connor’s POV and, once again, it’s good, but that is all. I like B-C and I like the look into the underbelly of the entertainment industry, but it doesn’t translate into a a story that makes me teeter on the edge of my seat. Not like the last few books did, anyway.
So, this one looks good in my book case, next to its seven brothers and sisters, but it won’t be the one I will be rereading several times.
Also: I am not pleased that the ebook version of this book did not come out at the same time as the paperback. Especially with the font of the paperback as small as it is. As if only people with perfect eyesight deserve to read it right away.