Once, when I was still at University, I bemoaned the fact that a side character in my novel seemed to be stealing the show from the lead. "Of course," my teacher said. "He (the side character) has more agency."
Moon Thadin, the main character of In Enemy Hands, has this problem. She lacks agency, that push
that propels our hero through the story. Without it, it was difficult to care about her.
Thadin is a scientist so obsessed with her work, she spends much of the novel blind to the manipulative politics around her. When she is told--repeatedly--by others that the project she's working on could be turned into a weapon, she shrugs the warnings off.
By the halfway mark, she's willing to concede the point, but spends another few chapters dithering on an escape plan. It's Srin, her research partner(and lover), who sets things in motion for the story's third act. Srin is charismatic and likable; his illness(a form of retrograde amnesia) intriguing. Quite frankly, I would have enjoyed the book quite a bit more if he had been the focus.
Alas, that was not to be. In the third act, Srin becomes too ill to function, and Moon Thadin is forced to grow a spine.
The last few chapters of In Enemy Hands are quite good. Tension is high, and Moon is actually being proactive, rather than reactive. The story is rolling to its conclusion. "Will Srin be all right? Will he and Moon gain their freedom?"
Unfortunately, we never find out. The plot comes to a screeching halt without a real resolution.
Which brings me to the second thing that drove me nuts about In Enemy Hands: The Ending that Wasn't.
Folks, there are enough loose threads in this book to crochet a blanket. Never have I been so flummoxed by an ending. I kept clicking the 'forward' button on my Kindle to see if I had missed something--hints of a sequel, perhaps. Nothing.
I wanted to like this book. It had received several rave reviews around the Internet, and the concept was solid. Srin was truly entertaining, and Augustin managed to revive my interest in the last third of the book.
However, In Enemy Hands left me disappointed overall.