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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
Jaguars and Other Game is a historical novel by Brynn Barineau. Set in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1809, the book follows the adventures of Maria and Isabel Azevedo, two sisters who lead a mule train to transport gold from the mines in Minas Gerais to the city port. When the ruthless commander of the royal guard, Miguel Vidigal, falsely charges one of their friends with murder, Maria and Isabel are left with no choice but to hunt for the real culprit. Fortuitously, they find an unlikely ally in the form of Victoria Cruz, maid to the Mad Queen who is desperate to escape the royal palace. Soon, Maria, Isabel, and Victoria uncover a deeper conspiracy involving members of the royal family that puts all of their lives in grave danger. Will they be able to solve the mystery and save their friend?
Jaguars and Other Game is a thrilling rollercoaster of a novel filled with action, humor, and romance. Brynn Barineau weaves a captivating plot and complements it with some well-fleshed-out character work that makes the pages fly by without you even realizing it. Every major character has a compelling backstory and hidden depths underneath their outward personas, which makes them feel dynamic and relatable to the reader. Maria, Isabel, and Victoria all have very distinct traits, and this results in some amusing interactions between them. Barineau's dialogue and humor hit the nail right on the head for me, and I genuinely chuckled out loud many times while reading the book. Highly recommended.