I meant to have this review up a while ago, since I was lucky enough to snag an ARC of it, but life conspired against me (as is so often the case) and alas, I can only get it to you now. But a review! Woo! First review of 2018!
I’ll be completely upfront and say that I’m generally a little iffy on shifter books. (I’m not sure I actually knew this was properly a shifter book until after I got the ARC.) As has always been my lot, I’m willing to give anything a few fair shots, just because the genres are so varied that it’s not fair to judge them all off of only one or two books. I’d seen a lot of good things about Logan Keys, one of the co-authors, and so I figured this was a safe one to start with.
The basic premise reminds me a little of the Hawksong series I read years ago. Two shifter cultures to focus on: wolves and lions. (I’ll admit, I haven’t seen many lions mentioned around! I was pretty intrigued.) All the usual tropes exist: factions of people, broken up by animal; memories of war; humans are a myth; you get the picture. The book starts out establishing that our lead male is Not All He Ought To Be, but it’s not the way I’ve seen often–or at least it’s not presented in the same way.
So we have our rogue element Noble, prince of wolves with a Terrible Secret. Said rogue element stumbles upon our leading lady, Liana. She is, of course, a lion. Chaos ensues. As the description of the book says: “Murderous plots. Forced marriages. Lines drawn. Who can they trust?” And that’s about the sum of it.
The lions have a really fascinating culture, and I’m not sure if it’s based on actual lion behavior or not, but I like it. Anything to shake up the norms a little, because most of the book is nothing if not predictable. Our semi-reluctant star-crossed lovers, a jealous third corner for the triangle, and a buttload of angst and strife in the middle. It’s the bits of culture we get to see both from the lions and the wolves that really make the book keep trundling along.
It also does a good job of not beating you about the head and shoulders with the fact that they’re shifters. It’s just a thing, a piece of them. There’s no dramatic werewolf style change scene, no drawn out soliloquy of torment as the animal takes over. Yes, there’s a small bit of Jekyll and Hyde with Noble and his rogue nature, but it’s handled nicely. It suffers the usual “wave the magic wand” romance plot, in that I have absolutely no idea why these two fall for each other other than Plot Reasons. There doesn’t really seem to even be a moment where the tables turn; it simply goes from “KILL THE BEAST” to “no wait this is the love of my life don’t touch him/her.” Again though, this is essentially a romance. I’m not looking at that too hard.
Is it the best book ever? Nah. But it’s a thoroughly enjoyable read, and the characters have stayed with me even after a week or two away. I’m interested to see where the story goes, and what happens as the plot continues to unfold. And yes if you’ve read this far you’re probably going “but it sounds like you just panned the book; how are you excited about it now” and I understand your confusion. But just because a book doesn’t necessarily bring anything new and exciting to the table doesn’t mean I can’t still genuinely enjoy the book and give it my thumbs up. Solid storytelling, good character development, interesting premise. Yessi Smith and Logan Keys do nice work, and I’ll be looking forward to the next installment.
Rating: **** (Recommended)