The theme: A recommended read.
Why this one: Sort of a sideways recommendation. I was intrigued by AnimeJune’s review of The Wild Road — virgin bookworm hero for the win! — and didn’t want to jump into the series with book 8. Though I’ve read a review that says if you are going to jump in, The Wild Road is the place to go. If the second book doesn’t grab me, I’ll be doing that.
So I bought this years ago, but was nervous about reading it; the Liu short stories I’d read were good, but definitely challenging. This is written at a much more basic level, and I really wish I had read it right away; I think it would have worked much better for me when I was new to paranormal romance.
Basic story: Dela Reese — should’ve googled more before going with that one! — is a psychic metalworker with ties to a supernatural band of good guys. She unwittingly releases an immortal tiger-shifter slave, Hari, and after some initial mistrust they fall in love. Lots of different people trying to kill her, need to break Hari’s curse, yadda yadda yadda.
I’d say the quality of the writing is better than Christine Feehan, but otherwise this was a very conventional, samey paranormal romance. I found our heroine, Dela, rather irritating: her life is in danger, and she has several prophetic nightmares — and each time, shortly thereafter she deliberately separates herself from her lover and protective friends. She also was very slow to catch on to what was going on when she accidentally unleashed Hari, in a sort of genie-in-the-bottle situation you’d think anyone who’d had a childhood would recognize.
The plot was kind of scattered and didn’t end in a very satisfying way, although there’s certainly lots of room for series development, what with all of Dela’s male friends with psychic powers, and the sudden possibility of many similarly powerful females knocking around in the world.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the story was that it was my first introduction to the oft complained about shifter story with bestiality — that is, sex scenes in which the shifter is in animal form. I have to agree with the general opinion that this is kinda gross.
So what did I like? Well, Hari is very sweet. His tortured past is pretty convenient (he’s been ordered to do many horrible things, but managed to fight off the most egregious orders) and he’s certainty not especially original in his passionate, protective devotion to Dela, but it’s still enjoyable to read. And the book did keep my interest, and arouse curiosity about some of the recurring characters. So I will try book 2… but hope it didn’t take until book 8 for the writer to really show her considerable chops.