Title: Pride Mates
Author: Jennifer Ashley
Series: Shifters Unbound (book #1)
Next in series: Primal Bonds
My rating: 4 stars
Synopsis: Scorned and feared, shifters are believed to be animals in human form and are kept on the fringes of society. Assigned to defend a shifter on murder charges, up and coming defense lawyer, Kim Fraser, is in over her head and seeks the help of shifter leader, Liam Morrissey. Liam’s charm and wit cannot conceal the undercurrents of power that characterize him and Kim will need his strength and protection both to unravel the mystery and for her very survival.
Review: An interesting take on the Shapeshifter premise. This is the first book I’ve read in which the shifters’ animal traits overshadow their human ones and it is an intriguing perspective.
The conflicts and prejudices that characterize humans/shifter interaction and the social rules, hierarchies and norms of the shifter community are exceedingly detailed and add credence to the world established in the book. The manner in which Ashley presents the discrimination against the shifters and the problematic ethics of the collar is particularly thought provoking.
The characters are wonderful and the romance sizzles. Kim's honesty, courage and stubbornness make her particularly engaging and Liam can charm the pants off anyone. However, there are a few things that bothered me. First, Liam and Kim have an immediate attraction and there is very little development of their relationship before they are mated. Second, Kim does not seem to fully grasp the significance of events going on around her, and lastly, the constant physical contact between all of the characters, not only the primary couple, takes some getting used to.
The supporting characters are also appealing, especially Liam’s tortured brother, his emotionally distant father, and my personal favorite, his boisterous nephew, Connor. One character who did not live up to his initial characterization is the villain. While he is a nasty piece of work, he does not evoke anything more than mild distaste and never becomes the uber-villain that would contribute to the tension and suspense of the final confrontation.
The story is the weak point in the book. It would have been better if more effort has been put into the murder mystery and Kim’s investigation, especially since it turns out to be a pivotal aspect of the plot – I won’t say anymore so as not to ruin it.
Overall, this is an entertaining book and I look forward to reading the next installment.
Sunday, 17 July 2011
Title: Pride Mates