I’m not really sure what to think of this introductory novella into a new series and author. It’s intriguing and caught my attention, but I didn’t exactly enjoy it. It’s different and in a genre saturated with more of the same, that alone recommends this short story. There is also no happy ending – for those that require such things – but the ending is easy to see coming so I wasn’t bothered by it. The story is also the first in an obvious series so the happy ending may be much further down the road. I’m intrigued enough to want to continue if the stories are also novellas. I’m not sure I’m invested enough to sink the time into a full-length novel.
To summarize, Jacks is a college student who meets mysterious and sexy Benoit on spring break. After a week of isolation and near constant sex, Benoit wants Jacks as his mate. High on love and sex, Jacks agrees without understanding the true consequences of his decision. Benoit reveals himself to be a werepanther and changes Jacks into a werecat as well. Jacks is now tied to Benoit in multiple ways as he struggles to understand his new nature and Benoit’s growing restlessness.
The story starts in present day with Jacks and Benoit and uses flashbacks to tell the readers how they came to be there. It’s a familiar device but not one I necessarily appreciated. I felt the story could have been told with the same impact in a linear narrative. This also would have helped build the drama and keep the tension. Instead the tension seems to build then drop whenever the change in timeline happens. You get into the story being told then you’re transported to another point in the story. It’s jarring and the well-built drama here is lost with each transition.
Having said that, the writing is tight with good descriptive quality. I especially liked the creative way the change from man to cat is described. It feels more graphic and raw than most stories I read in this genre. That’s also why I was surprised that there’s no explicit sex. Not that I needed it per se but considering how much detail went into Jack’s change to mountain lion, I thought there’d be more on page sex. I didn’t mind either way though as I don’t think it detracts. What it does do is help create a lack of real intimacy and connection between Jacks and Benoit.
I never felt that they were connected and truly in love. Perhaps that’s due to the ending, which is sad, and I felt as though I was reading removed from the events rather than immersed within them. The story still kept my attention and at only 70 pages, it’s an easy and quick read. I quite like the lore attributed to the were cats and I am curious to see where this goes. I hope it’s nothing ordinary in store for Jacks.
I’d recommend this for those that like were cat stories and want something a little different. Be prepared to invest in the series to get your happy ending.