I won this over at Scooper Speaks.
The Premise: Alexia Williams was once a regular wife and mother when shifters suddenly made themselves known to the population and a horrifying war began. After it was over, Alexia’s family was dead and the shifters and humans have settled into separate territories in an uneasy state of relative peace. The Combine Human States (CHS) doesn’t allow any shifters in their lands and Alexia has become a female killing machine, manning the wall that separates the CHS and The Federal Nation of Therianthropes (FNT). Then Andor, a Golden Eagle shifter comes into her life, telling her that it’s not all as she thinks on the human side and he needs her help because shifters are going missing and they think that humans are responsible.
My Thoughts: I hadn’t really heard about this book until I got it. The cover sort of looks like an urban fantasy and when I started reading it, the story felt like it fell into that category, but as I continued it started to feel more like a paranormal romance. I just looked at the spine (duh, I should have looked before starting), and it says “urban fantasy romance”. It definitely feels like a blend of urban fantasy and paranormal romance to me. Also it is only 200 pages so it’s more like a novella than a novel and was a quick read.
It felt like an urban fantasy at first. The story is told from the first person viewpoint of Alexia, and we learn about her day to day job as a border guard for the Combined Human States Army and that she is a loner known for her uncompromising attitude towards shifters and her job responsibilities. As the book continues, and Andor Olavson is introduced, the book starts going into the paranormal romance territory. At first the relationship progresses slowly and I liked how the author showed the attraction through nervousness on Andor’s part and uncharacteristic trusting on Alexia’s, but then when Alexia fully comes to trust and like Andor, it still felt like it happened a little too quickly. It’s established early on that Alexia saw her husband and child torn apart in front of her by shifters who lived in her neighborhood, and that she had killed many shifters as part of her job. That did not mesh with the Alexia who let’s down her guard so completely in just a few days.
The world building was well done and I wanted to read more about the CHS and the FNT. There’s also a few scenes that illustrated what life was like in the CHS army as a woman surrounded by men that I really liked. Alexia held her own among pedophiles and perverts and men who just like violence. Once Alexia leaves her job to help Andor however, the world building veers towards Andor’s past and more emphasis is placed on their relationship in the story. I felt like there were a few big plot holes that are created because of the relationship. Andor’s explanation for choosing Alexia to help him didn’t make much sense to me – she was Death to shifters but it’s okay because her kills were in self-defense? I don’t know, I was confused. Also Alexia goes from being a confident killer to being very reliant on Andor during a fight – her personality seemed to have gone soft after Andor.
Personal nit: What is up with paranormal romance heroes having hair down to their waist/ass?
Overall: This was OK. A quick novella-length read, world building seems unique and shows promise, and I liked the heroine, but it isn’t quite an urban fantasy, or quite a paranormal romance and that identity crisis could be a problem for readers who prefer one genre over the other.
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