Tho entertaining (to a degree), this book can stand some serious editing. The characters are unhinged, the writing is ...well, just let me warn you, the author is not a native speaker and it shows. There are plenty of people out there willing to proof-read, if only asked. That authors and publishers let it slide baffles me every single time.
I liked the idea of sifters-mating-humans being - literally - a deadly affair, however, it was not the real focus of this book. This is a cinderfella story, in which the future king of the land lures a poor young starving shifter, Ari, into his castle to marry him, the shifter/human conundrum a purrr-fect excuse for the jolly event. The pair, no surprise there, turns out to be a purrr-fect match.
Ari disappointed me great greatly at the end of the book, bragging about sleeping around with pretty much every available male since he was 14. That revelation comes out of his mouth on his wedding night, while talking to his brand-new husband. What a turn on ...um, not! :/ Oh, and then there was that episode where Ari seduced his husband by turning into a cat. What the heck? O.o
The author left no incentive to read the second installment. Everything smoothed out perfectly towards the end, with a perfect neon HEA flashing gaily all over the last pages.
I enjoyed the very beginning of the book, even tho the incident with the mirror/Queen at Roland's house gave me a pause. It annoyed me to no end that nothing ever came out of it. I guess it's editing problems.
I didn't mind the middle of the story, palace comings and goings, even tho I thought that Brier used Quintin and led him on one too many times. But if the guy is spineless and clueless, then - whatevers, it's his own doing.
The last 40% of the book, however, grated on my nerves big time. I don't know if the author was under pressure, there was no time to edit, I have no clue. It seemed very chaotic to me and, honestly, I stopped caring for the characters altogether.
There was also a big time/reality confusion moment with modern (more or less) medical equipment and procedure names. All the juicy pregnancy and birth details reminded me once again why I prefer to stay away from mpreg. But I guess that's my problem, not author's.
In the end I can say that I did enjoy the story (had to sleep on it, tho, and sort things out) and will definitely read more from EAB in the future.
Lurrrve the cover!!! ♥♥♥
I am not sure why Roman had to be set on fire. Mary Calmes already set him up with such a tragic family history, you think "WTF? Give the kid a break." Right? NO - Off With His Face!
But what is the purpose of this ...exercise? Kids in college couldn't care less about his scars. Everyone in the state of Maine (and beyond) still wants Roman. His injured face does not pose any difficulties to him, once he stopped the surgeries. He himself sometimes uses it for 'shocking' purposes or excuses when he doesn't want to talk to people.
i dunno, i dunno.... will keep reading. maybe it will make sense somewhere down the road.
I get it now. The pack accepts you. YOU. Not what you look like. The appearances don't matter. You're not damaged unless you can't hunt or contribute in any other way.
So, what if we have an ex-marine (for example), big and strong in no way physically damaged, except for a severe PTSD? Let's put another character through hell, so we can learn the ways of the pack when someone looks perfect but can't contribute, shall we? We'll have a manual on jackal shifters in no time by dragging people through pain and suffering.
Don't get me wrong, I love most of Mary's books, it's just this one seems to me unusually cruel. She has this meaninglessly mean (a sad 'ha-ha') streak that pops up every once in a while in her fiction. As much as I loved the first two Change of Heart books, #3 & #4 got 2 stars from me for that same reason. Jin, a cute lovable boy, was turned into something hateful, fearful and highly unpleasant. No wonder he didn't want to get mated in book one, he knew. Look where it got him.
That said, I do read books where the characters are damaged physically or emotionally or both, that doesn't bother me. But I am uber cautious now when it comes to reading Mary Calmes. Sad days :(
PS Forgot to mention: it ticks me off that the tragedy (actually many tragedies) that befalls Roman serves a singular purpose - to support one and one character only, Quade, who did not have live through the horror of it personally or even deal with it much. At least not the way Mary Calmes describes it. We only have a couple of tiny little peeks of how boys dealt with it. A brush off, no more :/
why is there never an edited book from Megan? WHY????
Could have easily been 4.5 stars rounded up, but - no. I had to claw myself out of a ditch, where nothing makes sense and you have to double/triple check to verify you're not legally insane. I am sorry, Megan. I really am. I loved the story but re-reading and re-confirming got on my nerves this time so much, that I, in good conscious, cannot do better than 3 stars.