My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What a great start to a new urban fantasy series, with so much to recommend it – characters that jump off the page, the chance to find out all about this world right along with the protagonist, Jazz, who has no idea it exists until she shifts for the first time, complex relationships between the different varieties of paranormals, and a hot and sexy Cajun love interest.
Oh, not to forget the serial killer stalking the paranormal community.
The usual suspects are all here – weres of all varieties, vampires and witches, but also a Japanese kitsune and characters of a variety of origins, not least Jazz (Jasmine) who is half Chinese.
The opening grabs you and doesn’t let go – Jazz wakes to find herself naked, alone and disoriented in the forest. She’s a third-year university student, but the latest party didn’t go quite how she expected – she was slipped a date rape drug, and led off into the forest. Only now her attacker is dead, apparently of an animal attack, and Jazz is struggling to remember what happened.
Onto the scene comes the local police officer – also the local werewolf pack leader – and suddenly Jazz finds herself hauled up before the paranormal council, under threat of death for killing a human and threatening the secrecy they all strive to maintain.
Jazz is a seriously sassy character, and I say that in a good way, although ‘sassy’ is an overused word in relation to urban fantasy heroines. The dialogue is smart, funny and written so realistically I could hear it. The supporting cast are all well developed individuals, with their own quirks and speech patterns, and the story flows forward at a good pace, with just a small slow patch while Jazz’s everyday life is established.
I envy Jazz her metabolism! As a were, she’s always hungry, and many scenes take place in eating houses – lucky girl!
Despite being emotionally damaged by her past, Jazz is strong mentally and physically, yet she’s not a super woman, so it is easy to believe she’s at risk going up against the serial killer. I totally loved the way that at the end, she is the one to rescue her lover even though she’s a small woman and he’s a half-vampire.
And we mustn’t forget Loki, Jazz’s cat, who steals the show in many of his scenes.
My small quibbles? Her ability to kill a number of grown men (paid goons, no less) even when in human form seemed a little far fetched, and to my mind she wasn’t always as disturbed by this as I’d have expected, and there are a number of small editing issues, although nothing too distracting.
Four and a half stars from me, definitely recommended, and I’m already half way through number 2.