Here is my first contribution to #AugustReviews.
The Jaguar King by Anna McIlwraith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Emma is a normal girl (yeah, right). She works in a dog shelter, and has a particular gift for connecting with animals. Pretty fortunate, as her roomie happens to be a jaguar shifter, and she’s about to be launched into the middle of a power struggle between various races of shifters as the prize – dead or alive…
I’m a bit on the fence about shifter novels – there is such a glut it’s hard to find something that bit different. In many respects, this one was different, and I enjoyed it for that fact. The world building is extensive, and the sheer variety of shifter types (particularly the arachnids – twelve foot high tarantulas – oh my!) was stunning. And I loved the ocelot maidens.
The story, while not totally predictable, was yet another rehash of the rather tired trope of a prophesy of the ‘chosen one’. As has been done before, Emma, while seeming to have no particular powers, especially in comparison to all the shifters (and the walking god who accompanies her), somehow manages to manipulate them all, in one way or another.
I found the characters well depicted. There are several viewpoints given, and they were all clearly defined with their own motives, characteristics and strengths, though I did have trouble taking a god called ‘Telly’ seriously!
For me, the writing was sometimes a problem – a good editor could turn this into an excellently written book. There is much to like in a lot of it, but the author’s love affair with the word ‘wet’ drove me to distraction, as did the constant triplet similies: almost every description is ‘something and something and something’. The first time was great, the second, interesting. After that, when it continued unabated throughout the book, it started to drive me nuts.
I also had a problem with the ‘explanations’ given by some of the characters about the shifter world, and the ‘Caller of the Blood’, which left me more mystified after, rather than less.
It had enough of a discrete ending to satisfy me, with plenty of juicy thick dangling threads left for the next in the series, which I may well read.
This book seems to have had multiple covers, and neither the one above (from Goodreads), nor the current one on Amazon (which I think is the best so far – see below) is the one I have on my Kindle.
I’d be happy with this one, if it were my book.