Savage Hunter by Terry Spear is the first in a new series about shifters that can change at will into jaguars. This makes a change from the abundance of werewolf fiction, so I was ready to give this book a chance to make a good impression.
It begins with a flashback to events a year prior to the novel, in which heroine, army captain Kathleen McKnight, is trapped in the Amazon rainforest after a drugs bust gone wrong. She is under fire, with the rest of her army team being taken down by the drugs lord. Out of nowhere, she is saved by the mysterious Connor Anderson, who carries her to safety, making her the only member of her team to return alive.
A year later and Kat has returned to the rainforest, seeking answers about who saved her and why. She is also desperate to face her fears and to conquer the paranoia instilled in her by the attack. Again Connor seeks her out, having detected her familiar scent, and takes her back to the hut he shares with his sister, Maya.
Both Connor and his twin sister Maya are shapeshifters who can shift into jaguars, an ability they have possessed since birth. They frequent the Amazon rainforest every so often to allow their jaguar side space to roam free, but both are seeking mates and unsure of whether other jaguar shifters exist. Connor has been intrigued and obsessed with the idea of Kat since their meeting a year ago, which Maya has picked up on, and she is as desperate for her brother to have a mate as she is for a sister.
Maya attempts to change an unsuspecting Kat into one of them, but is unsure if it will work, as they have never attempted to change a human before. She is also worried about transforming Kat against her will, and doesn’t know if she will even survive the transformation. There is also the drugs lord to contend with, as when his henchmen begin to search the jungle for Kat in revenge it is unclear if they will make it out of the forest alive.
I wasn’t overly impressed with this book, as I didn’t think much to the plot or the characters. As a heroine, Kat was weak and very two-dimensional. As much as the writer tried to give her more depth I just didn’t feel that it worked, as I found her to be annoying and too over-dependent on Connor and Maya to protect her. There were times when she wanted to use her army training to make a stand for herself but she never goes through with these plans and I just wanted to slap her for being so useless. She was one of those main characters whose actions don’t seem justifiable, as she never once seems angry that Maya has changed her without warning, or frustrated at Connor’s over-protectiveness.
Kat was quiet, subdued, and Connor wasn’t sure what was bothering her. Well, besides the fact that Maya had turned her into a jaguar shifter, men had tried to take her hostage, she’d had to kill one of them, and they still faced the difficult task of getting her back to the States without any further difficulties.
This brings me to Connor, who is borderline creepy stalker as far as love interests go. We learn from the very beginning that his brief encounter with Kat a year ago has remained on his mind, and he has thought about her a lot during that time. For a chance meeting this seems a little odd, but he seemed okay at the start of the book so I overlooked this and gave him a chance. I then started to dislike him more and more as his relationship with Kat develops, as she has practically been forced to be with him after the change, and he takes the alpha male role a step too far. He is overly controlling and doesn’t want her to do anything for herself, as well as wanting to sleep with her all the time.
“What other secrets do you have that we should know about?”
Kat snorted and released him, but he seized her arms and wrapped them around his neck, then encircled her back with his and hugged her close.
Aside from this unsavoury relationship development throughout the book, not much else really happens or is explained. They go on the run from the drugs cartel, but we never really know why he is still after Kat when he hasn’t seen her for a year. The ending was surprisingly underwhelming as the chase across South America is described in great detail but the climax is summed up in a mere paragraph. When the truth is revealed at the end it seems highly convenient and too much of a coincidence, and despite being left open for a sequel (implied to be about Maya) I have no desire to continue this series.
I wasn’t very impressed with this book as it was more about the relationship and sex between the main characters than any kind of actual plot. The writer tried to make the heroine into a strong woman but I felt that she failed as she submits to the will of men all too easily. It didn’t help that I hated Connor as a love interest as he is overly controlling and possessive of Kat, not conducive to a healthy relationship, or a good book.
BOOKS IN SERIES ORDER
- Savage Hunter
- Jaguar Fever
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