Carina Press (Feb 2012), Ebook: 226 pages, Urban Fantasy
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Blood of the Pride is an urban fantasy novel by Sheryl Nantus. It tells the story of Rebecca Desjardin a cat shifter disowned by her pride with the scars to prove it, emotionally and physically. Now a Private Investigator she finds herself drawn back to the pride that kicked her out as a teenager. The summons is a bloodied rabbits foot, fresh from a hunt and it leaves Rebecca with no choice but to return. On her return, she realises she has been summoned for her investigative skills. One of the pride has been murdered and a photo of the half-transformed corpse has made it to a tabloid magazine. Her only clue is the reporter Brandon Hanover, who wrote the story. She is charged with tracking him down and working out who murdered the pride member. After locating Brandon he persuades her to let him help with the investigation.
This is a cracker of a novel. It moves at a quick pace Rebecca is a strong female protagonist who is complex, unable to shift and a seething ball of resentment at the pride who threw her out. Her inner conflict is as engaging as the external ones. Rebecca is also not one of those protagonists who continually make bad decisions. Her character is vulnerable and spiky and the reader can understand why.
Brandon as the reporter could be irritating but Nantus has made him an interesting foil to Rebecca’s personality. Their relationship is convincing, Rebecca’s trust growing as the novel develops. The Romance element is chaste, leaving the reader at the bedroom door and secondary to the mystery part of the novel which is good and kept me guessing. I liked that it wasn’t straight forward and I liked the unusual reveal.
The idea of an outcast has been done before, there were elements which reminded me of Kelley Armstrong’s Elena and Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson which is no bad thing as far as I’m concerned. I thought the Cat Shifter Culture was well thought out and well realised, with the picture of how things worked within the pride gradually building up as the novel progressed. The supporting cast of characters were well drawn and felt viable. A really good read.
Blood of the Pride does nothing particularly new with the Shifter ideas but Sheryl Nantus makes her shifters stand out enough and creates a good framework for her very engaging story. I was hooked and I hope there are more novels in this series to come.