Ready for a new shape shifter series? Or semi new anyway? I just finished Claws Bared , the second novel in the Blood of Pride series by Sheryl Nantus. It’s about a PI cat shifter that can’t shape shift, who must solve a murdered human case or else the clan’s secrets will be exposed. I didn’t really like this novel but I can see the potential for a great series anyway. <
Rebecca Desjardin, a P.I. and cat shifter, doesn’t normally find herself in strip clubs. But a popular male dancer has been murdered in Pennsylvania, and it looks like the work of a shifter from the local Pride. Rebecca has a duty to help protect her kind—and she needs to find justice for the dead.
Her impromptu trip leaves her boyfriend, reporter Brandon Hanover, unhappy. He’s only just come to terms with the fact that she’s a Felis, and their relationship is still so new… Rebecca is determined to deal with the murder first, then deal with their future.
As her investigation unfolds, she’s met with grudging cooperation and half-truths. Does the Pride want her to find justice, or help them hide a killer? Frustrated and unable to shake the sexy local shifter who says he’s on her side, Rebecca can’t seem to scratch out the truth—at least not on her own. But when Brandon shows up, is he there to help or to mark his territory?
Off the bat, I didn’t like the style of writing of Nantus’. Her wording and phrases just didn’t sound right in my head, if that makes any sense at all. Maybe it’s a Canada vs US thing, with different slang etc, I don’t know. It took me a few chapters in to get accustomed to it, and even then, I didn’t like how it ‘sounded’. Not only her style was off but there were things that were overly described like a petal falling from a flower to the ground that was then swept away through the grass by the wind. I don’t mind descriptions of the world around the characters– in fact I love it, give me more please!–but other more important things were given very little description or wasn’t set up enough to grasp the importance, leaving me with lots of questions. Like why was Reb banished from her clan, why does she have such a hard time being in a relationship and what was she doing dating a human?! Because of the writing style, I never connected with the characters or got excited about what was happening.
I kept reading because the story line was rather good. The ‘who done it’ part of the plot wasn’t a new twist, but there was enough suspense and slight of hand to keep me guessing even though I had an idea of who it was from the very beginning. I was wrong on how the murder went down, which was a nice surprise. The other part of the plot that I enjoyed was that Reb can’t change. A shapeshifter who can’t change, hello cool twist! That was something that kept my attention. I was hoping I would learn why she wasn’t able to shift at some point and was really bummed when I didn’t This may have been covered in Blood of the Pride, book #1, but I haven’t read it so I don’t know. Oh and the will she or won’t she stay with Bran or leave him for a Felis (Nantus’ term for her cat shape-shifters) was rather intriguing. These things, I liked and enjoyed thoroughly, but everything else, not so much.
So I can’t tell you how I really feel about Reb or her boy-toy Bran or any other character, because there wasn’t enough information for me. Is she a strong character? Yeah, kinda, I mean she can hold her own even though she can’t change, and she has a sassy mouth. However, she can’t make up her mind about Bran and her angst about the relationship makes zero sense; other than the whole “she’s a shifter and he’s a human and how dangerous that can be?” part. Why he stays with her, I have no earthly clue–she’s an emotional mess and he isn’t. Maybe if there had been some flashbacks of their relationship or more of her past to set things up, I would have connected with them and had more to say. I don’t feel like I know them at all and I’m totally confused.
The pace of Claws Bared was very slow for quite a while, this could be because I struggled with Nantus’ style of writing though. Up until the end, it was a slow fizzle with nothing that had me on the edge of my seat in angst trying to read as fast as I could. If there had been more fight scenes, more Reb in trouble or being pushed around by the family more, or more confusing evidence, maybe even some actual sex to spice things up, things would have been far more entertaining. I wasn’t bored, don’t mistake me, but scenes, situations and people, could have been expanded on and it would have turned this from an ok book into an amazing one.
Claws Bared is neither a book I hate nor one that I particularly like. I didn’t enjoy the style of writing and didn’t really connect or like any characters, but, like I said, I did like the story line. This world, this author, has a lot of potential, and I can see it taking off and becoming a huge success. Whether I will join the ride or not, I’m not sure yet but I will keep an eye on Sheryl Nantus and this series anyway. Who knows what could happen?