Shift Happens“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.” ― Louise Erdrich, “The Painted Drum”

It was supposed to be a simple job. Go in, kill, get out. Only, the odd thing is, the Supernatural Regulatory Division doesn’t normally send an assassin after a norm. It’s just not done. But, the job is to get in, get it done, get out, no questions asked. So, that is what she does. Only, when werewolves breaks into the room while Andy is carrying out her assignment, she knows something is strange. Then things get really interesting, in the Chinese, “May you live in ‘interesting’ times” sort of interesting.

 “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. —William Shakespeare, Hamlet, act 1, scene 5”

In this case, there are many things going on in Andy’s world – things that could very well cost Andy her life. Surprise. The ‘norm’ Andy was sent to eliminate happens to be the human servant of the Master Vampire of the Lower Mainland. And though he still lives (even after getting his throat torn out by Andy’s mountain lion) the MV, Lucien Delgatto, is pissed. And if Andy doesn’t find out who put the hit out on Clint, the servant, well, she will find herself Clint’s plaything. The plaything of a sadistic monster.

This is a good paranormal. Lots of thrills and action, and a strong female character who has been through horrors in her life and still remains strong, though broken. There is, of course, the romance between Andy and Wick, the werewolf alpha. But though the romance is there, I give the author kudos for realistically managing the feelings and actions of a woman suffering from PTSD after horrific sexual, psychological and physical abuse. She wants to get past it, but there is no magical ‘I’m all better, let’s bang’ scenario, which I greatly respect the author for. Wick, though, didn’t gain my respect. He and his pack are in a difficult situation, I understand that, but given the situation Andy is in, I found his constant attempts to eat up her time with sexual advances and ‘snuggles’ in his bed rather unbelievable at best. At worst? Controlling and self-centered to a rather creepy level – Andy doesn’t make her deadline, Andy better kill herself before Clint gets his hands on her. To say I was a bit put-out with him is an understatement.

I received this book from the publisher through Reading Alley in exchange for a realistic review. I noted on Amazon that this is the first in a four book series, so the rather unfulfilling ending is somewhat explained. The potential triangle at the end made me cringe – that particular trope is a weak author’s crutch, but appeals to a certain demographic, so I expect it will continue in the next books. As usual, I didn’t read the blurbs for the next books before my review so I don’t skew the review for the book I have actually read. Amazon indicates, “This is a new release of a previously published edition.” I take it that means the book was reedited, but if so, whoever completed the edit did a poor job. The book is riddled with editorial errors. The world building is interesting, but contained confusing logic errors and a lack of clarity were irritating given the potential of a rather unusual and interesting overall concept. Both of these issues caused the loss of a full star. I did mistakenly think that this was a British writer writing a book set in the Northwest (Again. Groan.) However, this is a Canadian author, so the “Brit spellings” issue is actually “Canadian spelling” so keep that in mind when you read. Being set in Vancouver, it makes perfect sense. Overall, the book is different enough to be interesting, and I hope that the author grows her talents over the series.

 

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