We read and review for the love and joy of books.
Genre: MM paranormal
To me, this series was a classic, and I honestly didn’t expect that we’d get another book in the series, never mind one that turned out to be a spectacular summary, the culmination of the bond and the love between Jin and Logan Church.
As the story opens, “Jim” is alone, working as a waiter, living in a tiny apartment in New Orleans, and wondering why he can’t remember any of his past, other than the fact that he is a werepanther. Even his name escapes him, though “Jim” seems right. There is one thing that bugs him, though— he can’t stand touching other men or having men touch him. He doesn’t know why, but a man’s touch is very painful to him. When his boss invites their semel to meet Jim so that Jim can be formally accepted into the local tribe, something that even Jim knows is an absolute must, the sheseru of the tribe immediately senses that Jim is a reah, and a mated reah at that. The semel immediately contacts Domin Thorne, the akhen-aten (King) of their world, the man who oversees all tribes and will know immediately that they have finally discovered Jin Church’s whereabouts.
Jin is excited to learn that his mate is on the way, but nervous about whether or not his touch will be as painful as other men’s. He need not have worried. Put into a crowded room, and told that he must seek out his semel, his mate, Jin unerringly finds Logan, and an explosively hot, and painless, reunion occurs. Apparently Jin had run from home when he thought he had killed his son Ilia, and Logan had not only accused him of the heinous crime, but had looked at him with such hatred and scorn, that Jin felt he had no choice but to go. The pain of that rejection was so intense, in fact, that it caused him to lose his memory, and he now has no recollection of anything before he woke up in the desert as a panther.
It’s his reunion with Ilia that finally brings his memory back, but he discovers that, during the six months he’s been gone, Logan has not been functional as a semel, nor has he been able to guide his son, and his leadership of the tribe has been undermined. When Logan and Jin arrive at their compound in the mountains outside Reno, they are met with a rebellion. Logan’s father, Peter, has convinced his son Russ that Russ should become semel and take over the tribe. Standing with Peter and Russ against Logan and Jin are most of the tribe, including Logan’s brother Koren and Logan’s sheseru. They are banned to the guesthouse and told that Logan must face Russ in the pit in a fight to the death in three days’ time.
The adventure that ensues is one in which Mary Calmes brings back former secondary characters such as semels Justin Cho and Christophe Danvers and of course, Domin Thorne and his mate Yuri Kosa. She ties up some of the loose threads of their lives, some in retrospect as having occurred over the past six years since the last book, and some in real time during this story. We have plenty of time to visit with Crane and his wife Yosuke, Delphine and Markel, and Logan’s mom who sides with Jin and Logan and is prepared to abandon her husband, sons, and the tribe to go with them, wherever they choose to settle. The author gives us new details of werepanther law, surprising changes for some of the characters, and an opportunity for Logan, Jin and Ilia to live in peace in a new location. Logan also gets an amazing opportunity to assume the leadership his strength and personality demand.
I truly enjoyed this story, and yet I felt that it was a bit too pat, that it was a well done tapestry, with the threads that had been hanging loose now brought together to create the perfect design, but without as much emotion as I had come to expect from these stories. Yes, there was angst, and there was heartache, and some suspense, and definitely romance, but there were not as many problems or hurdles as there had been in the other books, and the story mostly consisted of solutions, ones that were anticipated and appreciated, but not surprising or shocking.
That being said, however, I believe that fans of this series will be very happy with this finale. I would recommend the series to all lovers of M/M paranormal romance. The world-building and character-building throughout the series is phenomenal and will remain as one of the most memorable I’ve ever read.