Title: Blade Song
Author: J.C. Daniels (aka Shiloh Walker)
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Colbana Files
So why is she so nervous? It probably has something to do with the insanity that happens when you deal with shifters—especially sexy ones who come bearing promises of easy jobs and easier money.
Or maybe it’s all the other missing kids that Kit discovers while working the case, or the way her gut keeps screaming she’s gotten in over her head. Or maybe it’s because if she fails—she’s dead.
If she can stay just one step ahead, she should be okay. Maybe she’ll even live long to collect her fee…
Disclosure: Review copy received from author. This in no way impacted my review or opinion of this story.
What a fun book!
Kit Colbana is a half-blood Aneira–something like an Amazon with magical powers–who works as a private investigator in an alternate, present-day Florida. Due to her half-blood nature, her grandmother abused her badly in the process of training her to be a warrior. In the present, Kit uses the skills that were beaten into her to stay alive and help some of the more powerful supernaturals in her community, which is how she came to the attention of the cat shifters. The love interest and an enforcer for the cats, Damon, delivers her up to his alpha, whose ward has run away.
And it’s no wonder the kid ran off. This woman is scary powerful and completely batshit.
The crazy-ass leader of the cats isn’t the only one who has had a family member go missing. The more Kit and Damon dig into the case, the clearer it becomes that young non-humans of all flavors have been disappearing. This strikes a very personal chord for Kit, as she knows what it’s like to be abused, alone, and scared. Her concern for them and drive to find the missing kid(s) leads her to making deals with a vampire, visiting dangerous shifters, and turning to local witches for help.
I really enjoyed this story. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, but I liked the world building, the way the mystery was set up, and how Kit was very realistically in an emotionally bad place from the start. Her tragic past made it clear that the case was impacting her in a very bad way, and it made the search feel more personal, somehow.
There are a couple of things which did pull me out of the story. The repetition of certain points, particularly near the beginning, and then again towards the end, did make me want to skim some parts to get on with it. While it slowed the pace to a degree, the way the tension kept building as new facets of the case came to light did keep me glued to the pages.
The other thing that bothered me was how much of an alphahole the love interest turned out to be. As hot as Damon is portrayed, and though he gentled towards her later, I didn’t feel there was enough of an apology out of him for assaulting Kit or really any change in him as a person. I’m not convinced that he was such a great guy or that he really grew out of that assholish, abusive behavior where anyone else was concerned, particularly considering how she had to use the threat of leaving him to push him to do the right thing near the end of the book. His change in attitude towards her over the course of the story seemed pretty organic for a shifter finding his mate, and the sexual tension was phenominal… but I’m not convinced that choosing Damon over the vampire, Jude, was really any better for her. If you’ve read the book, you know what a condemnation of his character that is.
Characters making and suffering the consequences of bad decisions is what makes for juicy reading, but there’s a line between alpha and alphahole. Damon has his sexy moments, but the jury (at least in my case) is still out on him for a long-term relationship with Kit. She really rushed into a decision that can’t be taken back, and it really made my respect for her as a character take a nosedive when she chose to tie herself so permanently to Damon in the end.
Aside from that, the author does a fabulous job of building the tension, working the mystery, and tying all the loose ends together. It certainly didn’t turn me off of the story–I devoured half of it in a single sitting. This is a real page-turner, and I do recommend it if you’re in the mood for a compelling, gritty read.
In short, this is a fascinating new urban fantasy with a dash of romance, I’m very much looking forward to getting my hands on the next book.
0.5 A Stroke of Dumb Luck
1. Blade Song
2. Night Blade (release date TBA)