Series: Shifters Unbound #9
Published by Berkley on September 6th 2016
“Rae looked across the tossing water at Zander Moncrieff and couldn’t decide whether she should jump overboard of leap onto his boat and smack him.”
FINAL DECISION: Lovely story with lots of action and characters I liked and cared about. My only negative was that the emotional connection between these characters happened so fast and only the circumstances of the plot kept them apart.
THE STORY: Wolf shifter Rae Lyall is the chosen Guardian (the shifter who can send shifters to “heaven” at their death). Her choosing by the Goddess causes unrest because a female has never been chosen from that position. Now subject to suspicion and derision, Rae’s father sends her to polar bear shifter and healer Zander Moncrieff for protection and training. Zander is Goddess touched himself and understands the challenges of the “gift”.
There is a reluctant attraction between the two but the threats that surround them keep Rae and Zander focused on working together while falling for one another.
OPINION: I’m a big fan of Ashley’s shifter series. The series has a lot to say about issues of the day in an entertaining fashion. I also enjoy how the Shifters have managed to retain their own traditions and identity despite the onerous restrictions placed upon them by humans.
In this book, Zander is a free spirit. Seen as “crazy” by many, Zander suffers with his gift of healing. Not only does he suffer by healing, he also knows that he cannot help everyone. By making himself inaccessible, he limits the demands on his gift. Despite his behavior, Zander cares tremendously about others.
Rae is an orphan wolf shifter adopted by felines. She loves her family but still feels the loneliness of being different. Her choosing as Guardian further separates her from others. She is strong and mouthy and just amazing although she is young and is still developing herself.
The interaction between Rae and Zander is funny and spicy and sometimes adorable. The two banter and argue and have some hot scenes together. They both have a core of not belonging that unites them. Their gifts have separated them from others and this allows for true understanding between them.
The book is a roller coaster with lots of action with different storylines merging and weaving together in sometimes unexpected ways. The resolution of the plot is surprising and yet completely in line with the story. I loved how things came together. Appearances by characters both new and old (Tiger!) never lets the reader forget that there is a larger world and story that these characters are a part of.
I love learning about new types of shifters and I look forward to their stories being told as well.
WORTH MENTIONING: For readers of the series there are some reveals as to what the Fae are up to (with apparently some human allies).
CONNECTED BOOKS: GUARDIAN’S MATE is the ninth book in the Shifters Unbound series. This book can be read as a standalone although there may be some learning curve as to the shifter world that this book resides in.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.