Aaaaah I loved this book so much! Rachel Vincent is one of my all time favourite authors – since I picked up the Shifters series in The Works as a teenager, I have been an avid follower of everything she has published. So when she announced a Shifters spin off series that she was publishing herself, and that she would be offering signed copies if we bought them directly from herself, I damn well jumped at the chance.
As excited as I was for this series, I was a little bit disappointed by the first novel, ‘Lion’s Share’. I think it was one of those things where you build it up to be this amazing thing in your head and it struggled to live up to my expectations. Don’t get me wrong, I loved returning to the Shifters world and Vincent’s narrative that captured my imagination so much as a teenager – but it wasn’t quite what I had been hoping for. It did feel a little pulp fictionesque but I think that was mainly because Vincent focused more on the romance between Jace and Abby. I do love a good romance, but recently I’ve started to get a bit antsy with novels where the whole plot revolves around the romance and nothing else. I love a good rom com just like the next girl, but a strong narrative is something that I find makes the story so much better.
‘Blind Tiger’, however, had everything I love about Vincent’s writing style AND the kind of narrative I was looking for in a novel. This was so so good! There is so much amazing stuff to say about this novel honest to God, and when you think about how Vincent has SELF PUBLISHED THIS AND IT IS DAMN AMAZING this is definitely a novel to be proud of.
First of all the thing that I always love about Vincent’s novels are the strong female characters she has telling the story from a first person narrative. Faythe Sanders captured the budding feminist in me with the injustices that were being bestowed on her purely because she had a vagina and her Pride was reliant on her for them to carry on reproducing. UGH. Her fury at being told to conform to being the precious little china doll elevated on a pedestal really resonated with me, and that really came back to me with Robyn’s character. ‘Lion’s Share’ took us back into the Shifter world with Abby, who was an enjoyable character to read about, but she didn’t have the same connection with me that Faythe did. Robyn, however, is a newly infected stray that has had her old life ripped away from her – all that freedom, and now she’s being studied and told she can no longer have the life she had wanted for herself. Her fury at the obvious sexism in the Pride system really struck a chord with me, as this was something she had no choice over. Plus if you’d already tasted that kind of freedom and suddenly had it taken away from you, like hell were you gonna not fight tooth and nail to get it back. So Robyn’s characterisation was a big big plus for me in this novel, and I really connected with her as a character. Titus was pretty cool too – I loved how much he was trying to do to protect his brother. It was so heartwarming and made him such a likeable character. This gave a more 3D feel to his characterisation, as he wasn’t simply the drop dead gorgeous love interest that purely served as eye candy for the protagonist.
Then we get onto the plot – DAMN!! ‘Lion’s Share’, as I said, focused more on the romance – ‘Blind Tiger’ did have a romance in it between Robyn and Titus but because there was so much else going on in the narrative it wasn’t stifling. This plot was so well thought out, and knitted together so well. First we have Robyn escaping captivity from the Pride she’s being held in, then we move into more drama when a stray is pulled into the main house. There were so many twists and turns in this novel that I was literally glued to the page – I thoroughly loved guessing what was going to happen next and thinking about where Vincent was going with the plot. It was really well done, and the fact that she has managed to secure such a tight knit plot without a team of publishers behind her is truly a testament to how amazing she is as a writer. Though I am obviously biased, unless you had told me this was a self published book I would never have been able to guess that it was because the prose was so clean.
I especially love this world that Vincent has created. I’ve said in previous blog posts that I love anything related to the supernatural, and this series and the original series is one of the reasons why. It is just so well thought out as a concept, and I love the structure of their world and how the Shifters act with one another and their surrounding world. It was such a treat to get to revisit this world again!
This novel was so well thought out and so well written – I really hope Vincent writes a third Wildcats novel because I can’t wait to get my hands on it and find out who’s story we’ll learn about next! As much as I loved reading Faythe’s original Shifters series, it’s actually quite nice to move between characters. Plus I liked how we could still see that things are working out for Abby and Jace after what happened at the end of ‘Lion’s Share’, and it was really lovely to see some of the characters from the original series even if it was only briefly.
I honestly can’t recommend this book enough – if you’ve read the original Shifter’s series but haven’t started on these books yet, do that as soon as you can because these are just damn brilliant. I loved this book so much, I can’t even begin to describe how awesome it is. I would give it a 5/5 because Vincent is an absolute master of her craft, and I am so glad she decided to treat us all to this spin off! If you want to get your hands on a signed copy of any of Vincent’s books, make sure to stalk her Facebook page as I’m pretty sure she announced a collaboration with a local bookstore near where she lives. And if you haven’t read the Wildcats series yet or the Shifters series, go do that now!