Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Four Umbrellas: Pride Mates by Jennifer Ashley

Is there a subgenre that you keep trying and failing to love? What was the last really GOOD book that you read that just wasn't for you? That's what I'm thinking about today!

Pride Mates (Shifters Unbound, #1)Pride Mates by Jennifer Ashley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars. I need to learn my lesson where Shifters are concerned--I barely tolerate them, even from my favorite authors. I ADORE Jennifer Ashley's historical McKenzie series, but her paranormal alter-egos are a huge part of her backlist. Overdrive had the e-book for this, and I jumped at the chance to see if perhaps the series would work for me. Alas, it does not. However, I have to say that this is tremendously well-done and unusual. This isn't the usual "Oh, Shifter, you so sexy, you blow my mind" world where paranormal heroes are the upper echelons of society or exist hidden, but revered, within current society, or occupy an alternative world of their own making. Instead, Ashley is doing something really unique with her dystopian world where Paranormal shifters are marginalized, corralled, and legally discriminated against. There's tons of parallels both to Jim Crow laws of the first half of the 20th Century and to current attitudes towards Muslims and religious intolerance in other countries. This part of the book sparkles with deep commentary cleverly disguised as light fiction. The legal battle at the center of the book is fascinating However, the feline shifters just weren't my cup of tea AT ALL. I kept thinking absurdly of the cat-man hybrid from Red Dwarf (horrid British Sci-Fi that DH made me sit through). But, if you love shifters, you suspend disbelief and will immediately be drawn into the feline sub-culture. Myself though, I just could not invest in the relationship at all. If you enjoy Sherrilyn Kennyon, Gena Showalter et al, you will LOVE it, and you will want to read more of the series. I'll return to counting the days for more McKenzies while giving Ashley enormous credit for succeeding in so many different subgenres.

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