Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Reader's Review: "Wolf's Path" by Kimberly Rogers

Synopsis from Amazon:

Honeymoons are supposed to be relaxing, right? Not when the honeymoon is just a cover for a hunt. Shapeshifters Baran and Raina are tasked with one of the most unusual hunts of either of their careers — capture the infamous Beast of Bray Road. The monster humans assume is just a legend has grown more aggressive, threatening to expose the Therian race if he is not stopped. A struggle to find the truth and to stop the aggressive loner before he kills awaits Baran and Raina as they follow the Wolf's path.
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My Review:

Woohoo! My favorite Therians are back at it again! 
 
This time, they are taking a "break" from their regular duties to investigate the possible breach of protocol in a secluded Wisconsin town, where humans are reporting sightings of a werewolf—in other words, a Lupine Therian revealing his Beast nature, undoing generations of traditionally cloaking the existence of Therians from the humans at all cost.
 
They are supposed to be on sabbatical, since it's only their first year of marriage, but Baran and Raina can't seem to set aside their sense of duty and (in Raina's case) thirst for adventure to actually have time to give to each other and bond with each other—and the strain is showing. Amid the peril and mystery and growing animosity between humans and Elves (and by association, Therians) as the highly-publicized Wendigo attack in Washington D.C. dealt with in the last book has turned into a political minefield, with power-hungry, ethnocentrist human senators seeking to undermine the treaty and ignite a mistrust for the Elves. The fact that Raina is herself half-Elf doesn't help the couple, as they face animosity among the lawmen of the town, and a natural fear of Therians inspired by the Beast of Bray Road. 

All is not completely against them, though; the friendly owner of a the local bed-and-breakfast, a somewhat overt gossip with an eye for Raina's beauty (to Baran's chagrin!), and an overly-enthusiastic "cryptozoologist" are among those eager to aid them in their search—meanwhile, their struggles to relate to and trust each other often do as much damage as the ones trying to impede the investigation and drive them out of town, while the Beast continues his awful rampage.

Kimberly Rogers is an incredible storyteller. Baran and Raina are so relatable and real that I am just about as obsessed with them as a fangirl can get: the way he struggles to express the very deep commitment and love he feels for her, and the way she tries to tease the affection she so badly desires out of her stoic husband. I completely love their interactions, and the world she sets up, infusing our history with Therianthropes and Elves, is enchanting and wondrous to behold. The struggles within and without play havoc with the Beasts within them, as controlling and suppressing the natural instincts under stress gets increasingly difficult. I love the intrigue of the mystery, balanced so perfectly between uneasy "down times" and periods of abject peril, doling out clues and discoveries just enough to keep the reader guessing, with plenty of twists and turns all the way to the very end!

"WOLF'S PATH" is a stellar piece of urban fantasy sure to excite fans of shows like Grimm and high fantasy like Lord of the Rings, as well as those who enjoy a good mystery and vivid characters in a fantasy setting. 
It definitely earns the full measure of a *****5 STAR***** rating, and an endorsement of the Upstream Writer Certified ABSOLUTELY RECOMMENDED as well!

Be sure to pick up the start of this series, Tiger's Paw (a prequel novella) and Leopard's Heart (the first book) and stay tuned for the third book, coming this fall! I know I can't wait!
 
Further Reading: (Urban fantasy/thrilling)
-Girls Can't Be Knights--Lee French
-Someday I'll Be Redeemed--Kelly Blanchard
-Escape From Neverland--Nils Visser
-Songstruck--Sofia Black
The Fair Folk Chronicles--Jeffrey Cook and Katherine Perkins
        -Foul is Fair
        -Street Fair