Monday, September 25, 2017

Reader's Review: "P.A.W.S." by Debbie Manber Kupfer


Synopsis from Amazon:

When Miri receives a silver cat charm from her omama, Celia, on the night before Celia dies she has no idea that the charm holds a secret, a powerful magic that saved her omama’s life and is about to make Miri’s a whole lot more interesting.

Join Miri on a mysterious and supernatural journey with her new friends, members of an underground St. Louis society known as the Partnership for Animagi, Werewolves, and Shapeshifters, better known as P.A.W.S.

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My Review:

I do enjoy a good shifter story! It's always fascinating to read how various authors treat the concept: whether it's painful, whether they can still talk in animal form, how they communicate with other animals/shifters, whether the shifter maintains a sense of self in either form, things like that.

P.A.W.S. introduces us to Miri, a girl with very few friends and very strange dreams, orphaned and sent by her mean, selfish aunt and uncle to live at a boarding school. There, she discovers her family's legacy, the reason behind the dreams, a secret organization that protects people like her, and a diabolical enemy who would stop at nothing to get what he wants from her.

The story starts out a little jumpy, but things smooth out as soon as the P.A.W.S. organization is introduced. This makes me think that perhaps Kupfer was just really excited about what was to come, that the introduction/exposition came as an afterthought, almost. I also felt like some of the situations were very much geared toward a middle-grade audience, while certain other moments were definitely suited to an older age group. 

Whatever the case may be, I enjoyed this new look at the lore behind werewolves and shape shifters, what they can and can't do, how they are born or made, and the way family legacies are handed down through generations. It definitely gets into the ethics of gaining power at the expense of others, of the corrupting allure of power, and the dramatic difference between a community that functions for the betterment of each other, versus a hierarchy of constant power struggles. 

All in all, I give it ****4 STARS**** and add to that an Upstream Writer Certified Recommendation for a good premise, distinctive characters, a strong conflict, and a compelling conclusion. If your teen-age reader is looking for something to read and enjoys magic and shapeshifting, definitely this book is a great launching point into an excellent genre!
 
Further Reading: (Shifter Stories/Young Readers/Magical Legacies/Girl of Destiny)
 
The Alexander Legacy--Sophronia Belle Lyon
       -A Dodge, A Twist, and A Tobacconist
       -The Pinocchio Factor   
The Therian Way--Kimberly Rogers
       -Leopard's Heart
       -Wolf's Path
       -Tiger's Shadow  
The Portal Prophecies--C. A. King
     -A Keeper's Destiny
     -A Halloween's Curse