Zoo vet Maggie Odessa has always been fascinated by exotic cats. She seizes the chance to visit the rainforests of Borneo, little knowing that the trip will change her life forever.
Last week I read The Awakening by Christine Feehan. It was the first time I’d read anything by Feehan and also my first introduction to shapeshifter romances outside of Mills and Boon.
I love how Feehan writes. Her style is clear, direct, descriptive and action oriented. Most of all it’s clean. There’s nothing to get between the reader and the story. The Awakening is set in a rainforest, a wonderful location that Feehan brings alive succinctly.
Before reading The Awakening I tried 25 pages of a supernatural romance by another internationally acclaimed author. The writing style was completely different. Characters took 300 words to do very little except look dramatic (hair and robes billowing in the storm etc …) I discarded the book and took to Feehan immediately.
The Awakening is the first of Feehan’s leopard people stories. The leopard people live in the rainforest and in cities. They protect nature and pass for human.
Because they are both leopard and human, their romantic relationships are not like ours. They go into heat and mate for life.
As I’ve noticed before, shapeshifters give writers the opportunity to create idealised romances without presenting a false impression of human romantic relationships.
We all know that someone who “love bombs” a person they barely know is likely to be in love with love at best and a manipulative narcissist at worst. So romances in which humans behave like that with each other are somewhat irresponsible.
When a shapeshifter does it, he or she is acting according to the fidelity-based norms of their animal nature. With shapeshifter romances forever is really forever.
I’m not sure what else to say about The Awakening without spoiling the story for you. It’s mostly erotic, with some internal and external conflict, and lays the foundation nicely for other leopard people stories.
The leopard people in themselves are interesting, as are the environmental themes in the story.