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The Grizzly's Tale (A Pantherian Story Book 3) Kindle Edition
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SPOILERS FOLLOW. You are warned.
I loved the way the book started in a VR world, and how it was clear that the heroine was interacting with the heroes virtually first and foremost. I really enjoyed seeing this nascent real-life technology being explored as the basis for establishing personal, emotional ties in a romance. I also liked that the story is an HFN, with the heroine pursuing her dream and not having to change that because she met the heroes. Their unconditional support of that was wonderful.
But when we moved into Katya's real life, things started getting confusing. While it was clear she and her sister were "special," it seemed odd that parents who would have been exploring that would have only created a rather strange and not very useful ability in the two of them (and that could lead to Katya and her sister seemingly never being able to have their own children).
And having first established Katya's frantic concern for secrecy and not standing out, having her pursuing an internship in Antarctica didn't make sense. Why was she willing to leave a sister who she was so protective of? At the end of the book, why wasn't she more concerned with all the publicity resulting from the disappearances?
And there were more questions raised than answered: what were their mother's abilities and what happened to her? How could Katya get a new passport in one week, much less how did she get one in the first place under an assumed identity? Why were their friends and employer willing to cover up as much as they did?
Add to this the menage romance and the almost obligatory BDSM elements, and you ended up with a lot of confusion. In some ways, The Grizzly's Tale has almost a split personality: there's a menage BDSM romance overlaid with a neat VR twist, and then there's an SF experimentation mystery layered on top. And neither story is fully invested in at the risk of underplaying the other, so both end up feeling underplayed.
Malone is a solid writer, the book is well edited (no glaring typos), but there's almost too much going on here. But I really appreciate the creative concepts that were explored, and I would definitely read more by this author to see how her style and story structure evolve in future books.
FYI, I voluntary received an Advanced Reader's Copy of this book.
Katya meets the men in a VR online game, a game where she most often wins than loses but to these three guys she has lost to but with very satisfying conclusions. When the men asks to meet her, she is wary as she holds secrets about herself she doesn't want them to know, but they also holds secrets about themselves that once revealed will either make katya stay or leave. The men were all interesting in their own way they were all individual and all got along with Katya in a different way, both online and once they met. Whilst short it was very developed and I found i liked it better as the story went on.
I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this story from the publisher.
By the rules of the hunt, she was not captured until he collared and leashed his prey. Instead he continued kissing her until purple tentacles came up out of the water and Katy teleported away, exiting the Virtual Reality world.
This was definitely a different kind of shifter story for me. I loved the way it started, especially the excitement of the VR hunter-prey scenario. The story was well written, the characters well developed, and the origin history of the shifters and humans was very unique and clever. But my personal distaste for BDSM, no matter how mild, prevented me from enjoying the book as I otherwise might have. Despite my own personal dislikes, I do not hold it against the author in any way. I voluntarily reviewed this book and my comments reflect my honest opinion.
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By Nara Malone
Life in the real world is hard, and so are the secrets that we all carry. Life in a virtual reality world is an escape.Read more