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Marking Territory (Freelance Familiars Book 2) Kindle Edition
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In any case, even as it stands, this is great fun and a very well-designed plot. I would recommend reading the first book in the series before tackling this one, however. Protagonist Thomas Khatt was involuntarily transformed into a cougar (puma, mountain lion depending on where you live) and is still dealing with the disorientation and inconveniences associated with that. In particular, he misses having opposable thumbs. Other gifts, such as the ability to see magic in operation and communicate telepathically with other magically gifted individuals, help to compensate.
In this novel, Thomas must find the right side in a battle of magi that threatens the very existence and all the mundane citizenry of his home town of Grantsville. It's a difficult problem to resolve and involves a lot of risk for him and for his various magical friends and patrons, not to mention his werewolf girlfriend Noise and fellow independent talking animal, Rudy the pyrotechnically obsessed squirrel.
You'll have to read the book to get the rest of the details, but I promise it is worth the trouble.
This is Book 2 in Potter's "Freelance Familiars" series, a fast-moving thriller of magic warfare in a modern urban setting. The main flaw is that there is no synopsis or What Has Gone Before of Book 1. The reader who is unfamiliar with Book 1 has no idea of what is going on.
It's both a good and bad thing to be honest, to have it jumping in so quickly. On one hand, it gives the readers more of the new to chew on, but I did find myself going back to the first book to give myself a refresher on some things I don't remember or might've missed (definitely you won't have a problem if you continue from the first book right away; I however, had a couple months in between the books).
One thing I do find particularly enjoyable is the ambiguity between what's really "good" or "bad." No one character really can really be painted as a true "villain" as Thomas's alliances are quite fickle themselves and you get a good feel of each character's ambitions and justifications for their actions.
My main criticisms for the book though: There are points in the story where it does feel a bit deus ex machina in though, as certain allies (?) are there just in the nick of time and opportune moments that will make you chuckle and go "of course that'll be there to solve the problem." This abrupt solution to me felt a bit underdeveloped and I'm hoping the author will dive deeper into the consequences of these "solutions" later in the future. The ending also felt a little bit lacking, as it was more of a bridge into the oncoming book rather than a full on conclusion that wraps everything up nicely.
Overall though, I thoroughly enjoyed this entry into the Freelance Familiar Series, and I do hope to see more from the author in the future. It was entertaining, gripping, and controlled throughout. It definitely was a pleasure to read.
Thomas is also reconciling his own changes and instincts and getting to know himself anew, and not just in the fuzzy features dimension, but what kind of person he is, facing tough choices. While his decisions affect the world, I appreciate the way that the story didn't force a 'right answer' on the reader, allowing us to get to know ourselves a little better.
The book has a darker tone than the first, but it is in the grandest storytelling tradition of making us a bit uncomfortable while still providing an entertaining adventure. I enjoyed this intense entry in the series, and I am eagerly awaiting more!