For review of all books in this series: Go here
Stars: 3 / 5
Recommendation: Shape-shifting Leopards, Mobsters and Love - A weird combination right? Well, it's worth reading on those lazy days or to bring you out of any kind of dull mood.
Fantasy is a collection novella by four different authors who are famous in erotic romance involving paranormal elements category – Christine Feehan, Sabrina Jeffries, Emma Holly and Elda Minger It was published in March of 2002. My review is only of Christine Feehan's novella The Awakening. Although I read the remaining three I am sticking to just this one for this time.
After reading two books in this series – Leopard's Blood (Leopard People # 10) (My review of the book here) and Leopard's Fury (Leopard People # 9) ( My review of the book here), I had to go to the beginning of the series to read about where all this started and how Christine has spun a plot involving Mobsters and Leopards - a very intriguing mix indeed. Christine introduces the Shape – Shifting Leopard People, a species of their own, in this novella titled The Awakening where she tells the tale of Maggie Odessa – who arrives in the Borneo forests to claim her inheritance – and Brandt Talbot – who wants to claim Maggie for himself.
The entire Leopard People Series focuses on humans who have ability of shape-shifting to leopards. Each plot covers one couple that are destined to be mated in this lifetime just like so many lifetimes in the past. And surrounding this couple the plot expands on this species of leopard shape-shifters, their advantages as being so, their perils and how their lives move along in this 21st century. All of the plots are either set in Borneo Rain Forest - coast of South East Asia - and New Orleans in USA or eventually lead there. These leopards come from very hard and cruel lairs, but they come out on their own, find their mate, infiltrate the mobs and acquire the territories taking over them.
Maggie Odessa comes to Borneo forests to claim her inheritance that is being taken care of by Brandt Talbot. Unbeknownst to her Brandt had lured her for his own selfish reasons – to claim her as his mate just like many lifetimes in the past. But what neither know is what will happen to Maggie once her legacy comes to surface and once she accepts it. Adding to that Brandt has his share of problems in saving the forests from being destroyed by loggers and animals from being killed by hunters. How they strive together is the rest of the plot, of course with lots of segues into future books.
With this book Christine gives us glimpses of the kind of people Leopard People are, their trials and tribulations, their romances and commitments, and the threats that come at them in various forms and how they deal with it. She uses Maggie Odessa’s inheritance claim to lead her to Borneo forests where she makes Maggie face not only her inheritance but her legacy too, albeit she has Brandt Talbot to aid her with all of his hotness and carnal side along with his urge to save humanity as well as the leopard people. Christine calls the leopard people as guardians of the jungles, of the rain forests. And her plot doesn’t yet get to the point where she is having the leopard people take over the mobster families. I am curious to see how she segues from rain forests in Borneo to mobsters in New Orleans, USA which I have already read in the latest books. Perhaps the second book might shed more light on that.
She also introduces her future heroes – Drake Donovan and Joshua Tregre – along with minor characters such as Connor and Shilo. Knowing her future books I know there is one for Joshua Tregre too (10th book in the series Leopard’s Blood tells Joshua’s story), but there might be plots for Drake, Conor and Shilo in the books that havent read yet.
I felt that the plot ended abruptly perhaps as it is a novella. But that reduced her repetition in phrasing and information that she has in every book. Also the erotic content didn’t border on BDSM that I rarely like to read, and was enjoyable instead. My first time around when I had read this book I hadn’t liked it much, but this time around with the perception of where the series would lead to I actually liked it. If we keep aside the eroticism in the plot, Christine touches upon the global threat we are facing in reality – deforestation. Although it still irks me when she uses statement like “giving the gift” or “doing exactly what he wanted” etc. she also had used them lesser in this one, again considering it a novella must have been the reason. Even her usage of f-words were less to none.
I would say it is a decent beginning to a powerful erotic series that touches on social evils, romance and the mysterious species. If you like the mix, this series is one to be picked.