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.
Savage Nature is the fifth book in the Leopard People Series by Christine Feehan published in May of 2011. The plot revolves around Drake Donovan – leader of the leopard team that goes on missions around the world – and Saria Boudreaux – a leopard shifter with a keen for photography.
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 Louisiana 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.
On her regular hunt for night photography in the Louisiana swamps, Saria Boudreaux comes across a human killed by knife and apparently mauled by a leopard. Knowing her brothers were all shape-shifting leopards, she reaches to outside help, Jake Bannaconni – the owner of the swamps around where she lives. Jake sends Drake Donovan to investigate. Drake finds himself in much more deeper than he expected both with Saria as well as with the situation in the swamps. How deep can he dig, what secrets he will unearth, how will Saria and Drake work out their feelings and above all who is behind the murder is all what follows next in the plot.
Drake Donovan had started squirming his way into my heart competing with Elijah Lospostos. As much as I want to read Elijah’s story, I wanted to read Drake’s as well. And the plot that Christine spun around Drake didn’t disappoint. He was every bit savage and ruthless in either loving Saria or taking care of the investigation, his team or even the people in swamps where the murder happened. A perfect title to the book that reflects Drake completely. Christine also brings the leopard people back to USA with this plot. Second story by Christine set in USA moving her characters slowly from Borneo forests to USA, although she had moved on to Panama Rain Forests in Wild Fire (My review of the book here).
Again Drake and Saria complement each other in every which way. What I liked about Christine’s heroines was that they are not thin and model-shaped with zero size. I liked that she has them with a little more body and definition along with some sass and healthy appetite. It brings them so close to reality and in more than one case I could relate to the heroines. Makes it a much better read for the readers. On a side note, I remember recently watching Project Runway reality TV show where they introduced models who had plus-size bodies making a point that clothes are not made just for zero-size figures. It is a huge step in fashion world when always it had focused on thin and lean models. A long way to go still though, but a definite beginning.
Back to the review, Christine still keeps the “cat has nine lives” concept with this plot too except we don’t see it elaborated as much. She also connects Jake Bannaconni’s plot from Burning Wild (My review of the book here) with this plot making it kind of a sequel but we shouldn’t forget that there was Connor’s story in Wild Fire in between. It makes sense for Christine to include Connor’s story in between since Drake's character was getting bone grafting done and would need time to heal from it before he can go on a mission again.
Christine also gives a lot more to Joshua Tregre’s past in this plot – another leopard shifter working with Drake and Jake. I have been seeing him as a steady character from the very first book in the series. Now that she has created enough background for Joshua to have his own plot, one would expect Christine to have her next book on him. However as I have already read two of her latest books in the series, I can say that Joshua’s story doesn’t come until her 10th book Leopard’s Blood in 2017, a good five years after this current book had been written. However I am guessing that she would evolve Joshua’s character in the books that came in between. We also see a little more of Remy Boudreaux giving the reader a thought that there would be a story about him soon. But did Drake and Remy’s paths cross ever? In the books so far it hadn’t, but Christine leaves an open-ended statement that makes me wonder if she will explore on that in Remy’s story when she writes.
Despite the technology being so forward in 2011, Christine mentions about Satellite Phones in her plot. Perhaps because that is the best way to communicate while in Louisiana swamps. This time around along with showing how the leopard people fight the world against drugs, Christine also gives the readers more about their lairs and the internal workings of it.
Christine Feehan spins another erotic tale filled with perils to the Leopard People in this fifth book. Christine puts more firmer ground for the Leopard People to further their cause. A good book to pick up if you want to continue the series.
1) Plot Reveals:
a. One of Saria’s brothers, Mahieu, and Charisse Mercier – another female leopard – are dating. Will Christine elaborate on this in one of her next books, will she have a main plot or sub-plot for Mahieu?
b. We also meet Evangeline Tregre, Joshua’s cousin from his father’s side. Since I have already read Evangeline’s story in the 9th book Leopard’s Fury (My review of the book here), it was a good introduction to her as well as her relation to Joshua.
2) Sub Plots:
a. Christine also introduces a few non-leopard people as the plots proceed, but a few stand-out making me wonder if she would make them shifters in future plots
i. Susan Hindman, Senator Hindman’s daughter, is introduced in Burning Wild plot. Christine made her character as brilliant, sharp and fast-learner at a very young age. Will Christine make her a shape-shifter in a future plot is something one has to wait and see but all signs point towards that for me.
b. Christine introduces us to her future heroes of this series who are yet to be mated as of this book:
i. Joshua Tregre – I have read his story in the 10th book Leopard’s Blood. My review of the book here.
ii. Jerico Masters and Evan Mitchelson - security / ranch hands all rolled into one at Jake Bannaconni’s property
iii. Shilo – a female Leopard being protected by the leopard people in Borneo Forest.
iv. Elijah Lospostos – Rachael’s brother whom we met in Wild Rain (My review of the book here)
v. Felipe and Leonardo Gomez Santos – brothers from Brazilian rain forests introduced in Wild Fire
vi. Jeremiah Wheating – a cub shifter who accidentally joins this group in the Wild Fire plot. Will there be more to him in a future plot is something we have to wait and see from Christine.
vii. Mateo – Connor’s young step-brother
viii. Dr. Abel Winters and his wife Mary Winters – Leopard Doctors who help the leopard shifters when in need.
ix. Boudreaux brothers – Remy, Mahieu, Dash, Gage and Lojos
x. Evangeline Tregre – Joshua’s cousin from his father’s side