Book Critique – Wild Cat (Leopard People #8)
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.
Wild Cat is the eighth installment in the Leopard People Series by Christine Feehan published in November of 2015. The plot revolves around Siena Arnotto – heir apparent to the Arnotto family – and Elijah Lospostos – heading the Lospostos family. The timeline in this story plot follows immediately after the plot in the seventh installment Cat’s Lair (Story of Eli Perez and Catarina Benoit. My review of that book here), hence the setting is more in Texas although the reader is taken to Louisiana as well.
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 and Texas 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.
Finally I get to read the story of Elijah Lospostos. He had been creeping into my thoughts every time I picked up any book in this series and charmed his way in. Did the plot come out as I had imagined it could be? Yes. Did I like the way Christine portrayed Elijah? 95% of it yes, there was some part of his character that I wanted it a little less ferocious. However he suits the plot, the role and the basic story-theme perfectly. We get to see Elijah Lospostos and Siena Arnotto become mates and how together they combine the Arnotto and Lospostos families, putting it in-line to where Christine is taking this series. However, what I didn’t like was the way Elijah and Siena first meet; it is very cruel and harsh. It felt more cruel because the setting had been so simple and sweet. Although the unexpected turn Christine gives that scene is quite masterful. That was one of things that I didn’t like about the way Elijah was portrayed, but it is a huge step needed for the plot. I have to add though, with this just one scene, Christine has Siena earn a really huge soft spot from every reader, in fact just not Siena but for all those leopard woman who get chained to these alpha male leopard-shifters.
The rocky beginning of the relationship between Elijah and Siena has to go a long way before it can end where Elijah wants and Christine definitely makes us go through every step with them. It is a long journey for a reader to see how Siena moves forward with Elijah and how Elijah becomes more better as a human as well as a leopard. Of course there are erotic scenes between them that perhaps help in bridging that gap. Being from a crime family and sole heir to that enterprise similar to Elijah, Siena is also an alpha female in every sense. Despite that she forms a perfect complement to Elijah.
Christine continues to show the comradeship between all the alpha leopards, how they form a brotherhood that has a higher purpose than that normally viewed on surface. We also see beginnings of the plots for Joshua Tregre’s story as well as for Alonzo Massi’s stories which I had already read and posted reviews of (Alonzo's story is in the 9th book Leopard’s Fury while Joshua's story is in the 10th book Leopard’s Blood). Although Alonzo remains a total mystery till the end in this plot, while Joshua intrigues you more. Having seen Joshua evolve from the very first book in the series, and have a sort of a major sub-plot in this book, one would naturally expect his story to be the next. However, having already read the next two books, I know that Christine had given us first Alonzo's story.
I had asked Christine when I met her that how does she know which character to pick next and write about them. Her answer was that the characters speak to her and she goes the way they want. Perhaps Alonzo spoke earlier than Joshua for Christine to pick him next.
Christine has more than one plot running in parallel in this book. She however continues to keep Rafe Cordeau's presence posthumously. We met him in the previous book Cat's Lair. Through Rafe Christine further ties the Texas and Louisiana leopard lairs, more deeper and stronger.
Again Christine touches upon a lot of social evils that exist around the world in this book, primarily related to mobs, their territories and their dealings. It is very intriguing to read the solutions that Christine brings up in her plots. As I mentioned in my earlier reviews of books in this series, it is a brilliant plan if we can in fact do such a thing for real. With enough power, backup, money and above all morality, perhaps it is achievable when the right people are involved. However there is still lot of repeat paraphrasing which is a constant in her books. Also the erotic content's notch increases a bit with every book in the series.
Her usage of the f-words are more in this series compared to others. However, her recent series – Shadow Series (My review of the books in that series here) – and the last book in Sisters of the Heart series - Bound Together (My review of the book here) – seem to have increased usage of the f-words. I am guessing the Torpedo Ink Series stemmed from the Sisters of the Heart Series’ last book will have heavier usage as well considering from where it is coming from and the history of the characters. Will she need to tone down on that part, I am not sure about that yet. Per the characters it makes perfectly sense. But from a normal reader perspective it gives a little jerk whenever I read those words. So the jury is still out on that for now.
Another intense plot revolving around the shape-shifters bringing out the best and worst of them at the same time giving something back to the community. A good read for anyone who likes a combination of shape shifters with love, romance, eroticism, paranormal and fighting for the greater good.
1) Plot Reveals:
a. Christine has a special note at the beginning of the book about her parents and how her mother had never cooked and held a baby before marrying her father. There is a cooking scene where Siena burns her hands on chilies while cooking Elijah's favorite dish. That scene is exactly out of her mother's life. That scene is what made me think perhaps Siena Arnotto's character was built around Christine's mother. Perhaps that is why she feels much more real.
i. Christine is known to base her characters on real people, people she know in her life. I remember that when I had met her she had mentioned that the character Skyler Daratrazanoff in the Carpathian Novels was based on her granddaughter who is also named Skyler. That is why I guess more than often the characters seem very real.
b. Siena Arnotto gets her masters of science in Oenology. Never knew till now that the Study of Wines has such an antique name.
2) Sub Plots:
a. One of Saria’s brothers, Mahieu, and Charisse Mercier – another female leopard – are dating per the plot in Savage Nature. Will Christine elaborate on this in one of her next books, will she have a main plot or sub-plot for Mahieu?
b. Emma, Jake Bannaconni's mate; Saria, Drake Donovan's mate; Catarina, Eli Perez's mate - are all pregnant. And now Siena also is pregnant in this plot.
c. Jerico Masters and Evan Mitchelson - security / ranch hands all rolled into one at Jake Bannaconni’s property - aren't shifters but are loyal to Jake. Perhaps we will get to see more of them in future.
3) 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
a. 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.
4) Christine introduces us to her future heroes of this series who are yet to be mated as of this book. We keep getting glimpses of their lives and past as each and every story progresses, making the reader wonder whom of these will Christine elevate in her future books.
a. Joshua Tregre – I have read his story in the 10th book Leopard’s Blood. My review of the book here.
b. Shilo – a female Leopard being protected by the leopard people in Borneo Forest.
c. Felipe and Leonardo Gomez Santos – brothers from Brazilian rain forests introduced in Wild Fire.
d. Jeremiah Wheating – a cub shifter who accidentally joins this group in the Wild Fire plot.
e. Mateo – Connor’s young step-brother
f. Dr. Abel Winters and his wife Mary Winters; Dr. Liam Mulligan, Dr. Mason. Doc – Leopard Doctors who help the leopard shifters when in need. Suddenly from Wild Cat the doctors have become Doc. Which one if this is addressed as Doc is unclear.
g. Remaining Boudreaux brothers – Mahieu, Dash, Gage and Lojos
h. Evangeline Tregre – Joshua’s cousin from his father’s side. I have read her story in the 9th book Leopard’s Fury (My review of the book here).
i. Trey Sinclair and Evan Courtier - work for Jake Bannaconni
j. Joaquin Estrada and Tomas Estrada – Elijah’s bodyguards.
5) Christine writes that when for the first time Siena Arnotto comes to know of her legacy as Shifters – Leopard People – she doesn’t believe and thinks of a fiction like leopards in Tarzan. However I don’t remember any shifters in Tarzan book series. And then when I googled, I found that in the eighteenth book in the series - Tarzan and the Leopard Men- of twenty four main books, author Edgar Rice Burroughs talks about Leopard Men. Hmm…clearly I either missed reading this book or totally don’t remember it. More about this book here.
6) Grammatical / Character / Location / Geographical / Historical / Mythological Errors:
a. On pg. 29 where Christine describes about a scene in how Angelo Fabbri - known contact to Siena - is killed, Christine mentions that the wine case that Siena delivers to Angelo at his restaurant ends up being in Angelo's car. However, on Pg. 160, Christine mentions thru Elijah that there was no case of wine found on any of the victims including Angelo Fabbri. A distinct miss in the placement of the scene.
b. On pg. 209, the last but one line, it should be " She didn't know if it was…"
c. On pg. 222, it should be "Tonight I want to fall asleep inside you." there is a "in" that is not required.
d. On pg. 345, 3rd line, Christine mentions that Elijah turns off the blender. However again on pg. 346, she mentions that Elijah runs back into the kitchen and turns off the blender again. There was only one blender running in the scene, so how did he turn off the same blender twice without turning it on in between.
e. On pg. 367, 6th line, it should be "...you have another thing coming…" not "...think coming…"
7) As I read this Leopard People books and as I see more and more of the plots getting closer to or around New Orleans Bayous, it reminded me of another of Christine Feehan's series that is set in New Orleans. One of the team from her Ghostwalker Series (My review of the books in this series) - Elite Air Force Pararescue Team - are also set in New Orleans Bayous. Will Christine have a cross-over plot between both the series? I hope she does. Would be interesting to see how man-made super soldiers fare with the naturally born super humans. (Christine, are you reading this? :)