Friday, March 30, 2012

Review: Shepherd's Moon by Stacy Mantle

I was fortunate to receive this book from the author through a the group Making Connections on Goodreads

Shepherd's Moon (The Shepherds, #1)

Publication Date
October 25th, 2011


Available At

It's taken twelve years to earn the official title of Shepherd but she's now mostly trained, fairly effective, and the first female in over two centuries to hold the position as protector of animals. All animals. . .

The Territorial Council isn't thrilled with her new title of Shepherd, but they don't have any more control over the appointment than they have over her. All they can really do is wait for her to screw something up - which Alex is determined not to do. Everything changes with a chance encounter with a genetically modified Shifter leaves Alex shaken and initiates a quest to locate its maker.

In a desperate bid to save her pack, Alex must infiltrate the Parallax Corporation - an international organization with their hands in everything from biomedical engineering to publishing. They have now expanded their efforts to include terrorism and are attempting to breed the perfect weapon.

Despite years of training and enough money from her live-in pack of misfits to finance a small country, Alex finds herself woefully unprepared to tackle the new threat. To make matters worse, Alex must work with a mysterious man who's been trying to kill her since the day they met. Together with her pack, Alex must learn how to stop the biological cloning and find those responsible for the plan before it really does become a global threat.

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I have to say that I enjoyed the characters along with the plot line, but I found quite a few problems that detracted from my reading experience.

As soon as I started reading Shepherd's Moon I instantly felt as if I missed out on the first book of the series. There was just so much backstory and history that was relayed to us as the reader and had a huge part of the story. I also think that by not being able to 'witness' the past events, it lessened the investment into the characters, I wasn't as effected as I should have been. Also, the repetitiveness was extraneous. It seemed that every time Modnik(the were-jaguar) was brought up that we got a recap of the event that took place pre-book.

There is a broad spectrum of Shifters in Shepherd's Moon, as well as other preternatural creatures. It was fun to see all the different ones as they came to play in the story. For instance, there are vampires, Nephilim, different weres like jaguars, coyotes, wolves, horses, hawks, cheetahs. In other words, Stacy Mantle brought a lot of new concepts to the table that I really appreciated.

Alex as the female protagonist was a strong voice, in my opinion. I liked her determination and fierce loyalty to her pack, but I couldn't figure out if she was 20 or 24, I think each age was mentioned once in the book. I also had to keep reminding myself of her age, she reads as an older woman, and it might have been the authors intention because Alex hasn't had an easy life. She's had to grow up quickly to take on certain responsibilities. She seemed to fumble around a lot with her responsibilities and lacked a certain amount of experience, and that's the one thing I found consistent with her age.

I found the plot line extremely intriguing, capable of pulling me in, but incapable of hiding the inconsistencies that were scattered throughout. For instance, Alex tells us that weres aren't born, they are made, but then she has a were-jaguar in her pack that has had multiple births, currently raising two as jaguar cubs because it's easier to raise them as cubs than humans. They were born, right? So maybe Alex meant that they could be born or created? Or are Shifters different than Weres? I don't know, I constantly had my brow furrowed as I tried to decipher some of the things in this book. But, as I said, the plot line is super interesting, it just needs to be polished up for the full affect of a potentially great story to take place. There were also a lot of misplacement's of quotation marks, or lack of. It was a distraction that took away from my reading pleasure, usually I tend to ignore error like that, but it was a little too obvious.

The romance, in my opinion, was non-existent. The guy that I thought would be the perfect match for Alex was too easily dismissed because she could read his mind and they were best friends since they grew up together. I felt that there was a lot of romantic potential that Stacy Mantle could have cashed in on between Billy and Alex. There was a repulsion/attraction thing going on with Tristan, but there was only one moment where he was attractive to ME as the reader. And don't get me wrong, I like romance in my stories, but it's not a necessity that I need to be able to enjoy a good story.

I should be giving this book 2 stars, but I did actually really, really like it. The characters were fun, the plot line drew me in, but it needs to be re-edited by the author so she can polish it up a bit more. If she does that, then I think she will gain more interest because the story and the series has A LOT of potential. I am extremely curious to see where this series will go, so Stacy Mantle can count me in line for the next installment.

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