ARC Review: Redemption (Lost City Shifters #2) by Eleri Stone
Betrayed by his king and forced into exile, Adriano has spent the last 5 years of his life living alone, trying to find a way to win or buy his way back into his Yaguara clan of jaguar shifters. If he can only find and recover the Bloodstone before the human achaeologists do, he’ll be able to protect his culture from discovery and sell it for enough money that even the unforgiving Yaguara can’t refuse him. Sophie Martin is a grad student on a mission… a mission to uncover the secrets behind a (supposed) long-dead civilization, a secret she is certain lies somewhere in the ruins of the ancient temple’s dig site. Both after the same goal, for vastly different reasons, Sophie and Adriano must decide whether to work together or fight against each other, and the consequences could be deadly.
- Title: Redemption
- Series: Lost City Shifters – book #2
- Author: Eleri Stone
- Prominent Characters: Sophie & Adriano
- Recommended reader age: 18+
- Sexual content level: moderate, but somewhat explicit
Adriano is intense from the start. He is wild but reserved, dangerous but respectable, despite his harsh view of himself. His third person thoughts and actions tell as much, if not more, about him than his actual dialogue. Adriano is hot, no doubt. Direct, confident, skilled, dominant, rugged… a shifter who embraces his beast and allows himself to live equally in both his worlds, human and the mysterious Yaguara jaguar shapeshifters. His character is so committed and feels so honest, that you immediately side with him, feeling as if he’s been unfairly condemned. How could someone with such strict personal standards be guilty of this heinous crime he’s accused of? Even when he reveals all he has done to survive, you don’t judge him for it; you empathize and understand that he’s only done what he must, nothing more.
Adriano and Sophie are damn near combustible! Separately they each wear their own personal brand of civilized veneer, but together they’re intense, demanding, and unrelenting. The sexy bits are most definitely steamy. If I had a heat rating for these reviews, I’d score the heat even higher than the story. There’s just something compelling about how composed and staid these two are when they’re apart, compared to how uncontrollable and overwhelmed they are when they’re near each other. It feels very animal, as if nature itself has a hand in helping pair up these mates, driving them into a base state to help force them to accept each other.
Little things about this story made it less epic than I would have liked, hence the 4 (instead of 5) rating. The personalities of the main couple are well-developed and have depth, and the chemistry between them is so strong you feel it in your gut, but some things, like Sophie’s feelings about her body and the reason for it, could have been given more weight and story importance. It could have become a trial or rite of passage for her as she embraces Adriano’s jaguar heritage, where such markings are respected rather than seen as a disruption of her beauty. Only a passing mention is given to her fear of fire, when fire is a defining element in part of the final section of the story. I would have liked to have seen Sophie physically face this demon from her past. Adriano jokingly references Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom, leading the reader to believe their passage through “the test” will be uneventful, but the story still has some unexpected elements of adventure, which I really enjoyed. However, the point of the adventure, what they work so hard to find, feels more like a plot device that is shuffled off when it loses its usefulness rather than something defining and monumental, as it was initially built up to be. It almost feels like two stories: Before the Temple and After the Temple. Realistically, that makes perfect sense – life goes on and people encounter new challenges- but it felt a little strange to suddenly be in a different headspace as a reader, from wilderness and adventure, to political conflict.
“Wait.” He’d known she wouldn’t be able to resist. Him, possibly. The glyphs? No.
Beauty knows no standard.
He saw a beautiful woman, ripe and alive. Quiet but not timid. Smart but not arrogant. She could be lovely by human standards as well if she chose. He liked her fine the way she was.
It’s impossible to argue with you when you say…
“You’re angry because you think you’re too plain for me. I tell you that I find you incredibly arousing. Don’t dismiss my interest because it doesn’t conform to your standards. I’m not interested in skinny women who smell like hair spray and diet pills. If you’re going to reject me, pick a better reason.”
Adriano, shifter and explorer extraordinaire…
“Are there any booby traps?”
“Booby traps,” he repeated, bemused. “You think this is the Temple of Doom? Damn if you don’t sound excited by that.”
If you like Redemption of the Lost City Shifters series…
If you enjoyed Redemption for its shapeshifting and paranormal storyline, and the intense bond between the cardinal couple, you may also like the books in the Psy/Changeling series (starting with Slave to Sensation) by Nalini Singh. Ms. Singh has created a rich world of shifters, mentally-gifted Psy, humans, and all the passion and politics that comes with the mix.
Another exceptional set of books with shifters is the Feral Warriors series by Pamela Palmer (starting with Desire Untamed). The Ferals are the last of their kind – only one shifter of each animal remains after a devastating sacrifice made many years ago. Now, the final few shifters are all that stand between their people and complete annihilation by the demons and mages. These men are large and in charge, alphas with attitude and skill, and they’re more than a handful for their mates.
Redemption is Ms. Stone’s sophomore offering in the Lost City Shifters series, following in the footsteps of Mercy, the tale of mutant-shifter Gabriel and pure-blooded Iada’s struggle for the throne of the Yaguara people. Redemption is a satisfying follow-up to Mercy but is also strong enough to stand on its own. I’m definitely looking forward to reading more PNR by Ms. Stone!
Available September 26th from Carina Press, Redemption is a fun, intense read, with depth and punch, and a charming nod to pop-culture fave Indiana Jones. And just for the record… Adriano is hotter than Indie. Just sayin’. (And isn’t that saying something? *grin*) No calling “Blasphemy!” until you read Redemption to find out for yourself!
*Note: Currently, Redemption is only being released as an e-book.
|4.0 Hearts: Recommended!|
Buy Redemption from Amazon here!
http://eleristone.com/ (author Eleri Stone’s website)
http://eleristone.blogspot.com/ (Ms. Stone’s blog)
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Eleri-Stone/ (Ms. Stone’s FaceBook page)
http://www.nalinisingh.com/ (The Psy/Changeling series website)
http://www.pamelapalmer.net/ (The Feral Warriors series website)