Healer’s Choice by Jory Strong (Ghostland #3)
September 7, 2010
Trade Paperback, 384 Pages
Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “I’ll be your first. And your last.”
Rebekka is a healer who lives in the red zone; a district filled with shape shifter brothels.
Having grown up in this violent and oppressive atmosphere, her life has never been easy
but she cannot abandon the outcasts who ply their trade with often disastrous results.
With just a touch and thought, Rebekka can heal even the most damaged shifter.
But with her gift comes a heavy price and responsibility. When five cubs become fatally ill, it is foretold that a human healer will be their salvation. Aryck, the clan’s enforcer, is sent into the red zone to find the healer and bring her back to their camp. Weres do not associate with humans or outcasts (weres trapped between forms) but from the moment Aryck and Rebekka meet, their destinies intertwine. And choices are made that will not only determine the Weres future…but that of mankind.
In Ms Strong’s third installment of her Ghostland series, Healer’s Choice, we are taken back to war torn Oakland and into the cruel brothels owned by the vice lords. Ms Strong’s intriguing and intense urban fantasy world doesn’t shield you from the horrors of war or it’s aftermath. Rather it pushes you straight into a heartbreaking yet celebratory tale that takes a look at prejudice and the strength of those who seek to rise above it. The world is split into three factions-the supes, humans, and outcasts-the outcasts being the lowest caste. Forced to serve in brothels, as payment for protection where any vice is acceptable. Born to a prostitute and unknown father, Rebekka lives in the brothels using her unique healing abilities to heal the outcasts. She works on the side to try and buy the outcast’s freedom. Soon her healing gift strengthens and she is able to actually change the outcasts-giving them the choice of form.
When word comes that the Weres are falling prey to a horrible disease Rebekka travels into Were territory where humans and outcasts are forbidden. There she meets Aryck, enforcer to the Jaguar clan. At their first meeting, Aryck’s Jaguar claims Rebekka as his mate, but the human in Aryck is dismayed. He doesn’t want a human as a mate. Humans are inferior and have no place in his world. Rebekka knows this disease is cutting a wide sweep through the Were territory. As she follows it’s path she learns more about herself and begins to change the very fabric of the Were clans society.
Rebekka is a strong protagonist who’s kind and trusting nature hides a core of unbreakable steel. Her loyalties run deep; even at the expense of her own life. As she explores her feelings for Aryck, they fall second to the internal conflicts she has concerning her parentage, the outcasts, and her expanding gifts. She knows this is part of her destiny and she has a greater responsibility to the world at large.
Aryck is a very sexy Alpha Jaguar who’s feelings for Rebekka conflict with his loyalty to his clan. As he attempts to work through the prejudices he and his people hold against humans and outcasts; he also does anything and everything to ensure Rebekka stays safe.
The chemistry between them is intense and sensual; made more so by the undercurrents of tension and strife in the story. Their emotions roll off the page and are made more believable by the slowness of it’s ascent. Aryck is deliciously possessive but at times his stubbornness was maddening. Rebekka holds her own with him though and watching them together is very smexy. The erotic overtones are not quite as blatant in this installment as with the first two. Ms. Strong focuses more on the over all arc and bridging gaps to send this series striding forward to a new level. Each character in this story is painted in rich detail and leaves a lasting impression on you. Through their stories we are given greater detail to the indignities caused by the war and the changes it wrought. I found myself cringing on more then one occasion as I read certain scenes.
We see old friends and meet new enemies; the merging of the characters into this story is flawless. Questions are answered and new ones asked. I was pleased with this installment and the dramatic ending has me ready for book fout. While this book is part of an on going series, it could easily stand alone.
This series includes:
”Angel-Claimed” in the Primal Anthology – February 2011