Reviewed by Helyce
Note: Might be a little bit rambly…
I remember when I found the Breeds. I came upon a book at my local used bookstore. I don’t remember which one it was, but it fueled my love of science fiction with its very imaginative theme of altering genetics and creating a completely different species by splicing animal and human DNA. Not a human who could shift into an animal–something completely different. When I realized this was a series, I headed back to my used bookstore and bought every single one they had.
I was hooked!
Over the years I’ve had a love-hate relationship with this series. It became repetitive and didn’t feel as if there was much of a story arc, until recently. And don’t get me started on the editing, or should I say, complete lack thereof. One of the books was shipped to retailers with a whole chapter missing. There were huge inconsistencies, and no rhyme or reason sometimes; BUT I hung in there and dealt with all of that because of Cassandra Sinclair. She had sparked my interest from the moment she was introduced as a little girl. Cassie is special because she is not just a wolf Breed, but she also holds the genetics of a coyote. As a little girl, she was revered and protected for her gifts, especially her gift of sight. Cassie made appearances here and there throughout the series as she grew up and began working closely with Jonas at the Bureau of Breed Affairs as the most knowledgeable person with respect to Breed Laws.
Also over the years, we’ve been teased with a male Breed who was never far but always in the shadows. He and Cassie developed a secret friendship of sorts, as for whatever reason Cassie grew to trust him and had called upon him to help her over the years. There was always a debt to be paid, however, and Cassie always went into it willingly and always paid up. This secret Breed was dangled before us for several books and though I had my suspicions on who he might be, my hopes were dashed when that Breed got his own book and mate in a previous release. When Cassie’s sister is mistaken for her and kidnapped, Cassie wastes no time in contacting this Breed for his help. His price this time is steep, however, as he asks for one night with Cassie. For her sister’s safety, however, she agrees.
If you’re a fan of this series, and you’ve stuck it out, you may have had suspicions on who Cassie’s secret Breed was, but I was shocked (and I have to admit, a little disappointed at the beginning) to learn that it was a character named Dog. Yeah, stupid name…but Dog is a Breed that has been around for a long time. He is a coyote Breed suspected of working with the GeneticsCouncill, who are of course the Breed’s worse enemy. But Dog has always played by his own rules as he skates the line between factions as a double agent. He’s done whatever he’s needed to do to keep himself and his people safe, all the while keeping to an agenda of his own. He’d known that Cassie was his mate due to an encounter many, many books back, but he waited six years to claim her.
Though highly anticipated, I kept my expectations low, because I have read every single book in this series and have experienced the ups and downs that tend to happen in a long running series. I have enjoyed the story arc a bit more since Jonas’s book and the return to Window Rock, New Mexico to revisit events from earlier books in the series, but Leigh uses some previously used strategies to cause conflict here, so part of the book is same old, same old.
Within this mating between Cassie and Dog, we learn so much more about both these characters. Cassie long believed what everyone else had believed where Dog was concerned, so the fact that he turned out to be her mate caused much distress and conflict. But the revelation of the mating is nothing compared to everything else that is revealed about not only Cassie but of Dog’s parentage. It was exciting to see everything that Cassie had always held back within herself, come rising to the surface to reveal her true nature. Like Jonas and Graeme, Cassie is a primal.
All in all, Dog being Cassie’s mate took me by surprise, but by the end of the book, I was okay with it. As far as ‘mating heat’ goes, I was pleased to see that while there is a fair amount of sex in this book, it didn’t overwhelm the story has it’s been known to do in previous books. I sense a shift in where this story is going, though I couldn’t guess quite where that is at this point. I love that it ends with Graeme and his conniving plans. Like Cassie, Graeme seems to just know things. He is incredibly smart and super sneaky in his ways.
I always said that I stayed with this series to get to Cassie’s book, but I really don’t think I’m ready to quit, just yet.