Author: Summer Devon
Cover Artist: unknown
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
He thought he had nothing left to lose…until he lost his heart.
Solitary Shifters, Book 1
Jake will be forever grateful to the man who rescued him and brought him to an animal preserve to live. It’s the perfect home for a bander, a type of shifter known to be notoriously taciturn. Now Jake runs the place, and he’s content with the hard truth that he’ll always be alone.
Summer visitors are a necessary evil. And Vaughn Prentiss is exactly the sort of tourist that gets on Jake’s last nerve. A happy-go-lucky, carefree, trust-fund baby.
Vaughn can’t fathom why Jake seems to enjoy insulting him for no reason. Yet he’s attracted to the man’s gruff kindness with the preserve’s youthful workers. And it hasn’t escaped his notice that Jake is something special. Something not quite human.
When Vaughn discovers his financial manager has absconded with the family fortune, Jake acts on impulse to offer him a job, and wonders if he’ll live to regret it. It’s hard enough to keep his shifter nature private, much less keep his paws off his newest employee…a man Jake is coming to admire. If only he could be sure, when danger reveals the truth of what he is, if Vaughn will stay by his side—or run.
I picked up Taming the Bander because it is book one in a the Solitary Shifters trilogy from Summer Devon. Book three, Releasing the Shifter, piqued my interest, so I had to read the first two. Honestly, I don’t know if I would continue this series if I had not already committed to reviewing all three available books (the third book will be released from Samhain later this spring).
I found that there was a lot of the world and character-building that was left out of the story. I think it is there, but just still in the author’s head (and probably her notes). I kept thinking I had missed something, only to re-read and realize that no, I hadn’t. The information needed just wasn’t there. Some of it will probably come to light as I continue the series, but a lot of it had to do with the main relationship in the story. Some of it the characters don’t know either, and that I can understand being left out.
The prose itself felt stilted to me. Maybe it was because I was so wrong-footed that it felt this way, but it made reading and enjoying hard. I spent so much time getting pulled from the story and having to get back into it, that none of it ever really flowed.
All that said; the story wasn’t all bad. I enjoyed the parts of Jake’s story I was able to glean from what the author offered us. I also have a bit of a soft spot for poor Vaughn. However, I never felt I got to know either of them all that well, so I never fully connected. I would be interested in how their relationship matures from here.
The secondary story line, that of Vaughn losing all his money, was just odd. Maybe it goes back to why I felt wrong footed the whole time. I understand that life wasn’t going to be tied back up in little bows for Maya and Vaughn, but it was all a little too… I don’t know… something.
The final secondary story line is of course that of Dr. Glen. It was hinted at a few times and then thrown in our faces so we would maybe like him a little and we could have a sequel. We are told over and over how much Vaughn dislikes and fears Dr. Glen. Then when we meet him, he is pretty darn creepy… but we are still expected to like him enough to want his story? I just don’t buy it.
I think it boils down to that fact that the only character I truly liked in this entire story was Walter.
Rating: 2.75 of 5 Stars
Ok so props on creating a shifter story that was very different from the more mainstream shifter stories I have read. The idea of secretive, loner shifters of many breeds and origins was a good one. I liked that the shifters were not prolific and were not widely known. That they did not have packs or secret societal structures. I really loved that Jake was so unique, even he was unsure of what he was exactly. Jake’s mysterious nature made me want to keep reading to find out if his other self was ever established.
But I have to be honest. The mystery surrounding Jake’s other nature was really the only thing that kept me reading this book. I did not connect with this story overall. I liked Vaughn and Jake towards the end, but I was never really given enough information to connect with the plot or the other characters. It was as if the author spent so much effort on mysterious about Jake that she forgot to finish the story. Forgot to go back and give the backstory that would have made this cohesive and interesting. Once Jake was stabbed, the pace of the story did pick up and I started to feel a bit more interest in the outcome, but I still wish more details would have been shared. Details about Vaughn and Jake’s journey to falling in love that would have turned this into more than a poorly executed insta-love situation. Was this some shifter mating instinct that drove these men together? Or was it just that I missed the portions of the story where they got to know one another?
I did not like Maya. She was everything I hated in a supporting female character. She was shallow, self obsessed, immature, and greedy. Other than acting as the impetus for the little bit of action in the story, she could have been cut out completely and I would have been perfectly happy. And I could never get a good read on Mr. Walton. He came across as this crazy “knower of all things.” As if there was supposed to be more to his story that I just never learned. By not having his history, I felt his character was borderline creepy and underdeveloped. His role as Jake’s mentor was hinted at but their true connection was never revealed. It made this relationship weak at best.
Finally, I don’t really get Dr. Glen. He comes off as smarmy and self assured, but there has to be more to his story. He was mentioned and made a brief appearance, but it was not enough for me to get an understanding of his character. I know his story is next, but I am not really sure I made enough of a connection with him to be anything more that slightly curious about his story. I will read it, because I feel like I should, but I am not eager for it like I am with series I love.
I guess I was left feeling like there should have been more to this story. I was left with a sense of incompleteness. I hate when this happens because it means I cannot recommend this series to any reader. I cannot say that I enjoyed this one because in the end, I felt like I only read part of something bigger.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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