I’ve been going through a slight romance binge lately, what with romance being on my mind as this week is Ergofiction‘s “Love Is In the Air” issue. I’ve come to realize that a) there is little romance web fiction; b) there are thousands of romance ebooks; c) a lot of those ebooks are awfully written and formatted. So it came as a relief to download Zoe Winter’s Kept and discover that there is some good romance still out there!
Greta is a werecat whose tribe plans to sacrifice her during the next full moon. Her only hope for survival is Dayne, a sorcerer who once massacred most of the tribe. What’s that thing they say about the enemy of your enemy?
This book is the first in Winters’ Blood Lust trilogy, and let me right off the bat say you have no excuse not to read it, as it’s free. But there are of course a number of other reasons why you should read it, and I hope to outline those below.
The concept is one you’ll have come across before — shapeshifters (“therians”), sorcerers, magic, rituals, and the ever-difficult politics of shapeshifter packs. But there’s something fresh about this setting: the preternatural border patrol, the non-teenage cast, and Winters’ fun insight into life as a werecat.
The story has more depth to it than a simple romance, and a world worth exploring. In this world, therian blood is a precious commodity, used to boost magical spells (an idea I also used in Above Ground!). I love that Winters went through the effort of even setting up http://theriantype.com/, which is mentioned in the novel directly.
The character were really well-written, their dialogue witty and entertaining. The male lead — a grumpy sorcerer — was perhaps less evil than he could have been, but he was nonetheless hot. And Greta, the female lead, wasn’t some air-headed damsel in distress but a strong (slightly insecure) 28-year-old. The chemistry between them was great, and the sex scenes — whilst fun — were not excessively steamy.
But what I loved the most was Winters’ take on shapeshifters. Greta’s feline characteristics were really well described, and I loved her scenes as a cat. So much so that I want to read more, and — happily! — there are two more books for me to read.
Finally, on a slightly odd note, I really liked the formatting of this ebook. It was easy on the eye, nicely laid out, and gave me the visual feel of a paper book, so kudos for that! It’s always a pleasure to find an ebook that’s been properly formatted — too often people just slap in their word docs with no consideration for line spacing or font size!
In sum, if you like romance and love the paranormal, be sure to read Kept. If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to immediately start on the sequels!