Caleb Bryne’s had big plans to go pre-med until the morning he woke up with a fur, four paws, and a tail. Now he’s roped into learning about a society within a society. There are rules, which he thinks are crap. There’s a hierarchy, which is also crap. At the end of the day Caleb would trade just about anything to get rid of his shifting ability. Since he can’t he’ll settle for just surviving in the world of the pack instead.
This book had me going back and forth multiple times, hence the maybe rating. It started out a bit slow for me and I found myself getting lost in the text rather than absorbed. Slowly the story sucked me in though, especially with Caleb’s first transformation. Caleb himself is definitely the intelligent teenager longing for a way to fulfill his dreams and live up to his self-imposed obligations to his father. The protagonist hasn’t enjoyed an easy life, but he’s working to make it better. The shifting thing takes him completely by surprise, though there are plenty of hints leading up to the whole snafu. Honestly, I thought an pre-med teenager would have picked up on some of the weird things his extended family did or the changes occurring within him. There were times I felt Caleb was a bit dumb-downed for the benefit of the story.
The secondary characters are a hoot: from the Lois-Lane-esque girlfriend Joanna to the protecting family pet Sampson. I found plenty of enjoyable personalities and a couple of people I wanted to hit because they naturally turned me off. The characters are extremely life-like; though I will mention that there was a few times I got confused between Caleb’s Uncle and the pack leader. Names are definitely something to keep up with, along with the hierarchy and terms dealing with the canines.
From the Appalachians in North Carolina to Hollywood’s famous Rodeo drive the settings of the story were also fun and live up to creating the two different worlds Caleb is surrounded by. He’s got to adjust to one and miss the other, and he’s not exactly a city a boy. I felt the author did a wonderful job of placing me in the different locations.
Finally the plot jumps from a coming into one’s own story to a bit of mystery. Caleb gets involved, and with another shifter solves the problem. The interesting part is that this part of the story seemed more interesting then first half. I found myself wanting more of this unlikely shifter, investigative duo then the ‘I just found out I can shift and life sucks’ deal. Almost as if the first half of the book was a pre-quel to the bigger and better things coming for Caleb.
Overall, my big issues were with pacing, a bit of Caleb’s ignorance to something he should have been more on alert with, and a little plot. Characters and setting were enjoyable and unique. I would give the next book in this series a shot for the hope of more ‘Caleb, Shifter Investigator’, and Bridger provides an interesting back drop for the next story.
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