Walk on the Wild Side

Christine Warren
2008, Urban Fantasy Romance
St. Martin's, $6.99, 352 pages, Amazon ASIN 0312947917
Part of a series

Grade: D+
Sensuality: Hot

A couple of years ago I read, and loved, Christine Warren's She's No Faerie Princess. After finishing her latest, however, I have a strong contender for one slot in my ballot for AAR's 2008 Annual Reader's Poll. Unfortunately, that slot is Most Disappointing read. This latest entry in The Others series started out with an exciting prologue, but was downhill from there for me.

Kitty Sugarman and her mother are in a horrific car accident at the start of the book. Kitty realizes that they are going to die if she can't do something, and struggles to get out of the car. Suddenly, not only is she free, but she also rescues her mother. To Kitty's horror, she's been able to escape because, for the first time, she's shifted into another form...a lion.

Skip ahead three weeks, and Kitty lands in Las Vegas to visit her father for the first time. All her life, Kitty believed that he died on the way to his high school prom. Now, she knows that not only is her father alive, he's the head of a Leo pride, a group of organized shapeshifters who change into lions. Within minutes of landing, Kitty is attacked, must struggle for her life, and shifts into Leo form in an airport bathroom. As a new, untrained Leo, Kitty is unable to shift back to human form. Fortunately, Max, her father's second-in-command, comes to her rescue.

The remainder of the book focuses on Kitty's adjustment to her Leo nature, repeated attacks on Kitty's life, the growing attraction between Max and Kitty, and the struggle for power within the Leo pride. With this struggle for power, come a crew of very nasty new relatives, all determined to fight any attempts to include Kitty in the pride.

I enjoyed Kitty's difficulties in adjusting to her Leo nature, but didn't like a whole lot else about the book. I wanted much more character development, especially early on. I also had problems with some aspects of both Kitty's and Max's characters that were developed. I know Kitty lived on a farm in "backwoods" Tennessee, but at times her language sounds more like that of an 80-year old than a 24-year old with a college education. We know even less about Max, other than that he appears to be a complete and utter chauvinist. I know it's probably part of his nature as a Leo, but it was way too much for me.

I didn't find the sex scenes particularly appealing, either in human or lion form. I know love at first sight exists, but didn't buy it here. I did buy that they were "mates," as Max repeatedly referred to Kitty in his thoughts as his "mate." But I didn't feel any real romance - just sex and chemistry.

To make matters worse, I also felt that Kitty engaged in TSTL behaviors a number of times in the book. Despite the very real threats on her life, Kitty defies Max's orders to stay put numerous times, and leaves the hotel and her father's home, only to immediately run into danger. Of course, Max saves her each time.

There are also several awkward transitions in the book. At one point, there's a very odd change of scene from Kitty holding a little girl outside the house while Max is looking for a shooter to her drinking tea in a hospital waiting room. A few pages later, there is another jump in action. I had to read each of these scenes several times to see if I had missed something. I hadn't.

If you're curious about Christine Warren's The Others series, I would suggest trying She's No Faerie Princess and take a pass on this one.

-- LinnieGayl Kimmel

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