Saturday, March 2, 2024

Leopard's Hunt

I don't know what exactly possessed me to take Leopard's Hunt out from the library. I'm not really a romance fan, but the book sounded intriguing so I decided to give it a go. Unfortunately I was fairly disappointed by it from the get-go; I should have stopped reading it, but I ended up finishing it earlier today. I didn't really want to blog about it, but I wanted to make sure I had a record so I don't go taking any other Christine Feehan books out - they're definitely not for me.

Leopard's Hunt is about two leopard shifters who find each other and work through their brokenness to make a relationship. Except they are also special leopard people - they are faster and stronger and have more gifts than regular leopard people, and so need to keep themselves hidden (but go around killing people in front of others (their own people, who they originally wanted to stay hidden from too) with their gifts all the same so they're not really trying). Both of them have ties to the Russian leopard mafia: Gorya was born into it, and had to hide what he was (he worked on taking it down from the inside while training up his leopard and his powers), and Maya was a slave who got out after some horrendous stuff happened to her (this is triggering, but she was r-worded as a child as a sex slave), and so she has devoted her life to tracking down the people who did this to her. Their leopards are mates though (though he doesn't remember it, Gorya and his leopard saved Maya and hers when she was younger), so they belong together for reasons.

This book has a lot of bad stuff in it. The pair are against sex slavery and so take down a huge ring, encountering lots of depraved things (and that's on top of their horrible backstories). Plus every time I thought we were through the bad stuff, more things came up (it ended with Maya's long lost sister appearing, who gave a graphic telling of what happened to her when they were separated as children. I will not write it here). 

The book also was just repetitive. Maya and Gorya say the same things to each other through most of the book, not believing they're good enough for each other, but clearly fine. Maya's tragic backstory and complete dislike of men prior to finding Gorya didn't stop her from giving her all and skipping through their steps to get them to a physical relationship quickly. Surprisingly, there was only one main sex scene - it just went on forever (I think it spanned two really long chapters) and was kind of weird and uncomfortable (I had to Google a few words to figure out what was happening, and a few things sounded really gross the way they were described). I admit that I'm not really interested in sex scenes, so others may like this part of the book more than I did.

So all in all, I didn't like this book. I should never have read it. Once I started it, I should have stopped. Now that I did read it, I cannot in good conscious recommend it to anyone because it has lots of horrible things that happen (and uses a lot of it as backstory). I will not be reading anything else by this author.

As Old As Time

I snagged As Old As Time by Liz Braswell from the library. It is a "what if?" Disney story - "what if Belle's mother cursed the Beast?" I thought that was intriguing, and Beauty and the Beast is one of my favourite Disney movies, so I was onboard.

I honestly wasn't really prepared for this book to impress me as much as it did! The story is broken up into a few parts. The first one goes back and forth between the rough story the movie tells and what happened in the past to Belle's mother and father. There's quite a bit of interesting world building that happens, showing how the last kingdom of refuge for les charmantes slowly becomes a place of hate and intolerance. This part culminates with Belle touching and accidentally shattering the rose, cursing the Beast and all the castle's inhabitants for all time. 

The second and other parts are where Belle's story wildly starts to differ. Now that the curse is coming to pass, the castle is being swallowed up by magical spiderwebs designed to keep the castle inhabitants inside; these webs are also slowly dragging the castle into the earth. The enchanted objects also start to have weird moments where things are going wrong - you can tell it's an indication of much worse that is still to come. The Beast also starts having more and more violent outbursts, having a harder and harder time controlling himself. 
Belle decides to stay and try to break the curse (since it's her fault this has happened anyway), and so she and the Beast spend a lot of time researching and investigating. Together, the two of them try to figure out what happened to her mother, why her mother cursed the Beast, and how they can break the spell. While differing from the movie, the story does still hit many of the story beats, though they end up different. 

The book was a tad predictable in a lot of ways though. I figured out fairly early on who the villain would be (and I was not disappointed). But even still, I was surprised. The book takes a few brutal turns that I wasn't expecting, and the ending doesn't end exactly happily ever after. But it was still an excellent read, and I recommend it for any fans of Beauty and the Beast who are interested in another take on the tale. I'll definitely be looking out for more of these Disney Twisted Tales!