Friday, July 6, 2018

Melinda's Review: The Leopard King

Please welcome one of my newest reviewers, Melinda! She's kicking things off with a paranormal romance that was recommended to her during this year's RomBkLove. I've read this one and really enjoyed it as well.

The Leopard King by Ann Aguirre
Publisher: Ann Aguirre (September 28, 2016)
Series: Ars Numina, 1
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Proud. Imperious. Impassioned.

Until three years ago, those words applied to Dominic Asher, the leader of Ash Valley. His family has ruled the feline branch of the Animari for hundreds of years, guiding the pride through perilous times. Unspeakable loss drove him into seclusion, a feral beast nobody can tame. Now he’s wrecked, a leopard king in exile, and he wants nothing more than to die.

Fierce. Loyal. Determined.

Fortunately for Dom, those words still apply to Pru Bristow, his dead mate’s best friend. She’s had her heart broken too, but she never quits. With the conclave approaching, alliances with the Pine Ridge pack and Burnt Amber clans on the verge of collapse, she’s prepared to do whatever it takes to drag their leader back, before his second can start a war.

At best theirs seems like a desperate alliance, but when their mate bond turns hot and fierce, there’s no end to the questions and the doubts. Neither of them expects to fall in love. But sometimes people don’t know what they’re looking for until they find it. 

Where to Buy*:
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Melinda's Review:

I picked this book up because it was recommended via twitter during #RomBkLove and I'm delighted it was. Both the main characters are flawed and full of angst for a variety of reasons but the main one being that they are both mourning the loss of a loved one who happened to be her best friend and his mate. Dom retreated into exile for the last 3 years and was essentially killing himself and Pru has taken it upon herself to save him and bring him back for the sake of their pack. I love flawed characters and these had flaws in spades. Pru has never been able to shift and this has caused her extensive emotional anguish throughout her life, including having a potential mate who rejected her because of her inability to shift.

I immediately loved Pru because she did not let her inability keep her from going to drag Dom back to the pack. He refuses to come back and she doesn't back down in the slightest, and that fierceness never waivers. He lashes out with anger and she still persists.

"Pain is supposed to prompt the first shift. Fear. Anger. Passion. Any strong emotion, really. But I don't feel things properly, huh? I'm not enough, I never will be. I'm broken."

Because she persists, Pru finds the answer to how to shift and that saves both herself and Dom from an attack and finally Dom agrees to return to the pack. All of this happens rather early on in the book and leaves quite a bit of action and plot for about 2/3 more. I really liked the pacing of that because we got to see just the main characters together at first and how their relationship could be in a bubble. Without that I don't know that I would have been as into their pairing as I was. By the time they return to the pack I was rooting for them.

The action picks up quite a bit when they return to the pack. It is intense in the last half of the book and I really enjoyed seeing the political machinations of the different societies involved. I'm looking forward to the next books to see how those evolve.

I was a little wary at first because I was not enthused about the heroine having to compete with a ghost the whole book but the way the author managed to do this was in a way that surprised me. Pru was competing with her own memories and not the ghost at all. The one part that both worked and didn't work for me was Pru's previous lover, Slay. I liked that she stood up to him so effortlessly, but I was super irritated that it kept coming up repeatedly. I wanted it dealt with once and then move on.

I loved Dom's support of Pru, he loved her fierceness and supported almost everything she did. They had great communication - which, after reading tons of miscommunication in romance, is SO nice to see!

"But if you think you have to do this shit to earn me, you're out of your mind. If you never solve another problem, never again work yourself to the brink of exhaustion, never sway another leader to our side, never slay another enemy, you're still important and unspeakably precious. You were both of those things before you shifted, kitten. And you always will be."

I'll definitely be reading the next books in this series!


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Source: Bought a copy

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Thanks for the review, Melinda! 


Until Next Time,

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