4 out of 4 stars
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Two people are destined to be lovers to fulfill an ancient prophecy. Others want the prophecy to fail, and they are prepared to kill to prevent it from happening. This is what Shifter's Hope. by Laura Hawks offers for its readers. It is listed as a romance novel, but I feel romantic fantasy would be more appropriate.
Raven is a Native American Indian; hunted by his tribe (who wish to kill him) he is forced to live alone in the woods. Raven is one of only a handful of his former tribe who can transform into more than one animal, most of the tribe can only change into one.
Hope is a beautiful young lady who has spent years in an abusive relationship. She has recently escaped from Harlan, her former boyfriend, though she still carries lots of scars, some physical but mostly psychological.
Raven can use the senses of the animals he turns into while still in his human form. With them, he smells someone he encountered years before, but his position in the tribe prevented him from pursuing the woman at that time. Now though, as his tribe had beaten him and left him for dead, he was free to follow his heart.
Hope was a tour guide, showing tourist around the area that Raven lived. She passes out and wakes to find Raven supporting her. Realising that she has missed the train back, Raven offers her a ride on his bike. Upon catching up with the train, Hope manages to board it and return to the tourist thereby keeping her job.
Another tribe member, Oz, spots Raven and reports to the chief that he is still alive and is following someone. The chief orders that Oz not to kill him immediately, but to keep track of him and find out more about the person he is following. This is just in case she has to die to prevent the prophecy.
Hope can’t get Raven out of her head, even though they made no plans to meet up again. However, Raven keeps track of her, helping her out when she got into trouble. He even stops Harlan from killing her.
From the beginning of the book, I was hooked. A whole tribe of people being able to shapeshift! Not just into wolves, though some of them do, but also into all manner of creatures. I found the way that they blended with their animal forms in such a way as to be able to use the animal’s senses as well as their own to be really well described and left me wishing that I could do it too.
I found the stalker element of Raven’s pursuit of Hope to be quite disturbing, but it was written in such a way that you could imagine it really happening. The way they both yearned for each other, but didn’t let the other to know straight away was so realistic. It reminded me of times in my past that I have done the same, and years later when we got together and admitted how we felt when we first met, we wondered about all that lost time we could have been together. So this story really resonated with me.
My first thought when I opened the book was “Oh Oh”! This is because the title was written as “PROLOGue”. I thought to myself if the title is like that, what will the rest of the book be like? I was very pleasantly surprised, in that I only found two errors in the whole book, apart from the chapter titles. Each one of them had a similar format to the prologue! This is an excellent story and I am going to give this a rating of 4 out of 4 stars. I really think that this book will be enjoyed by anyone who loves romantic stories, and anyone who just want a good fantasy story. There are some fairly graphic sex scenes, along with some gory bits, so I wouldn’t recommend this for younger readers.
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