OK, Urban Fantasy fans, listen up. I have a premise for you. It involves a woman with a magical sword. She is part human, but has supernatural blood in her veins. Though she is not as strong as some of the paranormal beings around her, she is more than she appears. She is often underestimated. She's a bit cut off, emotionally. Her childhood was miserable, filled with training and bloodshed. She's sort of a gun for hire now... well, a sword for hire. And her life begins to change with the arrival of a sexy, powerful cat shifter who can't resist her strength and her spirit.
Sound familiar? No, I'm not talking about Kate Daniels, though it's hard not to see the parallels there. Our heroine's name is Kit Colbana. She is half human, half-aneira --which is sort of an Amazon race. Her father was never in her life and her mother died when she was young, leaving her in the clutches of an evil grandmother who tortured her for years. She ran away as a teenager and has started a new life for herself.
The agency she owns isn't doing well. Between that and a vampire who won't stop stalking her, Kit is just about ready to pull up stakes again when Damon (see "sexy, powerful cat shifter" above) walks into her office with a job. The nephew of his Alpha is missing and the pack wants Kit to solve the case. Despite Damon's cocky and obnoxious behavior and despite the cats' reputation as crazy, she takes the case to save the boy. She has no idea at the time that her life will depend on her success.
The Cat Alpha is as mad as a hatter and when she meets Kit, she lets her know in no uncertain terms what failure will mean. Damon is assigned as her bodyguard as she investigates the case. And, of course, he ends up being much, much more.
I liked this story very much. Even though it seems familiar in some places, it didn't really feel like a Kate rehash. Kit is damaged in a way Kate isn't. She perseveres through grim determination. She gets beaten down, but her survival is her victory. I really enjoyed watching the evolution of her relationship with Damon. He is such an ass at the beginning, but I could see him changing with her. She earns his respect and affection by simply being who she is and by never giving up. And when we learn more about his backstory, so much of his behavior makes sense.
The world-building is solid here and the characters are fleshed out. I admire Kit and her fortitude --and I commiserate with her inability to keep her mouth shut. Damon is sexy and deliciously Alpha --though he pushed me close to my limits at the beginning. My only small complaint was the speed in which they make a key decision in their relationship. It happened awfully fast for something so monumental, but at least they weren't tossing around "I Love You's" quite yet.
The action was intense. And while the motivation for the kidnappers didn't exactly tread new ground, there were enough surprises to keep me engaged. The villain reveal was pretty cool. And the writing was fast paced and very engaging. I will definitely read the sequel. Very good.