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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Silver Kiss by Naomi Clark

Silver Kiss by Naomi Clark
Publisher: QueeredFiction
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (230 pgs)
Other: F/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Fern

Ayla Hammond has come home. After years as a lone wolf in a self-imposed exile she's rejoining the pack and trying to mend fences with her parents. She's convinced them to accept her girlfriend, but can a lone wolf change her ways? As if homecoming wasn't hard enough, Ayla also can't help getting involved in a missing person case. With pressure to solve the case mounting from the pack alphas, Ayla is starting to question where her loyalties lie - and if a return to the pack she left behind is really what she wants.

Are you in the mood for an urban fantasy novel with bite? Then look no further. Silver Kiss is a combination of action, emotion, mystery, and suspense.

Eight years ago Ayla left her pack and family behind. Years of living as a lone wolf have given her an independence she’s become accustomed to, as well as a thriving relationship with a woman she loves. Things couldn’t be better -- aside from her desire to reconnect with her parents. So hoping to reestablish a bond with her family and the pack, Ayla’s returned to the place she once resented. There are obstacles, as her human partner and lover, Shannon, has returned with her. Homosexuality isn’t something that’s embraced by the pack, as their birth rates are declining, and Ayla’s pairing with another woman means she won’t contribute to the population. Complicating matters further, Shannon doesn’t have friends or family in the area. If Shannon’s not welcomed, Ayla worries about how it will impact, not only her view of the pack, but Shannon’s job as private investigator as well.

Silver Kiss is a story that has an amazing world build, complex characters, and a whole lot of twists and turns that come together like a carefully crafted puzzle. The way that things are revealed is fantastic, and I lost myself completely in the environment Ms. Clark has created. At times gritty, there is also a lot of emotional tension as Ayla struggles to come to terms with being a part of a pack, balancing this with her relationship, and gaining her parents' acceptance of the way she’s chosen to live her life. It’s a slam-bam kind of tale, and pulls you in as you delve into Shannon’s investigation into a missing werewolf teen, the herbal drug, Silver Kiss, that is all the rage, and Ayla’s slow awareness of how the two are connected. There was just one issue I had with the story, involving the relationship between Ayla and Shannon, which stalled things.

The two women have been together for years and, having weathered tragic and dangerous events in the past, know each another extremely well. This was something I enjoyed, as their strong connection allowed them to read between the lines when Ayla had to interact with the pack while Shannon was forced to stay at home. This revealed the amount of trust shared between the two, and it made their commitment seem very real. So I was shocked when something that could have had dire consequences occurs, Shannon becomes upset, and the argument between the women is treated in a very immature manner. It’s impossible to divulge too much here, as doing so would only reveal spoilers, but suffice it to say I questioned this portion of the book and it caused me to question the realism and solidity of their relationship.

Aside from the above mentioned, the story is well written, fast-paced, and held my interest all the way through. Ms. Clark has developed an interesting secondary cast of characters, a vibrant and vivid world in which wolves and humans mingle, and even a villain that is more than an evil face on the page meant to progress things. The slow build is so worth it, and when the final quarter of the book arrives, you won’t be able to put Silver Kiss down.

I would recommend Silver Kiss to urban fantasy fans who want to dive into a world that is intense and dark, yet fascinating. The ending leaves an opening for a second installment, and I would definitely be interested in returning to see how things play out.

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