This was the first serious shifter book I’ve read after discovering the subgenre. I mean, I’ve read a handful of Zoe Chant novella’s, but nobody is taking those seriously, including Zoe Chant herself.
Yeah those books are…well, they’re clickbait amazon garbage.
Jennifer Ashely’s Shifters Unbound series on the other hand is more typical of Shifter subgenre. It has paranormal vibes, lots of magic, and is deeply sensual without being smut.
This book is full of incredible lore that was so fun to become immersed in. I’ve never read one of Ashley’s Shifter books and I still never felt lost or confused. The worldbuilding is massive and immersive, but not overwhelming. I loved how fae are incorporated and all the backstory with fae creating shifters to be battle beasts.
The chemistry and romance between Zander and Rae was so sweet. The pacing was wonderful. It built up steadily and the payoff was great.
There are sooo many subplots in this book and that makes for a really exciting read. There is the bar fight, the boat chase, the broken sword of the guardian, Rae wondering who her biological family is, the clan leaders not accepting Rae as guardian, and really a TON more subplots that I just don’t even have time to get into. Including so many plot threads can sometimes sacrifice the quality of the plot or the depth of the characters, but that was not the case here. Rae has a solid arc, coming into her own as guardian.
Aside from Zander, I’d say my favorite character was Piotr. Just the way he loved to fight so much and anytime there was chaos, he was popping his head up like a gopher, ‘oh hey, a brawl, can I get in on that?’ XD I just loved him. The way he cheerfully shouts “fellows” before jumping into a bar fight and starts fighting multiple guys at once.
Also loved the intense scenes of them trying to navigate that smog-filled area of shipwrecks.
All in all, a really exciting book with a great fully-realized world and even better characters. I was so happy to see Zander and Rae realize their feelings for each other.
I read the bulk of this book on the beach while I was on my honeymoon, so it will always have a sentimental place in my heart ❤
The only thing about the book that sort of bugged me was how everyone kept calling Zander ‘crazy’ and he has this whole reputation of being ‘the crazy polar bear healer’ but like…he never does anything crazy. Listen I don’t want to be too over-sensitive and I’m not outraged or anything, just um…could we not? Could we please not insult people by acting like they have mental health issues when they don’t? It makes me highly uncomfortable.
Other than that, I absolutely loved this book and I’ve already bought two more books in Ashley’s Shifters Unbound series.
I’m new to the shifter subgenre, but I think Jennifer Ashley’s shifter world was a great one to start with.
She’s a truly talented writer and I love the intense and magical world she’s created.