Darkest Fear

What is your birthright?

Since she discovered the truth when she turned 13, Vivi Neves has rejected everything her parents hold dear – their heritage, culture, traditions, and especially their dark family secret. They are haguari – cat people, shapeshifters who turn into jaguars, as their ancestors have done for thousands of years.

Then, tragically, her parents are killed. Vivi can cling to her own beliefs and live her life the way she wants – or she can embrace her heritage and avenge her parents’ deaths.

With danger closing in on her, her decision is forced… and she’s pulled deeper into a mystery that gets darker and more dangerous. Finally, she must face her heritage… or die.

Goodreads, Amazon UK

I liked this book, I did. But there were a lot of problems with it and quite a few things which annoyed me.

First of all, I liked the characters. I found them interesting, I liked the conflict Vivi was experiencing, it felt real and understandable and not like it was being dragged out for the sake of more words. Vivi’s grief over her parents felt honest as well, showing her starting to live a normal life but still grieving her parents everyday. Her bursts of crying and how her memories of her parents were tinged bittersweet put together this realistic but sad picture. I liked the other characters, how they felt like they had other interests and lives outside of Vivi and how they helped her but sometimes I felt it was a lot of yelling rather than showing. Poor Suzanne, I don’t think we ever saw her on screen but she apparently disliked Vivi or was at least standoffish towards her. The diversity of the different characters was appreciated, it was never focused on but it was simply a fact of life.

I liked the idea behind the book. Shapeshifters, especially big cats, and the idea of their being this whole culture behind them was something I could really get behind. I mean, the idea of them having their own traditions, culture, even gods was very interesting and I appreciated it all, especially the thought of a family book like was described. Heirlooms like that, where each generation adds their own extract, is something I do love!

Now the bad things. Like I said, I love the shapeshifters idea behind this but the actual plot fell off somewhere. The book seemed to back swing between girl-finding-herself-and-culture-after-parents’-death and girl-solving-mystery-behind-parents’-strange-death. The person behind her parents’ death seemed to fall quiet long enough for Vivi to get a job and several confusing encounters with Rafael (who I actually liked which doesn’t normally happen for romance heroes). The book itself seemed to forget it was an action book right up until the last small part of the book and so what happened to Suzanne and James and Vivi’s encounter with the murderers seemed to come out of the blue.

And I can understand why jaguar-Vivi was written in that style, but it was incredibly annoying to read so I pretty much skim read most of those portions.

I liked the book, really, but there were several glaring problems with it. Three stars!

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