Potential yet shortcomings in storyline & writing
★½ (rounded up to account for my personal quirks)Note: Due to my reading experience, I actually double-checked with the author to confirm that I had received the final, released version. This review is based on that confirmation. In addition, although I read this novelette prior to [b:Escaping Love|17885270|Escaping Love (Koning Clan, #2)|Debra Smith|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1367793919s/17885270.jpg|25049519] (book #2 in the series), I wrote the review for book #2 first. Due to similar thoughts and issues, this review is a more condensed version of that for book #2.THE SHORT:
I would hesitate to recommend TRANSFORMING LOVE in its current state. The bones of a good story exist but require a lot more “meat” by way of stronger world-building and more attention to the MCs’ backstories and characterisations. Based on my reading background, I would classify this as NA/“erotica-lite”.THE LONG:
For me, TRANSFORMING LOVE seemed to hit certain common PNR themes without much development. So in the end, I only sensed a superficial patina of paranormal over a rather quick romance with a few sex scenes. Lack of in-depth world-building wouldn’t matter much for a quick standalone PNR read. But as the first book in a new PNR series, TRANSFORMING LOVE would work better if it established a firmer foundation re: the world of the Koning Clan.
Kept ignorant of her shifter heritage “for her own protection” (why, I’m still not sure, other than to have a “normal” life and avoid tradition), Jenny is astonished to learn that she is the last female of Clan Koning, a royal bloodline. So by Clan tradition, the winner of the Slag gets to claim her as mate by her 21st birthday. And apparently, her charm bracelet/anklet had been spelled (by whom?) to prevent her from shifting.
Instead of using the window provided by Jenny’s discovery of her family’s secret to add some backstory and world-building (e.g., what drove Jenny’s father to “hide” her, how populous the shifter clans were, or even how different shifters in the same local area were organized), the story continued on and introduced a few Slag contenders, the requisite “villain” (read: cause of testosterone skirmishes) and ultimate resolution.
As for the romance portion… Well, the instant attraction and awareness between Jenny and Gryph had all the hallmarks of “fated mates”. One kiss and Gryph declares “mine!” with “authority, leaving no room for denial”. Not surprisingly, Jenny disagrees, intent on keeping her freedom. Nonetheless, the sexual heat simmering between them can’t be denied and due to the novelette length, their relationship hits hyperspeed. The ending (which reminded me of a different PNR book) was rather abrupt and more an HFN.
Overall, there were promising glimpses of Ms. Smith’s creative writing ability. So it’s a shame that this version of TRANSFORMING LOVE read more like a working draft, with a rushed storyline and too many instances of word misuse, incorrect sentence and paragraph structure, and edit/proof errors. I truly hope that, at some point, Ms. Smith will consider taking another look at this book and “beefing it up” so that it can become a solid starter to her series.
* Copy gifted by the author