After the death of her parents, Kat Thomas retreated from college life into an online fantasy game. But what if the game she plays is closer to reality?
When a panther shifter named Alex knocks on her door one night, he delivers a message and a package. Kat's birth mother was a powerful mage who has just been murdered...and now the killer is after Kat. The package contains her mother's talisman: an amber necklace that latches onto Kat's neck and attacks anyone who tries to remove it. Before she knows it, ice is shooting from her hands and she's on the run from an assassin.
Kat must navigate a world of magic and intrigue, fight the forces who want her dead, and protect her friends from becoming collateral damage--all while coming to terms with her new identity. She's heir to a powerful legacy, but only if she lives long enough to claim it.
When Kat takes delivery of a magical necklace that belongs to her dead mother, her life of gaming and moping is about to be turned upside down. After surviving an attack by an assassin Kat realises that she needs to find out about the necklace and the powers it seems to give her. With help from a panther shifter she sets out to get some answers from Casper, the creator of her favourite online game who claims to also know her mother. He is leader of a mage rebellion and Kat and her necklace are the key to victory.
I was actually quite surprised to like this book. When I started reading it I didn't like Kat and there is not a lot of action overall in the plot. I usually prefer all action urban fantasy rather than a slower burning book that gradually works up to a fight scene near the end. But I liked Alex and I did find the mage rebellion idea interesting and as the book progressed I no longer felt like DNFing it and wanted to see what happens. It is very much character based in the beginning, focusing on Kat and Alex becoming friends on their road trip and Alex being protective of her when they meet Casper and his people. Kat starts to rely on him as the story develops.
We then follow Kat as she struggles to work with Casper to remove the necklace which does not want to come off, and Casper gets more and more frustrated with her. This part of the book does get a little repetitive. Casper has an idea for how to remove the necklace, he tries, it fails, he blames Kat for not trying. This happens quite a few times and I can imagine readers getting a little frustrated with it, as I did. However I did like the latter part of the book when Kat starts finding out the truth about her situation.
I admit that my first impression of Kat is that she is a rude and obnoxious creature. She mistakes Alex for a delivery driver, refuses to open the door, then opens it and grabs the package, slamming the door in his face without a single thank you. When he tries to explain why he is there she ignores him but when the necklace does funny things, she calls him demanding answers and calls him a stalker. Charming girl. I did come close to DNF but Kat does change her attitude and I ended up liking her as the book progressed. Alex is a good solid character who I liked from the start and I enjoyed him being a panther shifter. He was the best character in the book.
It's not the greatest urban fantasy that I've ever read but I found it to be a decent enough first read in a series. It is slow and a little repetitive but it had an interesting plot that has potential and I did want to find out what happened. The characters also evolved and got better as the book went on. So that can't really be bad. I'm not sure yet if I will continue with the series-maybe I will if I see book two at a decent price.
Read January 2017.