From the blurb: Jin Church is back where he started, alone, wandering, and uncertain of his path. It’s not by choice but by circumstance, as he remembers he’s a werepanther… but not much else. He knows one thing for sure—he needs to find the beautiful blond man who haunts his dreams.
Logan Church is trapped in a living hell. His mate is missing, his tribe is falling apart, and he’s estranged from the son he loves with all his heart. His world is unraveling without his mate by his side, and he has no one to blame but himself.
If Jin can regain his memory and Logan can overcome the threats to his leadership, then perhaps they can resume their lives. The question is: Is that what they want? Back to the same house, the same tribe, the same troubles? They can choose from various roads leading to their future… or they can forge their own path.
Holy shit! I really liked it!
When I volunteered for this ARC I fully expected to have a rather meh reaction to it, like I've been having to a lot of Mary's recent work. Basically, I am sick to death of reading about clueless dudes in Florida beach towns. Also, while I liked the last book in the Change of Heart series (Crucible of Fate) I can't say I found it that exciting. It was enjoyable, but rather silly. (<--That last sentence pretty much sums up 65% of all my reviews of Mary's work, even though I love, love, love her.)
But this book? I'm totally fangirling! Forging the Future is a damn good read. From about the 2nd or 3rd chapter on I couldn't put it down. I read straight through Jon Stewart, people. I NEVER do that. Tyler Hoechlin and Dylan O'Brien could appear in my bedroom and insist I watch them have sex and if Jon Stewart were on I'd say, "You asshats can't wait 30 minutes? Have you no self-control?"
But, no, Jon Stewart was on, probably saying something hilarious and insightful but I didn't give a shit, I was reading about Jin and Logan's epic lurve.
**The rest of this review may contain minor spoilers. No, fuck it, it will definitely contain minor spoilers, but only for the first 10 or 15% of the book. There will be spoilers for the first four books in the series.**
Okay, the book opens 5 or so years after Crucible of Fate. Months previously something so horrible happened (no, I'm not spoiling that) that it not only made Jin run but completely lose his memory. He knows he's a werepanther, but other than that he remembers absolutely nothing--not the fact that he's a reah (the true-mate of a semel, or an alpha) and a nekhene cat (he can shift into all sorts of weird creatures), not his mate, Logan, their son, Ilia, or anything about their culture. (Which is odd, since Jin is usually a font of information while everyone else wanders around with their thumbs up their asses with no idea what's going on.) Anyway, Jin (now called "Jim") is working at a restaurant run by werepanthers in New Orleans. Within a couple of chapters he meets the local semel and they soon realize that "Jim" is a reah. Still, the local semel has no idea that Jim is actually Jin.
I gotta say, that part bugged me. Jin's supposed to be the only reah alive, the only male reah ever and the only nekhene cat in existence. Also, he's mated to one of the semels who competed to be the ultimate semel of semels, the semel-aten. How could he not be well-known? (By the way, if I'm not making any sense to you it's because you probably haven't read the other books in this series. Please start with Change of Heart. Thank you.) It's even more annoying later when Crane shows up and Jin asks him why the local semel believed him when he (Crane) said he was Jin's beset (aka a reah's BFF). Crane just grins and says it's because when you're a reah's beset you're pretty well-known. Well, how the hell is Crane well-known if Jin isn't? How does that make sense? But whatever. Moving on.
Where was I? Okay, like a lot of people, when I read the blurb for Forging the Future it scared the shit out of me. My biggest concern was would Jin and Logan spend the majority of the book separated only to reunited at the end? Mary does that a lot in this series and it really bugs me. I like my heroes to be together. My second concern was Jin's memory and what the hell did Logan do? Is he going to need a serious ass-kicking and would I be able to forgive him?
But I didn't need to have any serious concerns about any of that. Yes, I was on the edge of my seat for a good portion of the book, but it wasn't until everyone's back in Nevada that shit gets real. Like it says in the blurb, Logan has to "overcome the threats to his leadership." And...omigawdomigawdomigawd! It is awesome. I didn't see any of that coming (though maybe I should've). If this is the last book in the series, it's really well-done because it made me want to go back and reread the whole series. Just to see "oh, is this where this happened?" and "is this where this guy turned into a raging douchebag?"
My only complaint about the ending is that there wasn't enough blood. There was some, and maybe it'll be too much for some readers (though I doubt it), but I'm a bloodthirsty, revenge-oriented jerk and I wanted more than a verbal ass-kicking. Seriously, I was so pissed off for Logan's sake. How dare those assholes question his leadership? I wanted heads to roll, I wanted just a touch of mass murder, I WANTED THOSE BASTARDS TO CRY AS THEY DIED.
I may have issues.
Anyway, this was an all-around awesome read. Yeah, there's the usual Maryness that makes Mary, Mary. (For instance every new person that's introduced--and there are a lot of them--is fabulously good looking and it's necessary to devote at least one paragraph to everyone's prettiness. Barf. I'm telling you, if you took out all those paragraphs the book would be missing about 50 pages.) But if Mary weren't so Mary, I would miss it. I totally heart you, Mary.
** A free copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an unbiased review. **
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