With MCs Dr. Jason Kunik, a third-generation quickened and genetic researcher, and Milo, a hospice dog who just recently became quickened.Todd's rating:
I love, love, love this series, so the moment I was offered a copy of book 3, I had to grab it and I must say that book 3 does not disappoint.
This story is told, mostly, from the point of view of Jason, a very logical geneticist, who has denied his inner dog for over a decade, keeping it tightly locked up inside himself. He quickly moves back to Mad Creek, where he attended high school, after a colleague at his research lab gets wind of his ‘canine sapien’ research. He has almost zero people skills and even sends one of his quickened research subjects jumping out an open window to escape his inquisition-style questions. (It was pretty funny to read, actually.)
Then we have Milo, who grew up in an animal shelter, until being rescued by the staff of a hospice, where he works as a comfort animal for dying patients. After grieving over a dozen and a half patient deaths, he makes a wish upon a star and gets the spark, after which he can transform into a man. Once found by Lily, this gentle, kind and caring soul is taken back to Mad Creek to make a new life for himself. And find a home.
The home theme was what resonated most for me about this book. Milo wasn’t wanted in the shelter and, while he was valued at the hospice, that still isn’t truly ‘home.’ So when Jason, however reluctantly, steps up and agrees to give Milo a place to stay, Milo gets a second spark. A spark of hope. A hope that his wish for a forever home just might come true, in the form of a gruff, tactless scientist, whose only interest is his work.
Once the main introductions of the MC’s is out of the way, the story quickly shifts (no pun intended) into Jason’s search for vaccine to cure a virus that affects only the quickened, forcing them to revert to their dog stats and losing the cognitive abilities. In short, the virus turns them from dog shifters back into normal dogs. Permanently.
Lance and Lilly, both from book 1, contract the disease and are much getting worse, prompting Jason, Milo, Tim and Matt to rush to Arizona, where they might find a dog with antibodies to the virus, which could lead to the illusive, desperately-needed cure.
The story is low-angst and melodrama free, of which I was a fan; however, the sexy times were in short supply here, with only two scenes. I, personally, would have preferred more exploration there.
The story ends with a nice HEA and a glimpse into what might wait ominously on the horizon for Mad Creek, which I cannot wait to read.
This wasn’t my absolute favorite of the series, but it was a very strong offering that I’d rate around 4.25 "I dislike coffee a five" stars and highly recommend it for anyone who’s read the other books.
My copy of the book was provided by the author in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.
** Note: This story is heavily dependent on the setup from the first books, so this would not make a good standalone read.
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