One of the great perks of being an author is meeting other authors. In that exchange, it so happens that requests to review each other’s work happens… this is the latest gem I had the pleasure of reading. Below I share the book description, an excerpt, and then my review. I am eagerly awaiting book 2 if that tells you how good it is.
Blossom Frane is only weeks away from her transformation. On her eighteenth birthday, she’ll find out her future branch of society and her totem, the animal form she’ll be able to take at will for the rest of her life. Like her brothers, she’s expected to be a brown bear of the religious branch known as Terra.
In the Alderwood forests, Blossom’s bear blood is a valuable asset. Any day now, a rival clan leader will step forward and offer her father a hefty bounty in exchange for her hand in marriage. Blossom can do nothing more than sit back and wait to be traded to the highest bidder.
Determined to spend her last weeks exploring the Alderwood, Blossom sneaks away and manages to find Kaide Landel, a rising political star of the Pyro branch. Known for his violence and disregard for the religious teachings of the Terra branch, he’s all wrong for the bear clan’s prized daughter. But when the politician uses his wealth and influence to secure her hand, Blossom has no choice but to leave her family and marry him—if she lives that long.
“Did you run all the way here?” His voice was quiet and low, so unlike it had been just moments before. His question was nothing like she’d expected, and despite her efforts, Blossom found her eyes lingering on him once more.
“Yes, I thought my life to be in danger.” For once, she was glad of her soiled appearance—anything but a delicate flower. It might serve her well today.
He let out a stern breath. “I mean you no harm. In fact, I made your father a very generous offer, one I’m inclined to think he will accept.”
“I’m sure you’re very rich, but my father values more than money. He would never trade me to a Pyro, not for all the money in the world.” Blossom filled her words with as much hatred and venom she could manage, hoping they were true.
“You see, I’m on my way back to Pyrona from visiting the Terra Vice Syndicate. As Lord Castor’s compatriot, I’m pressed to notify him of any illegal activity I might be aware of. Activities such as illegal alder-cutting operations, even ones as cunning and developed as this one.”
Blossom’s jaw fell open in horror. “You threatened him?” In that moment, Blossom wished to be a bear, wished she could shed this fragile, human exterior and become the fiery, capable creature that could rip him to shreds.
How dare he threaten her family. Trading for her was one thing, but this? It was so, so wrong.
Blossom blinked away the unshed tears in her eyes, refusing to cry in front of him. He was awful, and if she didn’t figure something out soon, she’d leave with him. She’d marry him.
“Why?” It was the only question left to ask.
Vice Syndicate Kaide Landel took in several breaths as he considered his answer. At last, he looked up at her with those deep-blue eyes and answered, “I saw you in the wood, and I wanted you. And, Ms. Frane, don’t misunderstand me. I always get what I want.”
“And what about what I want?” Blossom shot him a scathing glare.
He curled his lips up in a half-smile. “Do you even know what you want?” The question hit her square in the chest, a damaging blow.
“I know I don’t want to marry a man who would threaten my family. Of that, I’m completely certain.” It was hard to look intimidating when he towered over her so, but she did her best to stand firm. Blossom clenched her hands into fists and jutted her chin high into the air, as if that could convince him of her seriousness.
“Well, then. I suppose you should agree to marry me of your own accord. Would that suit you?”
“No.” She hated this, hated playing this game. He had the power to do as he pleased and the money to buy everything else. Even Da couldn’t resist his pressure and influence. To corner her in the tent and pretend like this might be her choice was the most insulting ruse imaginable.
“What would it take to make you happy?” Caught off-guard by such a question, she looked up at him. His previous confidence had lessened, and it was possible he really wanted to know the answer.
But Blossom knew this was just another turn in the game. “I want you to leave.”
“That is my intention. As soon as our arrangements are finalized, you will accompany me back to Pyrona.” He reclasped his hands behind his back and stood taller, that brief moment gone.
Over the years, I have read several books. I’ve read fantasy… paranormal… sci-fiction… But never in over 300 books have I read one where I felt so invested in the characters! Seriously, McCoy was able to reach in my mind and heart and grab hold and not let go. I was sad for Blossom when the inevitable trade came along. I was angry at her brothers for not letting her explore. I was disappointed when her father let her go. I excited for her when her new life started to take shape. I was so floored by the ending I actually emailed the author!
McCoy’s ability to create a world and its people with its belief systems and social hierarchy was impeccable. Her character and world building flawless. Her writing flowed and not once did I get lost or bored. This is no typical Beauty & The Beast rendition – nope, Blossom is defiant, independent, yet wants for so much more and when she is given it – well… read the book. I give this book 5 stars without hesitation!
Tell me, does this sounds like a book for you? If you decide to get it, please let me know what you think! I’d love to hear your feedback!