Shadow's Edge

Shadow's Edge - J.T. Geissinger
“If they ever find you…run.” 

Imagine your mother saying this to you every day until she died. Imagine she never explained the reasoning behind it or who theywere; just ground it into your head from infancy. You’d probably be a little paranoid, wouldn’t you? 

Now imagine that one day you’re standing in line at the grocery store and out of nowhere every single nerve ending in your body starts firing, all of them screaming at you to run as adrenaline floods your veins. You can feel the danger pressing in around you and without knowing how or why, you suddenly understand every dire warning your mother ever whispered. You understand on a primeval level. 

Welcome to the opening of this book. It had me from page one. 

Geissinger builds a beautiful world upon truly unique shifter lore. The story centers around an ancient tribe born out of the dense jungles of Africa in a time before humans kept histories. Over the millennia they’ve migrated from their home country in an effort to remain within the shadows, to find those vast tracts of unpopulated land best suited to helping them keep their secrets. They’re the Ilkati, a fierce, warrior-like people able to shift into the form of panthers, or if they’re really powerful, mist. 

Our female lead, Jenna, is a half-blood, with a human mother and a terribly powerful Ilkati father. Their love was a forbidden one and so to keep his wife and daughter alive, her father had to turn himself over to face his people’s punishments for his crime. It’s from his disappearance that her mother’s paranoia springs and really, who can blame her? 

Me, that’s who.

She protects her daughter the one way she knows how, by teaching her how to hide, to never let anyone get too close, to never give her trust. I want to slap that woman. 

If we take the nurture approach to Jenna’s behavior, then all my issues with her can be blamed on her mother and her never ending warnings. I understand why she acted the way she did throughout the book, I really do. But the thing is, I didn’t like it. She was stubborn to the point of stupidity, infuriatingly irrational, and her propensity for making false assumptions was slightly enraging to say the least. Just when I thought “Finally, she’s coming around”, her mother’s words would rear their ugly head and Jenna would take another two steps back. 

Leander, the male love interest and Alpha to the English sect of the Ilkati, has the patience of a saint. After discovering Jenna and bringing her to live amongst their people, he begins to pursue her, drawn to her fiery temperament and her stubbornness like a moth to a flame. You know that age old adage about how men like a challenge? How they live for the chase? Yeah. That. 

If Jenna had become rational a little sooner, this book would have easily been four stars for me. I love Geissinger’s writing, I really do. There are so many beautiful passages in this book, so many incredible descriptions. And that chemistry. Good God does Geissinger write good sex. Pair all this with an MC I can really get behind and I’ll give her work five stars every time. Just look at my rating for the third book in this series!

Okay, so what kept this a three were my own innumerable pet peeves, my difficulties accepting certain personality flaws. And so I encourage others to pick up this book, to give this series a chance. The writing and the world building definitely make it worth it and if you have less literary pet peeves than I do, I think you’ll absolutely love it.