Tour’s Books Blog

February 19, 2010

Book Review – Cat’s Cradle by Bianca D’Arc+

  • Title: Cat’s Cradle
  • Author: Bianca d’Arc
  • Type:  Paranormal romance
  • Genre:  Shifter and woman in jeopardy
  • Sub-genre:  new series book 1
  • My Grade: C+ (3.5*)
  • Rating: NC-17 to X
  • Length and price: Full Novel – about 80,000 words;  ebook $5.50
  • Where Available: Publisher’s website
  • FTC Disclosure: Purchased ebook from publisher site

Set in the same ‘world’ as her Brotherhood of the Blood and Tales of the Were series, Bianca d’Arc’ s Cat’s Cradle starts another tangential series that revolves around magic users, shifters, and other supernaturals, as well as the watchers of the Altor Custodis, and the resurgence of the Venificus.   Venificus is the group who seek to return Elspeth from the Fourth Realm where she was banished centuries before and control the world.

Elaine is late for her advanced martial arts class.  Her shihan is not very tolerant of tardy students.  She races in the door beeping the locks on her beloved VW bug as she runs.  She changes and heads to the unusually silent dojo mats to find the shihan with 4 strangers she’s never seen before.  He rushes her out telling her to forget everything.  As she exits, she literally runs into a very big man, Cade, who challenges what she was doing in the dojo.  He lets her, but her car has been stolen.  With a dead cell phone, she has to walk home.  Cade follows to make sure she’s as harmless as she seems, but an Other shows himself and Cade has to expose his presence to warn him off.

Cade sits on the fire escape and watches Elaine settle into her apartment. He reassured when she calls the police and reports her car stolen.  Then, she turns on the TV and it show the building housing the dojo burning.  He calls his fellow Guardian Mitch and gets no answer.  When Cade reaches the dojo he can tell by the smell there dead bodies in the fire.  He’s relieved to find Mitch injured, but still living.  When Elaine shows up, he convinces her to help them.  Elaine is a nurse and it’s obvious Mitch is badly hurt, so they get him back to her apartment so she can tend him.  When Mitch has a seizure, Elaine insists on calling Gina, her childhood friend and a doctor who lives in the same building.

Gina arrives and much to Cade’s amazement, she’s a shifter.  Even Mitch recognizes her smell.  She save him with her own blood.  She’s a ‘Universal’, a rare shifter who’s blood can defeat nearly every poison or virus.  She’s also learns to mask something else she is, a white tiger and royalty.  Mitch is a tiger Guardian and recognizes her Gina’s scent.  Cade and Mitch reveal they were in town to protect the Nyx, the female leader of the black panthers, who was in the dojo when it was attacked.  She and the others escaped with minor injury.  Those who died were the ones who attacked them.  But Gina could no longer count on being safe and anonymous.

The presence of a werewolf around Elaine’s apartment has the four going upstairs to Gina’s apartment.  They decide it would be best if Mitch and Gina go to her parent’s place – not assessable by road, and Elaine must behave as if nothing out of the ordinary happened.  They sweep the scent of shifter from her apartment and Cade says he’ll watch from a distance.

On edge, but trying to seem normal, Ellie goes through her day off as if nothing serious had happen, even though her world turned upside down when she learned that shifters not only exist, but her best friend was one.  The man she profoundly drawn to, Cade, is a black panther and an Alpha.  Late that afternoon two men show up at her door with questions about the fire at the dojo.  The ‘fireman’ is a werewolf and the ‘police detective’ is something else.  She calls Cade to let him know they showed as expected.

When Ellie gets home from work the next day she knows someone went through her apartment, but it’s her cat, Chuck, who saves the day when her place catches fire in the middle of the night.  The two of them make a run for it down the fire escape, but the werewolf is waiting for them.  She manages to use her martial arts skills and knock him down and his fall into a brick knocks him out.  She and Chuck run and call Cade who manages to get them away to a safe house.

The story then moves into a more traditional steamy romance format with a decent amount of interesting plot.  Cade needs to mate Ellie.  The other shifters are not thrilled having a human around, but the Nyx is good with it.  Lots of sex.  Ellie isn’t any ordinary human and saves her own butt and Cade’s.  Portentous statements are made by the bad guys.  Unexpected good guys whack bad guy.  The bad guy was kind of a low rent, run of the mill villain and wasn’t given enough dimension to make his presence feel threatening enough.  Obstacles are fairly easy to overcome, so tension is rather minimal.

Though not as interesting or as complex as her Inferno or Lords of the Were, nor quite as steamy, I still enjoyed Cat’s Cradle.  I wish the two lead characters had more depth, but at least Ellie was no shrinking violet in need of protection.  I liked that.  Somehow, Cade never quite gelled as a character for me.  Gina and Mitch were mere window dressing.  In the end, Cat’s Cradle never rose above being a good average read, not up to Ms D’Arc’s best work.  A nice addition to the her wide range of books based in her world of magic users, shifters, and vampires in today’s world, but not essential or a must read.

Was Cat’s Cradle worth the $5.50 price?  Yes, as an ebook.  I’d recommend the ebook to followers of D’Arc’s Lords of the Were and Brotherhood of the Blood series.  No need for print as it won’t make your keeper shelf.

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