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Monday, July 10, 2006

***** Captive Moon by C. T. Adams and Cathy Clamp. Contemporary paranormal romance.

And the trend continues. I loved this one as well.

But first, a brief PSA: Phone lines in Germany are underground--thus, the phones do not go out regardless of how bad a winter storm is. Cars drive on the right in Germany, and the driver sits on the left, just as in the U.S. You won't find a roast beef sandwich, or indeed a sandwich at all in a typical German restaurant--you might possibly find one in an English pub or an American diner. When flying from the U.S. to Germany, you'll never arrive at 5 p.m. Note: this is all stuff that you wouldn't notice unless you live here, and it really makes no difference to the story.

I was a little sad to discover that this third Sazi book didn't feature Tony again, nor was it written in first person, but it didn't take me long to get caught up in the new characters--maybe a page or two.

Antoine Monier, the shapeshifting half-lion, half-cougar leader of the Sazi cats, and world-famous entertainer, discovers a were-tiger being held in a cage after poachers killed several tigers. He rescues her, only to find that she's a member of the Hayalet Kabile, a tribe thought to be extinct--a tribe that views the Sazi as enemies.

Meanwhile, Antoine's grandmother has challenged him for control of the clan, charging that he's allowing those under his care to come to harm and that he's not making full use of his gifts.

Tahira is the were-tiger Antoine rescued, and it quickly becomes apparent that it's not a simple case of poachers. She'd been searching for her missing brother Rabi, and had been missing herself for a month--of which she has little memory. The abductors are clearly looking specifically for shapeshifters.

The search and investigation are exciting and will keep you turning pages long after you should have turned out the lights. But it's exciting because you care so much about the characters. Both Antoine and Tahira are very powerful, but neither of them knows much about their more unusual gifts, and as a result neither uses them to the fullest.

Antoine is a seer, but his visions make him feel worried and helpless, so he ignores them as much as he can. Tahira is a power well--that is, she can absorb and store power from other shapeshifters--but she has no understanding of what that means, and instead has always thought the powerful members of her clan had avoided her because she was useless.

It's fascinating to watch them discover their potential while they discover their attraction to each other, while dealing with danger, mystery, winter storms, and the leader of the snakes who's there to witness the challenge and sees himself as a rival for Tahira's affections.

The secondary characters--Antoine's grandmother and employees, as well as the villains--are all realistic and have plot threads of their own. I'm hoping to see more of several of them, particularly the Australian Matty; Margo, Antoine's secretary; and Larry and Bruce.

As with the previous two Sazi books, Captive Moon is a dense, rich story that seamlessly combines fantasy, mystery/adventure, and romance. I'm relieved to see that there's a 4th book due out in January. I hope this series continues a good long while.


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