I’ve become more and more interested lately in good shifter stories, especially with a kick-ass heroine at the helm. So when I received “Frayed – A Madison Lark Novella” from new author (and fellow reviewer over at BookCountry), Blakely Chorpenning I was happy to find that kind of heroine in Madison “Fray” Lark, a leopard shifter. This novella starts off something that could turn into a long-running and interesting shifter series.
(Disclaimer for FTC regulations – I have received this Advanced Reader Copy at no cost)
Fray loves being a semi-pro fighter and free spirit. However, when a deadly faction begins abducting supernatural teens in the Blue Hills of North Carolina for excruciating experiments, she quickly learns there is more to life than glitzy opponents and late night trysts. Fray and a crew of unlikely allies must rescue the children before they are dissected alive. Being a leopard shapeshifter helps. Confronting personal prejudice and traversing feelings for a tempestuous ex do not mix. But Fray is willing to go all the way to stop her world from changing. That is, until the ultimate sacrifice forces her to realize just how overdue change is.
Her most shocking discovery: Everyone’s human. At least a little…
I think my favorite part of the novella really comes down to Fray. She’s not one for overly-sentimental fluff, but yet she still has a large, open heart. It’s not easy to run that fine line of making your heroines both without treading into trying to pander to both the extremes and making your heroine completely unsympathetic. Ms. Chorpenning doesn’t fall into that trap, and you still see a true growth in the character without throwing you out of the story.
The story holds up to its lead character quite well. She establishes the shifter world that Fray is a part of by addressing the main plot of the missing shifter children that come from different packs. I was pleasantly surprised to find such a well-detailed in in-depth plot from a novella, but I think it would have not been as well-paced as a full novel.
That said, I did have a few times of having a hard time following the story due to a bit of overwriting. I could carry through the plot without too many of these hiccups, but I felt as if these were the parts that could have completely blocked me from finishing the novella if the majority of the story weren’t so good.
On the whole, I highly recommend this novella for anyone who loves a complex shifter story. I really enjoyed this novella, and I look forward to seeing more set in this world.
Blakely Chorpenning has all of the formats that you can purchase her novella listed on her site.