Title: Animal Release Date: February 28, 2015
Genres: Urban Fantasy
He has finally found the potential family he has always wanted. All he has to do is make his little bird sing. Will Ava escape with her humanity intact?
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*I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.*
Welcome to our spotlight on Nikki Rae, an independent author who released Animal in February of this year.
Nikki Rae is an independent author who lives in New Jersey. She explores human nature through fiction, concentrating on making the imaginary as real as possible. Her genres of choice are mainly dark, scary, romantic tales, but she’ll try anything once. When she is not writing, reading, or thinking, you can find her spending time with animals, drawing in a quiet corner, or studying people. Closely.
1. Sunshine (2013)
2. Sun Poisoned (2013)
3. Sun Damage (2014)
The Donor Parts 1-3 (2014)
Captive Guardian (2015)
Jennifer’s Review of Animal
I was pleasantly surprised by Animal. It was a great mix of horror and fantasy. The author kept the story going at a fast pace, skillfully limiting flashbacks and exposition of backstory. I appreciated that there were no information dumps and the story’s goal became apparent very early on in the story.
The basic storyline is: Ava, a young woman who is gifted with animals, is abducted, held captive, and tortured by a vampire named Michael who believes they are meant to be together and will stop at nothing to break her and make her his. Evan, another vampire, is forced to help Michael despite Evan’s desire to help Ava.
Both Ava and Evan are characters who evoke sympathy. Ava’s panic attacks are realistic and justified. I didn’t necessarily agree with her strategy for escape, but I could understand it, and I liked that she tried to take matters into her own hands. She never gave up, even when it appeared at times that she had. Evan, although helping Michael, tries to be kind to Ava. He’s a likable character. Michael was a believable villain. His motivations were clear and made sense.
Although the book is listed as urban fantasy, it lacks the kick-ass heroine and extensive worldbuilding that are typical of urban fantasy. I didn’t mind about the heroine–it’s a nice change to see someone vulnerable–and the worldbuilding isn’t relevant to this plot because it takes place in only a few locations in isolation.
The story is told from both first and third person point of view. I didn’t like this because I felt like I was being disconnected from Ava when it switched to Michael, Evan, or Toni’s point of view. Because first person is very intimate, I didn’t want to leave Ava. However, I understand the need for some scenes to be told from other points of view. I think I would have liked it better if the entire book had been written from third person, rather than shifting between the two.
This book is not for squeamish readers. Some parts were scary and bloody. I didn’t mind; in fact I loved those scenes because they were terrifying but not overly sadistic.
If you don’t like cliffhanger endings, you probably won’t like Animal. Some of the plot points are resolved, but not all of them.
I enjoyed reading Animal. I recommend it to readers who like vampire stories with only a hint of potential romance. I give Animal 4.5 stars for fast pacing, excellent characterization, and a different kind of urban fantasy heroine.