'Leviathan's Rise' is the second book in the Keepers of Haven series by Bokerah Brumley. I hadn't read the first, and though this one seemed like it might be a good story, I was worried about one thing.
I just didn't think I could wrap my mind around the idea of a whale shifter. I mean, I'm used to the others-- the wolves, the big cats, even the dragons, but whales? *blinks* I genuinely believed this would detract from the story so much, especially as I tried to picture the logistics of that transformation.
Well, I was wrong. I mean, the transformation was awkward for me. Not only the physical descriptions of how it felt, also the psychological shift that took place, leading to the change in actions was jarring. However, Brumley is a good writer with sharp instincts. She got it over with quickly the first time and that enabled me to brush it off and just focus on the rest of the book. By the time it happened again, well it still felt a little weird, but it was easier to roll with it.
Mostly this novel is just really well done. The cast of characters is diverse, she's taken time to build deep backstories for them, and they're complex. There are loves and hates, prejudices and fears, complicated friendships and mournful decisions that are made.
Her idea of the world in their immediate vicinity, feels like it's right outside this one. Geographically, of course.. but also conceptually. As you get through the story, that world does get bigger and more fantastical, though again.. by the time you're there.. you just accept it with wide-eyed wonder.
You want nothing more in one moment, for someone to be taught a lesson, but in the next.. it's very possible you'll find yourself feeling guilty about those feelings. There are deceptions stacked atop betrayals hidden under loyalties, and until the end, you don't quite know what you're getting.
My only complaint, and it's a small one, is that the ends being wrapped up as this story comes to a close, are almost a quick, easy clean-up. All except of course for the cliffhanger. Now normally I hate those, but it really didn't hurt this story, as the issue hadn't been dealt with at all throughout the book.
This one's fun, definitely push aside those biases (if you have them) and give it a read.