Sunday, August 28, 2011

On Mates: A Review of Amber Eyes by Maya Banks

This is a bit different from what I usually read and review. Not only is it erotica, which I tend to avoid reviewing, but it's a ménage a trois story. It was a quick enjoyable read, but also surprisingly emotional, so I decided it was worth commenting on.

Kaya is a shape-shifter, and having been left behind by her family she's spent most of her life as a cougar in the wild. She's been watching Jericho and Hunter, two men who live in an isolated cabin, and they have been watching her. When she is hurt, she allows them to help her--and they discover that their wild cougar companion is in fact a beautiful woman. They both form an attachment to her, and are reluctant to leave her even when their work calls them away.

I liked that the plot was slow and mellow. It has a quiet, isolated feel that I found relaxing. It isn't an adventure story, and the paranormal element is uncomplicated and matter-of-fact. That simplicity really fit the story and set the tone.

While reading this story, I spent a great deal of time trying to figure out how the author intended to characterize each of her protagonists. Kaya comes across as a bit weak and helpless, but then you have to bare in mind that she hasn't had much human contact. Still, I feel like the author could have spent a little time establishing that Kaya does have some innate strength, and isn't totally dependent on her men to provide for her. Hunter is portrayed as the more closed off, emotionally isolated of the two men. Why that is is never fully explained. I can't really get a handle on Jericho's personality at all, other than that he's a bit more open than Hunter. Both men are, of course, insanely protective and intent on caring for Kaya. I think part of the problem at work here is page limitation. It's a short book, so there is only a limited amount of time to establish everyone's personality and allow them to develop.

My other "complaint" is the sunny, slightly sugar coated ending. Everyone is accepting of Kaya and her relationship with two men. Nobody comments or thinks it's odd. Everybody is just part of a big happy family. That's a bit unrealistic. But then, this book has shape-shifting so I guess I shouldn't demand realism.

All told, for a novella you can read in one day, this is worthwhile. It has steam, emotion, and a fairly satisfying happy ending. 3.5 stars.

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