Review of Abigail Owen’s Andromeda’s Fall

I worked with Abigail Owen for the Here Kitty Kitty short story anthology. All the stories are paranormal romance tales, involving shape shifters. Big, feline shape shifters to be exact. Owen’s short story in the collect, Hannah’s Fate, is one of my favourites in the collection. Her chosen big kitty shifter was the mountain lion.
In Andromeda’s Fall, the Shadowcat Nation series comes alive again with its first novel length instalment. Hannah’s college friend, A.J. Reynolds from the Carstairs Dare, Andromeda or Andie as she is also affectionately called, meets Jaxon Keller. He is the Alpha cat of the Keller Dare.
Andromeda, having escaped the sinister Kyle and Walter Carstairs from the Carstairs Dare, seeks asylum in the Keller Dare. She’s a powerhouse, having fought to make a place in a volatile, male dominated world. Unusually skilled in combat, security and war tactics she’s a desirable addition to any dare. Plus she’s quite a prize, for any big cat. But Andromeda has been forced into a vulnerable position when she seeks Jaxon’s help.
Jaxon is a patient, protective sort, ever watchful of this new world they are building. He is the quintessential ‘real man’, one who only shows his complete dominance when it is necessary. Boy that’s rare and man that’s hot! This quality puts him in contrast with the weasel like Carstairs men, who rule their dare by fear and intimidation. I won’t reveal too much of the story, as it is worth the read.
The paranormal world building is pretty good. I love the Shadowcat Nation concept. The references to Native American terminology and folklore aren’t too shabby either. I like the mystical element behind this world. My only criticism is that I would have liked more of that Native American mysticism and folklore.
That might just be me, as I just love it when magic and history intermingle. But the mountain lion characters in this story are in the throes of setting up their world, coming to grips with what they are and how they will now all live.
The fact is, it is a new world. As is regularly pointed out in the story, cougars are solitary animals. So, living in dares isn’t natural for them. They have been forced into pack life for the purposes of survival. So the politics of living in a group, accepting an Alpha to lead them, how the different dares are led, etc., are interesting elements within the story.
Though I love most paranormal stories, I’m partial to shifters. I find the conflict between pure animal instincts and modern human natures fascinating. Shape shifting cougars, by their animal natures are these solitary, secretive, felines. Their animal natures give them a need to mate, even if just for a season. But the human part of them, and the paranormal/magical element brings about a desire to mate, even marry for life.
A big of extra magic comes about when shifters who are classed as Kuharte are mentioned. Kuharte are those shifters with special powers/abilities. It is Shadowcat Nation law that each dare can only have one Kuharte. The Keller Dare has a healer; the Carstairs Dare has a Seer. The Seer receives visions of the future, those who are destined to mate, who is fated to be with whom, etc.
The strongest element of the story is definitely the romance. Abigail Owen comes up with all kinds of magical, yet relevant excuses for her characters to get together. When she throws in her world building skills, some character building, and makes good use of the paranormal/shifter genre the result is a consistent, engaging story where the romance really rules.
I like Abigail Owen’s, concise writing style. I admit that although I wouldn’t mind a bit more mystical/folklore history, the way she presents her story keeps it flowing. It’s very clear what is happening, you can see it all before your eyes. It’s easy to visualise the setting, the combat, the injuries, and of course the loved up, heated scenes. There’s one particular ‘hazy’ scene that is rather sexy.
Romance rules in this story, as I said. You have the couple with their dual animal/human natures, the magical element, the situation they are thrown into in order to be together, plus there is the heat. I think, in an adult paranormal romance story, that super-heated attraction is a necessary aspect. Andromeda’s Fall is hot without resorting to over the top eroticism.
I’m not squeamish when it comes to the saucy stuff. But there are times, especially in this genre, when it is overused. There is such a thing as balance in a story. Otherwise, the world building, even the romance between the characters takes a back seat. A story that most likely wasn’t intended to be erotica turns out to be…well….really bad erotica. And that’s just a shame. Andromeda’s Fall is a strong, hot romance, intended for grown-ups.
Much like Owen’s Svatura Series, this is a world I am interested in. I want to know what will happen to the Shadowcat Nation, how these new mountain lion dares are going to survive when they have to compete with other animals who are accustomed to living in packs or dares. Plus, one of my favourite characters in Andromeda’s Fall is going to be involved in the next one. I just know it! She’s an ambitious lady, Abigail Owen, she’s taken on quite a lot over the next few months but I hope she gets going with her Shadowcat Nation writing soon.

By jmnauthor3000