by Christine Feehan, paranormal (2004)
Jove, $6.99, ISBN 0-515-13682-4
This review could easily be cut-and-pasted from my reviews of previous books by this author. She has the idea, but the execution of the story is riddled with awkward phraseology, plot holes, illogical inconsistencies, and the feeling that something has gone wrong halfway because there is a very underbaked feel to Wild Rain. As in the general case for all her books, Ms Feehan seems to be stumbling blindfolded to the finishing line as she seems to jump right into a story without actually thinking out the plot properly first.
This book is the first full-length book in Ms Feehan's wereleopard series. This marks her fourth concurrently running series and while her fans are willing to shell out money to keep her and her publishers happy, I wonder whether this is a wise move. The Carpathian series is stuck in a rut of repetitious monotone while the Drake Sisters series and the Ghostwalker series aren't even properly established yet. Shouldn't the author concentrate on building up one series first instead of running in all directions? But oh well, if the author makes a living selling half-baked ideas at full price, who am I to say anything?
Wild Rain does demonstrate one thing though. If you put the author's books back to back from the first book to this, there is at least a semblance of evolution in the author's style. Ms Feehan's plotting is stronger, her heroines are becoming more than a weepy-eyed Mary Sue-type damsel in distress that plagues the author's earlier books, and the writing style has become less clunky and stilted. But if Wild Rain is anything to go by, the author still has some way to go before becoming an author that's acclaimed for her quality as opposed to the quantity of the books she puts out every year.
In this book, Rachel Lospostos leads a rather dramatic life. She takes the opportunity to escape her old life and the men out to kill her by leaping to her "death" when the boat she is traveling in is attacked by bandits in the Indochinese jungles. Rachel has felt some affinity to the jungles (I guess the bugs, the sweltering heat, the snakes waiting to bite your posterior when you squat over the bushes, the threat of malaria and dengue, and other fun stuff do that to people) but she has no idea what she is in for when she can somehow see in the dark and ends up in the jungle chalet owned by Indochina's own George of the Jungle, Rio Santana the wereleopard and his darling clouded leopard companions.
Rio works with the team he rents from Sequel-Bait Incorporated to smash bandit kidnap rings in Indochina and when he sees Rachel... well, if you have read this author's books before, you can probably deduce the dynamic of the relationship between these two. I am quite surprised by the way the author actually lets Rio's clouded leopards attack Rachel - see, these kitties are dangerous - but as it turns out, this is just a way for the author to prevent Rachel from running away screaming from Rio as Rio and she start lusting after each other. Amidst the rather overused and tepid attraction thingie, Ms Feehan also introduces unnecessary a erotic/past life dream bond between those two.
The problem with this book is that the author may change the paranormal aspect of her characters but the whole obsession/lust/instant bond relationships between her characters are so similarly written that it is hard not to gloss over the book just to get it done and over with. Christine Feehan really needs to change the way her characters meet and behave even a little, because after thirteen books in the four years she has been published, a change, even a little change, really needs to happen. On the other hand, Rachel is probably one of the better heroines from this author to date as she holds her own with Rio instead of being hopelessly dominated, mind-raped, and dependent on the hero. Yes, there's her injured leg, I know, but at least I don't get the impression that she will wither and die without the hero being always there to shelter her from life.
At the end, however, the book is neither here nor there. The villains are vague and inept, presenting very little threat in this story. The wereleopard canon is sketchy and underdeveloped, the sequel bait future heroes are nondescript and barely distinguishable from Rio Santana, and there are numerous illogical instances in this stories that are too much of coincidences or deus ex machina.
There's not much to say about Wild Rain, really, other than that it's a Christine Feehan book. While there are varying degrees of quality to this author's books, even the best books suffer from a rushed production feel to them, plagued as they are by half-hearted executions, shoddy characterizations, and superficial character development. I can only hope that I don't have to wade through another thirteen books before Ms Feehan shows some much-needed evolution in her storytelling style or that this isn't as good as she can get.
This book at Amazon.com
This book at Amazon UK
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