Fantasy/Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy
Phase Mountain Pack #1
Published 21st April 2022
My rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
In a world where Prodigies are denoted by the shifter guardian they bond with, Halle is the support character in her sister, Mona’s, story. Mona is+ a world class violinist, renowned for her talent, and her bond with her guardian makes Halle want nothing more than to be chosen, to find out that she is in fact a prodigy, just like her sister; until tragedy strikes and changes her life forever. In a rebellious moment, Halle trespasses on pack lands and ends up becoming bonded to a shifter called Theo, her pain and trauma makes her reject the pairing. They now say that she’s a prodigy, and one of the most important ones at that, Halle will do all she can to fight against the Prodigy bond, she refuses to trust a shifter, let alone fall in love with one. She’ll do all she can to keep her walls solid and go about life as normal, until she can’t. The future as they know it relies on Halle and her guardian bond, will she answer Fate’s calling?
I was super excited to receive an ARC of this. I didn’t even realise that I would, I forgot that I was on the ARC list for this author so it was such a lovely surprise. Before picking this book up, I was in a bit of a slump, I started and stopped so many books because I just wasn’t feeling them (I am planning to go back and try again with a couple), and when I picked this one up, it’s like the curse was lifted!
This book grabbed me right from the start. The unique world that June has created here is fantastic, and this was such a good ‘ol Urban Fantasy that I was here for. In this world, anyone of notoriety or talent such as musicians, scientists, world leaders, artists etc. are known as prodigies. They go through a ceremony where they will bond with a shifter guardian, this in turn enhances the skills or talents that they already had, the shifter is then bonded to them for life and is their guardian to care for them and help them in ways that no one else can. Halle’s sister Mona is a prodigy and a world renowned violinist, she and her guardian have been bonded for around twelve years when we first meet them (I think), and Halle keeps hoping that each year when she makes the pilgrimage that she will come out as a prodigy as well. Halle is the side character in her sister’s life and she’s started to accept the fact that she’s the screw up and the trouble maker and will never amount to anything, when a tragedy strikes, she’s more than willing to accept this as her lot in life as she’d rather be nobody than bonded to a shifter. So when in an act of rebellion she comes out as a prodigy, she doesn’t want the title and does everything that she can to reject it. I loved the whole idea of prodigies and guardians. It’s such a unique world mechanic that I haven’t seen before and it works beautifully. There’s also the forbidden love aspect as humans and shifters are forbidden from interbreeding as it could jeopardise the shifter blood lines making them impure.
Halle’s story was such an interesting one. Having your whole world ripped out from underneath you and hating everything that you ever wanted really adds another dimension to a character. Halle is a mess. She’s hurting, hollow and just wants to feel again. I really enjoyed her character and could really sympathise with her plight. I also enjoyed the characters of her parents and Mona. I adored Theo’s character too, he’s such an alpha male (literally) yet he’s not an arsehole which I loved. Their relationship dynamic was a fun one to read through because it’s about two people who’s whole world has been turned upside down and they have to work through their demons and fears in order to work together to solve this huge problem that’s impacting their world and their futures. I really enjoyed all of the characters that we meet in this story, and there’s a couple that I loved to hate.
The story itself was super engaging, there was no info dumping which was great. The world is so well thought out and super unique and the narration was flawless. This was a story that really grabbed me from the get go and dragged me in, it had me hanging out to find out what would happen next and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in the following instalments, nothing is solved in this one, so there’s ongoing questions and storylines that I’m super excited to continue. It doesn’t end on a cliff hanger so much as open ended. There is a pretty big twist at the end that I did not see coming at all, and it has really left me guessing as to what could possibly happen next. I became super endeared to these characters really quickly, they’re all so well rounded and have their own distinct voices with big personalities that jump right off the page.
This was such a wonderful read after struggling to stick to a book, I feel like it really pulled me out of my slump and I cannot wait to see what happens next! If you love a well written, easy to read urban fantasy with high stakes and great characters and relationship development, give this one a go, you will not be disappointed!