Title: A Change To Bear
Author: A.E. Grace
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance
Rating: 2 Stars (2.5)
Terry Spencer is curvy, spontaneous, and brimming with attitude. When a crazy job and a crazier family overwhelm her, she leaves for Vietnam with nothing but a backpack. But she doesn’t expect to bump into a strange and stunning traveler on a train in the middle of the countryside. She certainly doesn’t expect to find herself falling for that man who so obviously harbors a dark secret…
Liam is heading for Vietnam in search of an old friend. He happens across a beautiful woman with the unique capacity to both attract and irritate him. But he’s got a secret that ices is heart, that prevents him from falling in love. He’s one of the last of the shapeshifters, and he’s got a hunter on his scent who won’t stop until he, and everybody he cares for, is dead…
Will Liam give in to his desire, and allow his emotions to surface in the face of the hunter threat? And will Terry, confronted with the reality that shapeshifters exist, still feel the same way?
WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW
I read this book as part of the Fated Mates Box Set, so I am planning to give a review to each individual book in the set, and then the set as a whole at a later date. There are twelve books in the set, and it is currently for sale on Amazon for $2.99 at the time this review was written. This is book 10 of 12.
This book wasn’t as a bad as the star rating portrays it. I very nearly gave it three stars, but upon careful consideration, decided 2 stars is where it should settle. Here’s the thing: This book is well-written technically speaking. There were a few minor typo’s, but for the most part, the narrative was clean, engaging, fast-paced, and had some really gorgeous detail thrown in. There were one or two times when I felt that clarity was perhaps pushed aside in favor of poetic sentences, but for the most part, I really enjoyed the actual writing.
Here’s the problem: Putting this book into the “Romance” genre feels like a lie. Yes, the main characters have sex (once), but the romance really wasn’t there. I wouldn’t even consider Terry and Liam friends. The guy barely spoke to her during the book, and with the exception of finding her “interesting” never really seemed to show any attraction or romantic feelings towards her. Likewise, though Terry made one or two comments about how Liam was good-looking, she didn’t seem to lust after him, and certainly never declared love for him. I would have called them companions. Sure, they had sex, but the emotions behind it didn’t seem to be there. I know this book was toted as a “slow burn” but there’s slow burn, and then there’s vaguely warm day-old ashes. This story lacked warmth.
I did like Terry as a character. It was a nice change to have a larger heroine who wasn’t self-conscious all the time. She had a vibrant “I can do this!” attitude throughout the book that made you cheer her on. She was friendly, charismatic, and joyous. Liam on the other hand was a little harder for me to warm up to. He didn’t seem evil or particularly broody, but he felt… detached. The man hardly ever spoke, rarely said more than one word when he did, and smiled maybe once in the entire book. I wanted to like the guy, but honestly he had the personality of a brick wall. If I were Terry, I probably would have given up on him long ago. She really wasn’t getting anywhere with him.
The lore/backstory was also a little hard to follow. In the scenes were we followed Liam through conversations with other shifters it was really difficult to keep up with the many names and who they were. I got lost right away, and never really sorted it out. There was so much backstory there that didn’t seem to have any particular impact on the story at hand. I liked the idea of the shifter “gene” being in all of us, and only triggered in a few people – that was pretty interesting to me, but other than that, the whole lore was a bit of a tangled mess. I couldn’t seem to grasp who all these shifters were in relation to Liam, or why I should care about them.
Overall, the book was interesting to read all the way through, I found the narrative engaging, and I liked the main character, Terry—but the romance just wasn’t there for me, and Liam had no personality. Would I read it again? Eh… probably not. Would I recommend it? I don’t know. I want to say yes, because the narrative was nicely written, but the story itself fell flat. I wish more time had been spent developing the romance into something tangible. It could have been better.