Title: Jacked Cat Jive (Kai Gracen #3)
Author: Rhys Ford
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: March 5, 2019
Genre(s): Urban Fantasy, Romance
Page Count: 352 Pages
Reviewed by: ColinJ
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Stalker Kai Gracen knew his human upbringing would eventually clash with his elfin heritage, but not so soon. Between Ryder, a pain-in-his-neck Sidhe Lord coaxing him to join San Diego’s Southern Rise Court, and picking up bounties for SoCalGov, he has more than enough to deal with. With his loyalties divided between the humans who raised him and the Sidhe Lord he’s befriended and sworn to protect, Kai finds himself standing at a crossroads.
When a friend begs Kai to rescue a small group of elfin refugees fleeing the Dusk Court, he’s pulled into a dangerous mission with Ryder through San Diego’s understreets and the wilderness beyond. Things go from bad to downright treacherous when Kerrick, Ryder’s cousin, insists on joining them, staking a claim on Southern Rise and Kai.
Burdened by his painful past, Kai must stand with Ryder against Kerrick while facing down the very Court he fears and loathes. Dying while on a run is expected for a Stalker, but Kai wonders if embracing his elfin blood also means losing his heart, soul, and humanity along the way.
This book provides an effective development of this interesting world building. Many stories provide human and fantasy crossover with urban fantasy becoming a natural consequence. This series is based on the consequences of the merger of both worlds into a new hybrid world. The environment, as well as the beings within it, is in a constant state of tension. This provides a fascinating opportunity to explore not only aspects of individual personalities, but also how individuals might adapt to a new and hostile world. The central character is complex and this story allows for more of the background to be revealed as well as key aspects of personality to be consolidated.
The plot is quite simple with a specific task to be completed and a new antagonist to deal with. That does not mean the story is simple, there are numerous scenes of tension and conflict that need to be resolved to move forward. Each offers a little surprise and is interesting in its own right. It should be noted however that whilst there are brief pauses of normality the reader does become a little desensitized and can predict that something is due to happen, due to the bang-bang-bang of the plot, even though the details are never obvious.
The world building and cultural development are very well done and fascinating. There seems to be much left unexplored and this bodes well for subsequent stories in the series.
The relationship between the two central characters provides a development from earlier books and this book offers more of a balance and understanding between them. There is far more teasing and a clear sense of familiarity. That doesn’t mean that the tensions don’t exist between them, but rather that they are becoming accustomed to them. This is not a series based on sex, so the reader should be prepared for sexual tension rather than action. That said, the story works well without it.
As noted above, there is an awful lot going on in this book, so the pace is quite fast. The reader needs to actively slow their reading, as there is a lot of detail that could easily be missed.
The story closes with a partial resolution to the key themes but much is left open for the next book. This is not a neatly packaged set of books and the reader should expect to await the next book. The author does feed in reminders of what has gone before at the opening of each book. However, it may serve the reader well to go back and read this book again a little closer to the publication of the next story.