The Leopard King
Ars Numina Book #1
By Ann Aguirre
I received this ARC from Ann Aguirre herself in exchange for my completely honest review! The Leopard King releases September 28, 2016. So please place your preorder now!
I knew pretty quickly that I was going to give this book 5 stars because it was that good from the very beginning. I was 20% into the book and I was completely engrossed in it. I didn’t want to put it down!
So I’m going to admit something slightly embarrassing to you all. I was not expecting this book to be in any way related to cats (Felines). The title should have given it away, I mean it does say the LEOPARD king. When it finally registered, I was like this is a little different. I for sure haven’t read anything even remotely close to this before. It is such a different kind of paranormal. BUT IT WAS AMAZING! I absolutely fell in love with the people and the comparisons of their lives to that of felines. For example, they are a pride and they live in the hold and they mate for life.
The best way I can think of to review this is by splitting it into main characters.
I’ll start with Dom (Dominic), who is the leopard king. When the story begins he has alienated himself from the pride completely and you can’t help but feel your heart breaking for him. As men typically do, he expresses his heart break by being a jerk and pushing everyone away. Thankfully, he was able to over come that, return to the pride and resume is reign. I love that Dom shape shifts into a beautiful snow leopard! I can just picture how beautiful that would be. Even though you can’t see it in the beginning of the novel because Dom is too busy feeling sorry for himself, he really does turn out to be a really great king and you can see why the pride needed him back so desperately. The person he choose as his mate only enhances this and she makes a wonderful pride matron.
Pru (Prudence) tugged at my heart strings from the very second the book started. She is completely relatable, especially to me. She’s completely insecure and thinks she isn’t worth anything to anyone, simply because she’s a Latent (unable to shape shift). You can understand why the ability to shape shift is so important in this story because it means they wouldn’t be a good mate. Pru spends a lot of her life being second best to her amazing and beautiful best friend, so that doesn’t help with her self confidence at all. Even though the situation that allows this is tragic, she finds a way to blossom and be the amazing woman you can always tell is hidden underneath. My favorite part is to watch the transformation she goes through and the insecurities she overcomes. She also plays a major role in the progression on the book.
Dalena, you can’t help but not feel a little resentment towards her for a couple of reasons. She is the best friend I mentioned above. While I don’t think she intentionally makes Pru not feel good enough, I also don’t believe she helped to boost her confidence all that much. She is also Dom’s first wife. She doesn’t play a large role in the book itself, but you can always feel her lingering there and showing her ugly (beautiful) head as the saying goes, to cause unnecessary tension in certain relationships.
Slay plays a significant role also for two reasons. One, he is Dom’s second in command and two, he is Pru’s long time love. Unfortunately Slay has never proved himself worthy of Pru’s affections because he treated her like a disposable piece of trash her whole life (he even told her she was a dispensable member of the pride) for the simple fact that she was Latent. So of course, he also didn’t help with the way Pru thought of herself. As the story progresses, readers get to see a completely different side of Slay which is nice and breaks your heart just little. However, it’s too little too late.
The coming events definitely push all of the characters to their limits and pose the ultimate tests to their relationships and community. When the hold comes under attack during a peace meeting with Kings from neighboring communities of shape shifters (wolves and bears), there are those who rise and those who fall. The ending takes so many twists and turns, for the good and the bad, you can’t help but to speed read to find out what happens as soon as possible.
We may be backed into a corner, but this isn’t the end. For you, I’ll take on the world. And win. –Dom
I’d also like to designate a moment to cherish the cover of this book. If you didn’t look at it up above, her it is again:
These are some of the beautiful felines some of the characters shape shift to:
Jaguar. Lynx. Ocelot. Snow Leopard.
If nothing I have said makes you want to preorder this book before it releases on September 28, 2016 then you don’t know what a great books sounds like! I promise you will not be disappointed with this book. Plus, according to Ann Aguirre, there will be six installments so you’ll get to enjoy reading these even more!
I know I’m super excited for the next book and I hope and pray Ann Agguire gives me the pleasure of reading her next books as an ARC as well!
The next book in the series is The Demon Prince
What do you think? Will read this amazing paranormal romance?