Courtesy of CK2S Kwips and Kritiques
In Howling Moon we are finally given the full story about Cat and Raphael. Their circumstances were alluded to in previous books Hunter's Moon and Moon's Web as having a strong impact on the Sazi world as a whole. Now we finally discover why...
Catherine "Cat" Turner's world is turned upside down when she is brutally attacked by a serial killer and turned into a were-jaguar. Her previously uneventful life now takes a drastic turn as she has to come to terms with her new animalistic appetites and desires, as well as the lingering affects of the brutal murders of her family and her own violent attack.
Raphael is a retired agent of Wolven, the Sazi secret police, as a result of a huge scandal several years ago. When he is called in to protect and teach Catherine by her Godfather, who is none other than leader of all the Sazi, Charles Wingate, he knows life is about to get very complicated. Raphael is a wolf and Cat a jaguar, two species that are bitter enemies. Add in that her attacker, Jack, is at the heart of Raphael's past scandal and circumstances are about to get very tense.
Amidst pack politics, societal threats by a madman, and ingrained prejudices between Sazi species Cat and Raphael form a bond that defies all expectations. As their love as mates grows they find their position in the pack even more precarious, until they are forced into a decision that will challenge the beliefs and minds of all Sazi.
In their most ambitious novel to date, C T Adams and Cathy Clamp give readers a chance to delve deeper into Sazi society with Howling Moon. The timeline is also longer than the usual novel in the series, as was necessary to really give Raphael and Cat's story the attention it deserved and needed. We are also given a stronger lesson in the laws of a pack society through Cat's lessons. As she discovers what her new life means, so do we the readers.
It is also fascinating to get in to the mind of a serial killer like readers will here. We see glimpses of Jack's thought processes through his mental link to Cat, which pops up in all sorts of situations. This adds an additional element of surprise to the story as no one ever knows when he'll put in an "appearance" and reveal more of himself to Cat. Through his mind link, Cat and Raphael find out more and more about Jack's plans and grow ever more desperate to put an end to his reign of terror.
I personally think that the love between Cat and Raphael is better and more intense than any of the other couples we've met thus far in the Sazi society. Just knowing how they came together and all the adversity they had to face makes their bond that much more powerful. I cried many tears over the pack's treatment of the couple. As times grow tenser and a decision is forced, my heart was so strongly bound up in the story I wanted to scream and shout and cheer Cat and Raphael on in their passionate relationship.
Now all that said, and as much as I loved this foray into Sazi life, there are a couple things that need mentioned. Due to the circumstances in Howling Moon, there is a ton of information about pack laws and hierarchy that must be relayed to Cat, and in turn, the readers. Though I completely understood the need for these crucial details, they did cause some confusion, due to information overload more than anything. I found I had to go back to previous chapters several times to try to remember what I learned. Sometimes the action gets bogged down by the details. Also, having read Hunter's Moon and Moon's Web a while back, when they were first published I sometimes had a hard time remembering the connections between the supporting players.
On the flip side, we get much of the back story of the Sazi in Howling Moon and it helped to explain more clearly events and relationships we were introduced in previous novels in the series. This is not a quick read as it takes time to process all the data, but that makes the novel no less compelling and action-packed. Howling Moon is definitely a character-driven story and is very heart-wrenching. You will laugh, cry, rage and scream along with Raphael and Cat, and their loved ones and enemies. Be prepared to run the full range of emotions when reading Howling Moon. You won't be disappointed.
© Kelley A. Hartsell, December 2006. All rights reserved.