Homecoming is the prologue novella to Cecilia Robert’s new series, Cloaked Devices. The sixteen chapter work sets up many of the relationships and challenges for the primary characters in the upcoming full length novels. Because of the somewhat explicit sex scenes/sexual situations I recommend this book for mature readers.
During World War II scientists created a bacteria to use as a type of biochemical warfare that would frighten the civilians into acquiescing to military demands. However, the infection turned into a plague that nearly destroyed the human population, and only the blood from the shifter clans hidden on Earth could save those people left. Those who were saved with the shifters’ gift were not unchanged though; they gained the ability to manipulate at least one of the elements and became special themselves.
Less than one hundred years later shifters and the surviving humans have made a new home on Anndesia by working together to harness each race’s unique skills. Sera Czedar, the daughter of her panther shifter clan’s alpha, ran away the day of her mating ceremony to Levian Grayson. The young shifter has been unable to forget the girl he loved since childhood, and when he gets a chance to bring her home, he pounces on it. Sera had very good reasons for leaving the safety of her clan though, and, while the chemistry with her estranged husband is sizzling, she isn’t entirely sure she wants to return home now that five years have passed.
I really enjoyed reading Homecoming despite the small faults I noticed in the writing and characterization. The world building was amazing, and all of the primary characters were three dimensional, not just 2D stand ins for a real person. However, the story never fully drew me in even as I wanted to know more about how the society worked and functioned as a whole.
What I Liked:
- Sera is a well-developed character who actually advocates for herself and those she feels responsible for in life. At no point in the story did I feel that she was going to allow herself to be railroaded. Extra points for Levian appearing to truly listen in most cases!
- I truly believed in Levian’s feelings for Sera, especially as the story explored more of what happened when the fateful mating day at eighteen. It was clear to me that despite the insta-lustipants when they met again, he had much deeper feelings beyond wanting to shag her into the floor boards.
- All types of shifters show up in the story, not just the exciting and impressive ones that commonly get discussed in paranormal lit. There’s an antelope shifter! I’m totally serious!
- Robert’s world-building is top notch, and I think I would read a book just about the government and societal structure of Anndesia. If she’d throw in customs of the various groups I would be in socio-science heaven.
- Sera’s reasons for leaving her clan were valid, not just a matter of misunderstanding. Yes, a lot of heartache could have been avoided if she’d discussed her situation with others, but her reasons for staying silent made a lot of sense.
- Czedar as the kooky inventor clan alpha is quite possibly the most adorable image ever. I pictured him as a more fierce version of Belle’s father from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.
- Flying steamships rock! Is there anything more to be said?
- The sex scenes are steamy and well-written. It will make a lot of readers wish they were some sort of a cat shifter, so they could purr.
What Didn’t Entirely Work for Me:
- I kept reading Levian’s name as “Leviathan” every time it showed up in the text. It probably didn’t help that he’s described as being a very tall, muscular guy.
- While Levian’s emotional attachment to Sera made sense, I didn’t quite feel the connection on her side. She’s supposed to have realized her feelings at the last minute, but I was left a little cold. However, I totally believed that she wanted to shag the big cat six ways to Sunday.
- Levian clearly loves Sera, but sometimes his attitude rubbed me the wrong way. I like alpha males, but the big guy waffled between being really sensitive to Sera’s desires and needs and forcing his agenda on her, although not always successfully. I really just wanted to see him have a softer, communicative side with his mate that was shielded as clan beta.
Overall, Homecoming is a great introduction to a fantastical world with intriguing characters. While not every note was pitch perfect for me, I do wonder where things will go from here. I definitely would pick up the first full novel in the series just to check out what everyone’s getting up to in the near future!
4 Sharp Hidden Daggers out of 5
Homecoming will be released on October 25, 2013.