Darkest Fear by Cate Tiernan, published by Hodder on 9th January 2014
Since she discovered the truth when she turned 13, Vivi Neves has rejected everything her parents hold dear - their heritage, culture, traditions, and especially their dark family secret. They are haguari - cat people, shapeshifters who turn into jaguars, as their ancestors have done for thousands of years.
Then, tragically, her parents are killed. Vivi can cling to her own beliefs and live her life the way she wants - or she can embrace her heritage and avenge her parents' deaths.
With danger closing in on her, her decision is forced... and she's pulled deeper into a mystery that gets darker and more dangerous. Finally, she must face her heritage... or die.
'Darkest Fear' is the first title in a brand new trilogy by author Cate Tiernan. Having thoroughly enjoyed her Immortal Beloved series, I was psyched to hear that she had a new book out and couldn't wait to pick it up. The story actually reminded me of Christine Feehan's Leopard People books (which I love) but for teens.
The majority of the action is set in New Orleans and features main character Vivi Neves, who is haguari. She has the ability to shapeshift into a jaguar but is reluctant to embrace her family's heritage. After a terrible event involving her parents, Vivi goes to live with her cousin Mateo and his girlfriend Aly and sets about trying to rebuild her life.
The dramatic opening to the book immediately grabbed me and I flew through the next few chapters. I was utterly engrossed as Vivi's whole world changes and she faces up a new future. I loved the communal feel of Vivi's new home with her cousin and his housemates. They may not all be related by blood but they share a common bond and they definitely feel like family. There's no doubt that they have each others backs.
Vivi's burgeoning romance with good-looking Rafael was another of my favourite things about the story and I can't wait to see how this progresses throughout the rest of the series. There are definite sparks between the two of them and I would love to see more of their romance!
The only bit I wasn't too sure about were the scenes in the book when Vivi is in her jaguar form. There's obviously and understandably no proper dialogue and instead her thoughts are conveyed as a stream of consciousness. This took quite a bit of getting used to and I must admit I did prefer it when she was in her human form.
Paranormal romance fans will love this opening instalment to the series which I heartily recommend. 'Darkest Night' the next book in the series will be published in September 2014.