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Sex on Earth: A Celebration of Animal Reproduction
Jules Howard

Black Beast

Black Beast - Nenia Campbell Overall I was left dissatisfied by Black Beast. The book suffered from little to nothing happening for the majority of the time and resulted in a rather anti-climatic book. Another big issue for me was the fact that neither main character, Catherine nor Finn, were at all likable.

At the very beginning of the novel I thought there was great potential for the character of Catherine. She was intriguing and seemingly mature, but then I realized that this was a fleeting moment because she was in fact, in high school. I had not read the summary before starting the book and I honestly felt the very beginning of the book implied an adult novel. I think it would have been more successful for me as a reader if it had been.

Finn was never a decent character, he was an ass from beginning to end with seemingly nothing on his mind but power and sex. Catherine, while starting off well in the beginning pages, turned out to be a classic teenager who happened to be a shifter. I was not a fan of the Twilight similarities or the word choices often made by characters, such as skank, bitch, whore etc. Catherine used these a number of times and they made me dislike her more. I also found the use of these words to be contradictory to the random feminist points Catherine made in the book. I appreciated them but found the sentiments out of place.

There were many dull moments, even the long chase between Catherine and Finn was rendered dull for me as a reader due to it taking approximately ten percent of the book. I am not a fan of action scenes in general but even one who is I would think would consider this excessive. It did not help that I just did not like the characters.

The author, however, does turn a phrase rather well at times. The majority of the compelling writing and characterization for me as a reader came in the beginning. I also appreciated that the author used some higher brow wording than many paranormals I have read.

It was as if his father had cracked him open, to examine all the faults that lay within. As if they were no more than so many twisted, degenerate pearls before one pompous, vainglorious swine.

The following passage I felt conveyed the feeling prey species must endure often if not constantly. I rather felt this was a mature, thoughtful sentiment expressed by Catherine, one of the reasons I initially thought her older in the beginning.

The Prey alarms went off a lot while she was outside. Every time a car whizzed by or a shadow passed overhead; every time a loud noise sounded with no discernible cause; every second of every day, that little voice nattering at her, flooding her nervous system with adrenaline, as it was so certain it was about to die.

There were a few of editing issues, such as missing words and using "could care less" rather than "couldn't care less" (one of my pet peeves).

Overall I would have preferred the main characters to be older, perhaps more likable but that is a personal sentiment. I'm sure this book will work for others, unfortunately it was not for me.