Berkley, Nov 2009, $15.00
Tava Ell Var has known violence all her life as the offspring of a human female raped by seventeen were-tigers. Her adoptive father, a gentle scribe, showed her kindness while raising her, but marauding bandits murdered him; leaving her alone especially in light of people she has known for years rejecting her. Tava vows vengeance for the only person whoever cared about her.
However, before she can stalk her adversaries, a Shifterai warband led by Kodan Sin Siin kill the outlaws and offer Tava sanctuary with Clan Cat as she is a shapeshifter too. She hesitates well aware of the raping of her mom. She is given no choice as she can be a slave or a free member.
The prequel to the Sons of Destiny saga is an enjoyable romantic fantasy as fans of the series will enjoy the tale of love between shapeshifters. Although not as dramatic as the Sons of Destiny with sudden leaps in the story line, Jean Johnson provides an enjoyable tale in which the romance supersedes the fantasy elements even with a potential she-Tiger who may prove genuine or die as the first female royal shifter in ages.