Rating: 5 stars
Domin Thorne should be on top of the world. He is the semel-aten, the leader of the werepanther world, ruler of the city Sobek in Egypt, the capital of the werepanthers. At his side are his new mate, Yuri the former shersuru of Logan Church as well as Mikail, Crane, and Taj from his former tribe, courtesy of Logan and Jin who knew it was crucial to have people he trusted around him as he began his rule.
But the tasks before him are even more formidable than he had imagined. The old priest who supported him has died, and the new priest is intent on undermining his authority. Crane is homesick and both Yuri and Mikail are not acting like themselves. And Domin finds himself short tempered, and impatient with the pace of change in the rules and regulations he wants implemented. Then his ex shows up just as a servant tries to kill him, and Yuri goes on a goodwill mission that turns deadly, and faced with his loss, Domin realizes that he truly loves Yuri, the only one to love him deeply and forever.
As his enemies gather all around him, Domin must prove to himself and all of Sobek that he is truly the semel-aten Logan believes he can be if he is to save those he loves and the werepanther world so desperately in need of change.
I hope that Mary Calmes intends to continue this series because with each book, it gets stronger, more deeply layered and complex. Crucible of Fate picks up after the events of Honored Vow, and the fight in the arena between Domin and the former semel aten, Ammon, a circumstance planned by Logan. Now in Sobek, the werepanther capital city in Egypt, we are given a Domin in crisis mode, inside and out. Everything has changed for Domin and it is overwhelming him on every front. Domin has a mate in Yuri and it is so new for them both that neither has adjusted to their new status. Yuri has always loved Domin, but Domin’s feelings for Yuri are still so brand new, bringing with them a measure of insecurity. Logan gave permission for several close members of his tribe to go with Domin to insure his safety and to insure he would have people around him he could trust but none of them are acting like themselves. Even the goals he wants to set for change within their society seem to distant to enact. Mary Calmes gives us this wonderfully volatile man puts him down within an equally volatile framework and lets the explosions start to happen.
The author places characters we have come to love into situations where their interpersonal relationships must expand and grow to their potential or all will be lost. And it’s not just Domin who must change, but Crane, Mikhail, Yuri and the entire court of Sobek. It’s wonderful because we get to see the start of a social revolution but from the person’s view point who is planning it all. Just a lovely touch. As this author has done in the past, she takes the facts she has given us and then uses them to turn everything we know on its head by the end of the story. All the little twists and turns she throws into the story takes Domin into a place I did not see coming, and I loved that.
And it’s not just the wonderful characterizations that greet us like old friends, but the vivid descriptions of Egypt, from the palace to the catacombs that help the reader visualize each and every scene our beloved werepanthers find themselves in. But no matter how wonderful the settings (and they have been outstanding, especially Mongolia), it is the characters that continue to bring all of us back for more. I never thought I would come to love Domin as I do when I initially met him. Then he was a bully, and a bit of a thug, deserving of a smackdown, which he got and then some. But over the series, we have watched Domin evolve into a man of honor, worthy of both respect and love. One of the true pleasures of this story, is Domin and Yuri’s story, watching their relationship deepen, strengthen and finally reveal itself as one between true mates. It is just so rewarding and satisfying, I can’t wait for you to experience it yourself.
In fact you won’t find a quibble here. Just the plea for another book. Ilia, Jin and Logan’s son is introduced here, and while not giving you any spoilers, let’s just say he is worthy of his own series. Crane has a wedding coming up, and so much more is on the horizon for them all that their story cries out to be heard (yes, that would be Danny’s voice we hear). So here I am keeping my fingers crossed and hoping the future will bring us more in the Change of Heart series. Until then I will return to the beginning and start over with Jin and Logan. Don’t miss out on any of them.
Here are the books in the series in the order they were written and should be read to understand the characters and the events that occur:
Change of Heart (Change of Heart #1)
Trusted Bond (Change of Heart #2)
Honored Vow (Change of Heart #3)
Crucible of Fate (Change of Heart #4)