Rating: 5 stars out of 5
This isn’t the life Cole dreamt of, but what choice does he have?
With his twenty-third birthday behind him, Cole Moreton now faces the shifter compatibility test which will decide his future. Testing positive means joining a pack and eventually taking the bite. Unfortunately, with enviable skills in self-defence and hand-to-hand combat, the kind of packs interested in him aren’t any he’d want to join.
Logan has been a member of the McKillen pack for most of his life. Pack is family and loyalty is everything, but when the shifter government turns out to be no better than the oppressive humans before them, he questions everything.
Right from their first meeting, Logan knows that a life with the McKillan pack isn’t right for Cole, but with his alpha taking a keen interest in Cole’s skills, Logan’s hands are tied. Mutual attraction builds between them, but acting on it is futile—helping Cole will put their lives at risk and an end to any future they could’ve had.
What an unexpected turn from Annabelle Jacobs! A grab you by the seat of your pants, white knuckle, hair raising ride of a shifter story but just not in keeping with the wonderful were universe the author had previously created for her Regents Park Pack series. That was a much more benign universe, shared with multiple species that had learned to coexist together.
Not here. Not in Escape (Rebellion #1) by Annabelle Jacobs. No, right from the Prologue, we are offered a bleak dystopian picture of species at war. At first we get a glimpse of the human treatment of weres under a human government, the type to trigger a war and rebellion. Then only to see the wolfshifers replaced it with exactly the same or worse structure, giving and regarding humans much the same as they themselves had been treated. Only wolf/were pack structure and culture make their domination all the worse, especially given their power and healing abilities.
The world building is simply superb. From immediately setting the tone and resentment and initially putting the reader on the wolves side, we are then flipped over and see where the results of that scene carried that man into history and the impact its still having on society and both species around him. It’s an unrelentingly grim atmosphere, the moments of levity (mostly around a pet cat) few in the beginning and gone completely thereafter.
I will tell you now if you are looking for fun and lightheartedness in your story, this novel is not for you. And while it is a love story, at the moment it’s definitely not even a romance. It’s a race for survival.
What Jacobs introduces along with her vulnerable, easy to connect to character of Cole Moreton, is a increasing feeling of dread and suspense. He feels it and we absorb it. The characters around him voice it as the date of the mandatory “testing” arrives. A Shifter draft as it were that no one escapes from unless you have the wrong stuff. Which Cole definitely does not. As the author let us learn Cole, love him and his family, she binds him further with narrative cords of chilling suspense about his future with a pack that the more we learn about the more it scares us…and him.
The one caught between? Logan, a shifter from the McKillen Pack that seems to rule London, wants Cole badly for themselves and has set Logan up at his recruiter, the one to tell Cole he can’t say no to the Pack.
And Logan has just as many facets to him as you could hope for and is almost in as ugly a position as Cole. Or maybe a worse one. Because the attraction sparks between them, one that either way can never happen. Especially as Logan knows what will happen to Cole once he is inside his pack.
And our own insides clench tighter. The suspense and tension ratchets higher, and oh, is the writing incredible.
There is no resolution here in this story. When it ends, if anything, the future for them all looks to be bleeker, grittier and uncertain. Their goals set higher. Cole and Logan know how they feel about each other but will they be together?
It’s hard to tell how the author will frame out this series. Will this couple be the main couple in each story? It’s looking like that has to be the path forward because the stakes are so high, but there are others here so deserving of their stories too. And mates.
And the journey to a new rebellion. Will it be long or short? Can I take the suspense which is already killing me now? lol
Did I have fun reading this novel? No. Did I love reading this story? Absolutely. I was caught up in the world, the characters, their flight for survival , and their cause immediately. The writing is spectacular, the characters layers, and I honestly don’t have a clue where Jacobs is going with this but I am going to follow each step of the way.
If you love shifters, suspense, and what will be an incredible love story, this is the book and I suspect the series for you.
Cover art: Natasha Snow. What a powerful cover. That is Logan in every way.
Kindle Edition, 319 pages
Published August 20th 2019