Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Stalker Kai Gracen knew his human upbringing would eventually clash with his elfin heritage, but not so soon. Between Ryder, a pain-in-his-neck Sidhe Lord coaxing him to join San Diego’s Southern Rise Court, and picking up bounties for SoCalGov, he has more than enough to deal with. With his loyalties divided between the humans who raised him and the Sidhe Lord he’s befriended and sworn to protect, Kai finds himself standing at a crossroads.
When a friend begs Kai to rescue a small group of elfin refugees fleeing the Dusk Court, he’s pulled into a dangerous mission with Ryder through San Diego’s understreets and the wilderness beyond. Things go from bad to downright treacherous when Kerrick, Ryder’s cousin, insists on joining them, staking a claim on Southern Rise and Kai.
Burdened by his painful past, Kai must stand with Ryder against Kerrick while facing down the very Court he fears and loathes. Dying while on a run is expected for a Stalker, but Kai wonders if embracing his elfin blood also means losing his heart, soul, and humanity along the way.
In a series that by turns has been dark, gritty, wondrous, and wild in the previous stories, Jacked Cat Jive has me gobsmacked with it’s , dare I say it, jacked up gloriously layered plot, the multiple story threads running and twisting and turning each pulling your attention this way and that, while the author carefully weaves a vivid complicated tapestry that will pull them all back together into a stunning whole.
It’s a stunning series, grounded in a warped universe where dragons fly over cracked highways, elven palaces grow themselves, and the peace between humans and non is tentative at best in a world where neither quite understands the new laws of nature and reality can buckle along with the ground.
If someone would ask me what are my favorite elements, I couldn’t tell them, because there are far too many. From the world building to the characters and the weirdly complicated, often twisted relationships. This is a harsh landscape, not only of land but of the mind and soul. And Rhys Ford gives us the same tortured, determined, and incredibly real beings that now inhabit it.
Kai Gracen has undergone many changes since , the first story in the series, Black Dog Blues. He’s grown, learned more about his past, accepted responsibilities ,j and given much thought as to what his genetic pool makes him as a person. It’s a journey of self that continues, along with his relationship with Ryder, the High Lord of the Southern Rise Court (Mad Lizard Mambo (Kai Gracen #2). Talk about your slow burn! They haven’t even kissed yet! And it’s book three!
This story is so crammed full of high adventure, suspense, breathtaking hijinks and political manipulations of all sorts along with the just ol pull at your heart emotions that this author never forgets is needed as the heart that holds it all together. It’s the perfect combination of them all and I couldn’t stop reading once I started, I think I ended somewhere around 3 am.
We are introduced to new characters even as we brace to let old ones go. Ford breaks our hearts even as she prepares us for further attachments and excitement to come. Really this is my favorite story in the series yet. And that is saying something. Because this series is already full of favorites.
The writing is tight and flows like a fast moving river. The characters are both real and fantastical, flawed and incredibly moving. And the universe building, which continues to evolve, is absolutely stunning.
If you love urban fantasy, here is a series for you. But they are not standalone stories but should be read in the order they are written. Already I’m primed for the next in the series. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Kai, Ryder, and everyone they care for.
I highly recommend this and all the stories listed below. Stay tuned
Cover Artist: Chris McGrath. I like the cover, Bright, colorful although not quite as edgy nor my idea of Kai.
Kindle Edition, 253 pages
Expected publication: March 5th 2019 by DSP Publications
Edition Language English
Series Kai Gracen #3
Mad Lizard Bites(.05)