Friday, April 30, 2010

Wild Rain by Christine Feehan

Wild Rain (Leopard People, #2) Wild Rain by Christine Feehan

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Although it had a little bit of a slow start, Wild Rain turned out to be another winner for me. I can see how Christine Feehan's writing style doesn't work for everyone. She is very wordy. But I like that she really puts a lot of detail into descriptions of the setting and the feelings of the characters. It adds to the atmosphere and the emotional intensity of her stories, which is why she's a favorite of mine.

Ah, the jungle descriptions. Simply gorgeous. I wanted to be there, so bad, except for the humidity and the nasty bugs (which she doesn't describe other than mosquitos). But all the plant life, the birds, the small mammals, the primates, and the big and small cats. It sounded like heaven to this animal and nature lover. And it was crucial to bring you into Rio's world: savage, yet beautiful.

At first, I wasn't sure what to make of Rachael. She was very guarded, very closed-off. Soon, I came to realize that this was a very important part of her self-defense. As the story unfolds, you realize just why Rachael has made a lifetime out of isolating and withdrawing herself, not allowing herself to feel deeply and to become involved with anyone or anything.

Rio, in contrast, is described as a man who feels his emotions deeply and honestly. He's not a crybaby or anything like that. No, he feels what he feels. He's not about denying things to himself to be tough. He deals with the lousy, and puts it into perspective. He was exiled from his people for an action he willingly committed. He is a loner, with few friends (only the men in his unit), and no one to love him. I loved that he was a tough, strong, deadly man, but he could be emotionally honest and available to his woman.

Surprise, surprise when he comes home to find a girl in his house. This part amused me, reminding me of Goldilocks. But there is a violent interaction that leads to Rachael's leg being badly injured by one of Rio's companion clouded leopards (who are as cute as the Dickens). He ends up nursing her, and falling in love with her in the process. I really liked the nursing scenes (probably the medically-trained streak in me).

There is a feeling of deja vu between the couple, as if they loved each other before. This left me a little confused. It wasn't attributed to reincarnation, but it was never explained why they felt that way. Were they merely soulmates who 'foreknew' each other, even to the point in which they knew what it felt like to make love to each other, and what pleased each other intimately? I never got clarification on that. But, it was a small thing, and I just went with it.

I was really pleasantly surprised with the reveal about who Rachael truly was, and her complicated relationship with her brother, Elijah. Pretty dark stuff. Fascinating, really. I don't see too many heroines coming from that background. That's a thing I love about Christine Feehan. She is not afraid of the dark subject matter. And, I think she handles it very well. Can I just say that Elijah was a hot one? He definitely has an antihero vibe along the lines of Rehv from the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Very sexy and dangerous. He was a good counterpoint to Rio, who was also a very dangerous man, but very nurturing and gentle with Rachael, despite or because of his alpha-male tendencies. I'd love to see more of Elijah. He's so tortured. He deserves a happy ending.

Oh, the shapeshifting and cat parts! One of my favored aspects of this book. I am a huge aficionado of big cats. They have the beauty, the elegance, and so much grace, coupled with a lethality that makes them utterly fascinating. I think that Ms. Feehan clearly did a lot of research into the rain forest ecology, and into the species of leopards that she used in this book. It felt very real, and it was interesting, but never came off as disruptive natural history lectures. Being the nerd that I am, I had to look up the various species on Wikipedia, to see pictures of them and learn even more facts. But, yes, I truly enjoyed the cat/shapeshifting parts of the story. It was very well done. This book is on my list of favorites in this genre.

Although I read Burning Wild first, and I still like that one better, because Jake was so darn intense, and it was such a dark journey coupled with a strong, fascinating, beautiful romance; I really did enjoy this book. I can be honest and say that those who don't like certain aspects of Ms. Feehan's writing, will find things to quibble about. She does tend to overuse some words, but not the ones you're probably thinking of right now. And, as I stated earlier on, she is very verbose. I shrug it off. I am used to her writing style, and I go with the flow. I was very entertained with her vivid descriptions of the rain forest, animals, plants, and the beautiful, emotional romance between Rio and Rachael. I think this is an excellent series, and I cannot wait to read more.

Overall rating: 4.5/5.0 stars.

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