08 October 2010

Review: Jacqueline Barbary - Savage Sanctuary

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Author: Jacqueline Barbary
On sale date: Jun 21, 2010
Category: Gay/Lesbian
eISBN: 9781426890215
Book Origin: Personal e-Library

Cover Summary;
Sexy bad boy shapeshifter Michael O'Dare grew up on the streets. When government soldiers finally captured and imprisoned him, he became a collared slave, never again allowed to be human. His escape allowed him to return to human form and head for freedom in the Western Territories.

Robert Hamilton-Scott had lived by the code "You're careful, or you're caught" for too long to take chances now. The one risk he takes in his carefully controlled life is offering temporary shelter to shifters on the run like Michael.

Robert knows it's definitely not safe to want the sexy renegade he's giving sanctuary to—passion is dangerous for a shapeshifter. As the soldiers close in he must choose between the careful life he's built or life on the run with the man who has captured his heart.

My Review: Michael O’Dare is a shape shifter rescued from the longest captivity in a government facility. He’s brought to the Hamilton-Scott sanctuary which is part of a network to free captured shifters. Robert Hamilton-Scott takes care of Michael as he recovers from his horrific ordeal but never expected to feel such a connection to another man. However, it doesn’t take long for trouble to knock on Roberts’s door.

SAVAGE SANCTUARY by Jacqueline Barbary is my first read from this author and it was an enjoyable one but with flaws. I don’t know if the author is going for more stories set in this world but I sincerely hope so because the battle between the government creating shape shifters and the Rebellion counter-acting them holds enough intrigue for me to hope for a more thorough exploration of this set-up. The three things that really stood out in this novella was the fiery combustion between the two men, which ignited quick and fiery. The plot, which contained enough intriguing facts to keep my attention and the character development of Robert that held an interesting twist.

One of the elements that really underwhelmed me though was the characterization of Michael. He endured gruesome and debasing testing in a government facility, he is a gangster by origin, and he supposed to be feral, savage and dangerous. I expected a mountain lion, growling and roaring, but by his actual description and behavior I got a kitty-cat instead. From the moment Michael opened his eyes he never lashed out, there were never big trust issues that gave struggles between him and Robert or a danger emanating from him that instantly put me on edge. Michael fell quite easily for Robert and albeit at first it was very sexual driven, emotions were eventually a part of the interaction.

Robert Hamilton-Scott was every bit a caring beta man who had to discover his own strength and potential. His character growth is what I enjoyed from the start. His family history and his way of life is very much a part of who he is. He was so single minded on what he was taught that he actually forgot to explore his own self. To see him come in to his own contained a promise of what this author can do within the range of a novella and I look forward to more of this in her storytelling.

Something that was rather confusing was the working of the shape shifting itself. Those with the ability to shape shift physically leave their human body behind to take an animal form. Every time such a shape shift was described I crunched my brain where their human bodies would go. If the body ceases to exist, how does it get to be claimed later again? Does the physical body completely disappear? And if so, where does it remain? Many questions that didn’t get much answer within the story and it just didn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense to me which threw me out of the story.

The voice of Jacqueline Barbery is easy to absorb and many pages were devoted to the simmering attraction between Michael and Robert. The romance contained a quick pace where the feelings, the pull of the sexual attraction, created some erotic charged moments. The plot fueled the story with some risky moments that made both men realize they had something more going on besides that chemistry. All in all Michael and Robert fit together, they draw out the best in each other and give challenge where it is needed. The story heads towards a tension filled ending where I found my interest piqued for where this battle is going. I think this story arc can deliver some wonderful novellas with hopefully some overall stronger characterization and world building.

While I’m not wow-ed by Jacqueline Barbary’s SAVAGE SANCTUARY it did contain enough promise with its sensuality and premise of the Government versus Rebellion that I’m interested in future stories set in this world.

3 stars

Quote Robert:
Robert forgot the bowl in his hands for long moments; then he got grumpy for having been so easily distracted by Michael’s sexy walk, by the smooth flow of muscles beneath his clothes, by the way his hair shone in the sun.
Rock star?
Fallen angel?
Hard to accept, but “his” rang truer than the rest.
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  1. Great review, dear! Isn't always interesting to see how each author approaches the way that the 'shifting' takes place? At the AAD conference there were a couple of panels that got into discussions on this. Many of the readers and authors discussed how everyone takes a different approach, but at the same time, many questions as too the science behind it, still remain no matter what. Some of the authors even admitted (which I totally applauded)to not having all the answers to their own character's abilities. It does seem odd? different? to leave the body behind like in this book. My brain would have been constantly battling the 'how' too!

  2. Those boys on the cover are too pretty for. *wink*

  3. Great review, and I must agree with VFG, those are some pretty men on that cover ;)

  4. I think I've managed to burn myself out on shifter books *big sigh* I need to be wowed these days. Buuuut it is m/m which means KC must read!

  5. I will join the girls: this cover is hot. And I have to agree with you.: this shifting sounds weird. O_o Perhaps the little scientist in us wants to know all the facts.

  6. Yes, this cover DEFINITELY caught my eye! I was all set to add this to my TBR Wish list after reading the first part of your review, but the questions you bring up are valid and would drive me insane. I think I'll put this on the "to watch out for" list and see if there is a follow up novel. THANKS!


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