Title: Draw One in the Dark
Author: Sarah Hoyt
Series: Shifters #1
Kyrie Smith had carved out a nice, normal life for herself working at a diner. And then she heard the scream, and found Tom, her coworker, shifted to a dragon and standing over a corpse. She’d never suspected he was a shifter—or that her “hallucinations” about turning into a black panther were no dream at all. Now she’s in the middle of a spat between Tom and a criminal group of dragon-shifters, corpses are multiplying at an alarming rate, and a handsome police officer is complicating her life.
This book is a good introduction to a fascinating world of shifters who live alongside normal humans. And, in a rare twist, they’re actually born into normal families for the most part and only find out they can shift when they hit adolescence. This makes any “society” among shifters hard to come by, as most of them don’t even know there are others until much later, if at all. I liked the world, and how shifters weren’t limited to the usual and expected. Having the book start out with dragon shapeshifters is a nice touch.
The point of view shifts frequently, though the scene breaks help keep this straight. This helps flesh out Tom and Kyrie more, particularly when they both react to the same event with false assumptions. It’s nice to see both of them as they struggle to decide if they want to trust the other, because otherwise one or the other would come off as unreasonable. I liked Kyrie for being level-headed and practical even when she had a clear crush situation going on. She’s responsible enough to deny herself, or at least hold back enough to validate whether her feelings and reality were on the same page. I liked Tom for being understated—he gets things done without showing off, and Kyrie is mostly clever enough to notice those little gestures. I even liked Rafiel for being mostly true to his duty and trying to find the least-bad path through a murky situation (although when he gets slapped, he totally deserves it). And Keith was a pleasant surprise, even if he felt like a bit of a plot device in a few places because he hadn’t gotten the level of background the other characters do.
I sort of like the romance. There’s too much description around either Tom or Rafiel (particularly the latter) being attractive to Kyrie in some places, and I’m never a fan of love triangles, but this one doesn’t triangulate so badly I want to kill everyone involved (which is what usually happens). But it’s easy to want Kyrie and Tom to work out, even when all of their personal issues seem insurmountable.
The book can also be unexpectedly funny. My favorite moment, where I had to put the book down because I was laughing so hard, is when the dragon-shifters prove their beast-minds can’t tell the difference between a lion and a panther. (And that Tom ALSO falls for it makes it doubly good.)
Overall this was a fun little story, with a good setup for adventures to come. It’s also currently free on Amazon for Kindle, so it’s worth grabbing just to check out. I rate this book Recommended.