OMG!!!! This book was awesome!!!!!! I'm so happy that I "listened" to other fellow members on Goodreads and attempted this series. I am now COMPLETELY AND IRREVOCABLY hooked!!!!
Seriously, I need to fan myself (Raphael, please pass me your folded paper fan...). I now declare that this is officially one of my top 5 most favourite/recommended UF series, and Curran is my most favourite fictional shapeshifter hunk in a male leading role!!!! Holy begeezus, he was so hot that I almost wanted to grab at him and keep him to myself (if I could do it at all physically)!!!!
This book was full of actions and suspense. I loved that many mythical creatures were mentioned in the Games and the fighting scenes were amazing - my heart was beating so fast, hoping and praying that my favourite characters wouldn't get hurt too badly. My heart broke for Derek in this book. He was a good guy with a damaged past, and to see him suffer in this book was truly heartbreaking.
The final round of the Games, in which Kate and team participated, was AWESOME!!! We got to see the team members (comprised of Kate, Curran, Jim, Derek, Raphael, Andrea, and Dali), as well as Dr. Doolittle, work together, strategize together, and support each other with unquestioned faith and loyalty. Their interactions and dialogue while they were locked up in the Games for 3 days were absolutely hilarious and entertaining. I laughed my arse off on several occasions while reading the book, and my husband would look at me as though I had sprouted two heads - and I couldn't even explain to him why I was laughing so hard. There would be times when I wished my hubby would read some of my books (yeah, he's not into the same types of books as I) and this clearly would count as one of those times.
The characters in this series were all so unique and interesting that I loved them all!!! This included those such as weirdo Saiman, Julie the street kid, hottie bouda Raphael, personal-identity-conflicted Andrea, medmage Dr. Doolittle etc... Do I even need to mention about Kate and Curran?!?!? Kate, as a heroine, was very unique in that she knew her mistakes and she knew her weaknesses. Sometimes she wasn't even afraid of admitting her mistakes. She was loyal to her friends and allies, and she could be such a hot-tempered badass!!! I just loved her as a female lead!!! The sexual tension between her and Curran was threaded throughout the entire book and led me on like a puppy on a leash. Their bickering was so hilarious!! I even got some of the quotes memorized now because they really made an impression. I loved the way Curran chose to court her. Normally one would think that the guy was a creep if he started breaking and entering the girl's home without permission, but this was explained away by the fact that some shapeshifters would court their mates like this. It was almost like a flirting game... I personally thought it was more fun to read a book or a series in which the romantic relationship between the female and male leads developed through getting to know each other, working together, going through some difficult actions together, and also spicing it up with some flirting, courting and sexual innuendos. Again, a personal opinion only, I thought this was a much appealing way of portraying character growth and relationship development than "bed hopping" in a typicall romance type of novel. I am really looking forward to more romantic development between them in the next book...
Despite the above, I have to admit that this book was not perfect. There were certain inconsistencies and some parts were actually confusing - I had to go over certain passages a couple of times to understand it better. Nonetheless, in the grand scheme of things, it was so entertaining and refreshing that I thought it was okay to overlook those mistakes. WHO CARES!!!! When a book is that alluring and interesting to read, it truly doesn't matter anymore.
One word - AWESOME!!!!