Shifter is the seventh and latest volume in Rowena Portch’s fascinating Spirian Saga. If you haven’t read the earlier novels in the series, I suggest you do, but you can easily get up to speed by reading this one on its own. Portch begins the book with an informative list of characters and a short prologue to catch readers up on what happened in previous books. For those unfamiliar with the series, Spirians are supernatural beings, descended from Angels who came to earth and mated with Faeries, giving them a variety of special powers and gifts that make them superior to humans, although their gifts vary from one individual to another and include telepathy, healing powers, and increased physical strength. The Spirians are also benevolent toward humans and often live among them, even openly with those few they trust. Opposed to the Spirians are the Shadows, descendants of dark Angels who use their abilities for greed, to acquire power, and let’s face it, to be downright evil.
Shifter introduces us to two new characters in the Spirian world. First there is Zebastian, the shifter of the title. Shifters are Spirians with the ability to shift into animals. Zebastian is now a young man, but he has spent his recent life in slavery to Bennet, a Shadow leader whom readers familiar with the series will remember from Portch’s last book Fealty. Bennet, the kind of villain readers love to hate, is seeking to create an army of super shifters from those he has captured and enslaved. Zebastian has managed to escape from Bennet, but the experiments have caused him to have moments of rage. It was during such a moment that he lost control and is believed to have killed his brother Carter. Zebastian’s father blames Zebastian for Carter’s murder and bans him from their tribe. This places Zebastian under the jurisdiction of Khalen, the regional leader of North America.
Khalen and his blind healer wife Skye will be old friends to most readers. In Shifter, they now have two grown daughters who are ready to mate. Daughter Shaiya is quite promiscuous, but Kaili is uninterested in mating, especially since the man she thought would be hers was uninterested in her because she was not sexually experienced — even though it is supposedly an honor to be the man who takes a female Spirian’s virginity. In short, Kaili now has a chip on her shoulder toward men, but she has also been having visions of a special man who will come into her life.
Meanwhile, Bennet is plotting against Khalen’s family and Kaili is one of his intended victims. Khalen soon asks Zebastian to protect Kaili, but although Zebastian fits the descriptions of the man from Kaili’s visions, Kaili is hostile toward him, refusing to accept him as her future mate.
The plot thickens as Bennet continues his evil machinations. Added to the story is that Kaili’s brother Zhentu is missing and Zebastian has been called upon to help find him. Zebastian’s father has not gotten over the rage he feels over Zebastian supposedly killing Carter. Before it’s all over, there will be more than one showdown in which Zebastian will have to prove himself.
Portch keeps the pace moving, the plot thickening, the characters fighting, arguing, and loving to the last page. Shifter, like all the Spirian Saga, is a refreshing new take on paranormal fiction, using several elements from other supernatural tales, but adding new twists to them. The books are better written than the Twilight novels, and Portch’s world is just as complicated and entrancing as Meyer’s. Furthermore, Portch began writing her novels long before Twilight was published. These stories are also more adult than the Harry Potter series. Portch’s characters feel like real people, and despite their supernatural abilities, they are very human in their emotions, behaviors, wants, and needs.
I welcome this seventh book in the Spirian saga, and I look forward to book eight. I can’t wait to watch Zebastian and Kaili’s relationship progress further.
For more information about Rowena Portch, Shifter, and the Spirian Saga, visit the author’s website.