Having read the first two books in 'The Oddities' series by this author I decided that I'd like to try something different by the same author so when I saw 'Forest of Thorns and Claws' on NetGalley, it was like opportunity was knocking.
I liked the story well enough. It's got a solid plot about conservationist fighting to protect what is suppose to be federally protected land inhabited by rare and endangered species of both flora and fauna and unknown to the world of man it's also the home of a clan of tiger shifters.
Donovan McGinnis is a veterinarian and Conservationist who along with his friend and business partner, Roark run a conservation center in Sumatra. Donovan becomes injured by a tigress when his patrol group rescues her from a poacher's snare. Donovan's life becomes even more complicated as he fights with the bureaucracy of local government to keep even more of 'Gunung Leuser National Forest' from disappearing into the pockets of big business, all while trying to understand his rapidly growing attraction to Kersen a member of the local were-tiger clan and adjust to the reality that he himself is now a were-tiger.
While I really enjoyed the part of the story that dealt with the battle to save the forest I think that if there had been a bit more focus given to the growth and development of the relationship between Kersen and Donovan it would have changed how much I enjoyed the story. I felt like the bond between these two men was meant to be really strong and intense and I just didn't get a sense of this from the story, so from this aspect things just didn't quite come together for me.
Although the book was only an ok read for me at the end of it all. What I really, really want to rave about for a minute here, if you'll just bare with me, is the fact that much of this story is based on real world events and the author has outlined it in the pages immediately following the story, something that I have to admit I read with a lot of interest. I love tigers and other wildcats. Whether it's a lion or a tiger, a cheetah or a jaguar these creatures have a beauty and grace that is incomparable. Needless to say the next thing I knew I was lost in the world of google. Learning things that quite honestly broke my heart...
Things like the fact that there are 5000 tigers in captivity in the United States but there are only an estimated 3,890 tigers living in the wild world wide. There are 9 different sub-species of tigers and 3 of those are extinct. Of the less than 4000 tigers, only an estimated 400 are Sumatran tigers. The Sumatran tiger is not the only tiger sub-species at risk, however, it is currently the most critically endangered.
What I also discovered was that while this seems so hopeless for these beautiful big cats, in 2007 the world population for the Amur Leopard numbered 30...just 30...3-0, that's all that were known to exist and they were in Russia's 'Land of the Leopard National Park'. in 2014 that number was up to 57 plus another 8-12 were found to be living in adjacent areas of China. While this is still such a small and precarious number it gives hope that if we all take responsibility for guardianship of this world this can change for the Sumatran Tiger, the Amur Leopard and so many of the other animals of this world that man's thoughtlessness has endangered.
This is just a small sample of the information that I discovered in my google research that probably never would have happened if I hadn't read this book and any book that motivates me to learn more about the world I live in is a book that I'm glad I read.
So in spite of the fact that this book was only a 3 star read for me. I give this author 5 stars for what motivated them to write this story and for sharing this information with the reader. It's a wonderful reminder that we all need to be conservationist in this world if we want to protect it for future generations.
A copy of "Forest of Thorns and Claws" was graciously provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.