Prey - Andrea Speed This is made up of two novellas; Book 1 - Infected 3 stars. Book 2 - Prey 4 stars. Overall 3.5 stars.

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This is an Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance and Crime Thriller, really focused more on the mystery element than the romance. However, it was the complexities and the great characterization that was the driving force behind the story.

This book is a very different, unique and a more intelligent interpretation of how humans become shape shifters and as this is an m/m novel, I found it interesting that the author used the same infection process of the disease, as that of the AIDs virus, transferred by bodily fluids through blood and sex. The infected victims also being dogged by the same hysteria and pariah status in the population as those of the AIDs virus, especially towards the gay community as this was also thought to be the origin of the infection....but of course, this is fiction and the infected take on a variety of forms from the cat family, however the cat has no attachment to his human form during the change and kills indiscriminately on instinct alone. This change is no fluffed up beautiful Hollywood transformation either, it is brutal in the intense pain suffered by the victims, some not surviving the broken bones and trauma to the body alone, never mind the gangs of vigilantes and religious freaks intent of ridding the world of this scourge.

Roan has grown up with the hatred, scorn and suspicion of 'his kind'. He is different, he was born with the virus and suffered because of it. Growing up as a ward of state, in and out of foster homes he was only too aware of the prejudice and fear of the ignorant. To them he was a diseased freak and learned to fight hard to defend himself from an early age...alone in a world that thinks of him an abomination.

When Roan meets Paris he is close to death, in complete meltdown having lost the will to live and burdened with the guilt of realising he had killed during the change. Paris is infected with the Tiger virus, the fiercest and deadliest of all the strains. As a Tiger he is capable of killing whole families with no recollection, it is also the strain with the highest mortality, where the victims die young, if they can get through the first transition at all.

I liked how this was different to normal romance novels, for as we meet our two MC's they are already in an established relationship, happy and comfortable, despite being total opposites on everything apart from the deep love and affection they share, their warped, wacky and snarky sense of humour and of course the virus that rules their existence.

I am so very glad the publishers/author combined the two novellas in one book, as I found the first a slow struggle, at times drifting and loosing interest through the cluttered descriptions, world building and characterization, some of which was lost and wasted as it wasn't pertinent to the future plot. I just couldn't seem to get a grip on the story, which was also challenging as there were two investigations ongoing! It was information overload!

This was mostly told from Roans POV and at times his inner musings were completely random...a small thread of information, taking him off in a different direction, only to return to the task at hand! In the first book I would have liked more interaction between Roan and Paris, Roan seemed to spend most of his time with and conversing with his former colleague and friend on the force Gordo, who by the way is just one of many great characters but I just wanted more of the beautiful and charming Paris who is also manipulative! this is repeated on numerous occasions unnecessarily.

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The writing in this book is excellent and I understand the stigma attached to first novels, with lots of world building which I know is essential for the future series, but I just felt that perhaps she was trying to hard, at 30% if I were a DNF kind of person, I would have given up...so thank goodness I am not!....as I would have missed the second novella where the author completely redeemed herself. This had more action, flowed smoothly and we actually got to see more of the relationship between our main characters. So in the end I thoroughly enjoyed the second book and will definitely read the rest of the series.