Animal by Nikki Rae
Release Date: February 28, 2015
Genre: Adult, Paranormal
Source: I received a review copy, from the author via Xpresso Book Tours, in exchange for an honest review
Rating: 3.5 Bookworms
Ava has spent her life running from the monsters that lurk in the shadows, always the prey. She finally thinks she can settle down, have a normal life, and work on not being so scared of the world around her. That is until she runs into her worst fear.
He has finally found the potential family he has always wanted. All he has to do is make his little bird sing. Will Ava escape with her humanity intact?
Animal started out very slowly. The setup was slow. I did understand the necessity of the details once I got further into the story, but it did make me worry initially. While it did eventually capture and hold my interest, the pace never gained any speed.
Ava is a young woman who grew up knowing about vampires. After losing her parents as a teen, she spent her life on the run. She never knew exactly what she was running from but she suffered debilitating anxiety and panic attacks over it. While she lived in a particular location, with her cousin, Toni, she worked at pet stores. Ava had a real affinity for animals - especially birds. When we first meet Ava, she seems rather weak. We watch her suffer from panic attacks, lean on her cousin, and basically stand in the shadows. So it was fascinating to see her be strong, plot and execute plans, and struggle to hold onto her humanity once certain events occurred.
Michael first met Ava when she was a young girl. Her parents worked at integrating vampires into human society. They refused to help him. He has a long and sordid history. As we get acquainted with him, we learn about the ill-effects an upbringing can have. Michael was a character I loathed and yet, at times, I was able to feel empathy towards him. He's a character you want to pick apart, climb inside, and figure out the inner workings of his mind. But he will also scare you - make you want to hide under the covers.
Evan was a great anti-hero, of sorts. He played a crucial role in everything that happened to Ava, both good and bad. And I still can't bring myself to hold the bad against him. He evoked more sympathy from me over his trials and tribulations that Michael did. I genuinely felt there was a good person in him.
Rae's character development is what eventually won me over - kept me captivated. I liked the parallels she drew between Ava and Michael's canary. The dynamics between all the characters was interesting. It was only the pacing, which seemed plodding, and the switch between first person and third person narrative that took away from my enjoyment. (although I think the narrative switch makes sense)
Overall, I liked Animal once I became more invested in the characters. I will certainly read Rae again.