Rating: 2.5 stars
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As a cat, Aloysius is the most powerful witch’s familiar. Without any real power of his own, Al boosts the power of the two witches he watches over and protects, Killian and Sammy. When a fierce battle ends with Al being knocked unconscious by a strong bolt of energy, everything changes for him. When Al wakes up in a closet in a veterinarian’s office, he has no memories of who he is, only that his name is Alain Bellarose, and he has the feeling that he has a very important job to see to…if only he could remember what it is.
Veterinarian Luke Elliott has been hiding for so long he’s not really sure how to do anything else. When he finds a young naked man in the boarding room of his clinic, he’s taken aback by his beauty. Luke offers to help the man find out who he is. But the more time Luke spends with Alain, the more he never wants him to leave.
As each day passes, Alain remembers a little more of his past life, but it never seems to match up to the man he is now and his feeling that he is needed for something important. And with each day that passes, the relationship between Alain and Luke grows into something formidable. When Luke’s past comes back to haunt both him and Alain, he thinks it could be the end of the world. But the likely end of his world comes when Alain realizes his true identity and Luke discovers a world of witches he never dreamed existed. In a time of danger and stress, Alain finds his friends and charges in need of Aloysius. Now Alain must make a choice: to stay with the man he loves and risk the people he’s bound to protect, or to choose the life of the cat familiar, living without the man he loves.
I’m not really sure where to begin. I’ll be honest. This book was not for me, which was disappointing because I liked the first two books in Tara Lain’s Aloysius Tales series, but Cataclysimic Shift lacked the charisma and entertainment of the others in this series.
So to start off, I would recommend you read the books in this series in order or the world may not be as big as intended. The world building in this series happens mostly in the first two books. Outside of the fact that Aloysius is a witch’s familiar and the witches from the previous two books use their magic, this story is more the human side of this world. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of magic, but it’s a different aspect of what is seen in the other books and wouldn’t make a lot of sense without the previous world building.
I like both of these characters, but they both have characteristics that annoy me to no end. I like that Luke has built himself into a man stronger than he believes himself capable. He’s kind and supportive. Alain is sweet and innocent, seemingly naïve, but not so much. He’s got the greatest heart, always willing to help and protect those he considers family. As characters they are good, but it’s their quirks that get to me.
First, Luke’s constant repetition of “shitfire” drove me crazy throughout the book. I thought it was a new way to swear at first, so if didn’t bother me so much, but then it was constant, all the time, like he didn’t know any more swear words. I was over it. Second, the pet names. This is not exclusive to only Luke and Alain, it’s a problem with every couple in the book. If a couple had pet names for one another, they only used that name while talking. They never called their husband/boyfriend/partner anything other than darling/kitten/baby. And finally, Alain. I get that he hasn’t been human in centuries, but the way he talks throughout the book is bordering on child-like. I got it at the beginning, but I was hoping as the character progressed, his speech would as well, especially as his memory gradually came back to him.
The story was decent, but all over the place. There are so many storylines that plot holes are inevitable, and yes, I noticed a couple. The writing in this story is merely okay. I wasn’t impressed only because at times the speech seemed so formal (especially between Killian and Blaine), and other times it was bordering on sleezy/creepy (Reuben), and then other times it felt like the author was going for a film noir feel (Nicky). I couldn’t get a fix on what type of story the author was trying to present with the writing. This story is also a good example of a little too much tell and not enough show. I just didn’t feel a connection with this story the way I did with the previous installments.
As you can probably tell, Cataclysmic Shift was not my favorite book. The characters were the only highlight I found in this story, and even they had their downfalls. The story was okay, but unfocused with too much going on at once. I am a fan of this series, and I’m glad that Aloysius finally got his own story, but I’m disappointed with the execution. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t read another book in the series if Lain were to write a fourth, but I don’t anticipate reading this one again.