Over a hundred years ago, scientists, while searching for new ways to combat degenerative diseases and other deadly illnesses, discovered how to combine both animal and human DNA to create an entirely new form of humanity: Ge-Mi. These indivuduals carried with them the strengths and superior senses of their animal blood, as well as the intelligence and awareness of their human minds.
It did not take long for unsavory people to develop this idea into turning these new people into weapons. The resulting wars fractured society and left humanity and Ge-Mi with an unhappy and unstable peace. Kingdoms and countries fell, leaving behind city-states ruled with iron fists by the lords and ladies — and their armies — strong enough to hold them.
Nevada is a Ge-Mi living in a the city of Kensey, ruled by Lord Reyes. He hides his ears and tail beneath baggy clothes and head-scarves, knowing that if his secret were discovered he might be left homeless, jobless, or even worse. Even with this, Nevada is happy with is life. He likes his work in the cafe. He likes his boss and his apartment, and he spends his nights rescuing lost and feral cats, finding them homes when and where he can.
An attack on the neighboring shop by a pack of hyenas brings the wolves into the cafe, searching for the perpetrators of this crime. The wolves, like the hyenas, are Ge-Mi and they are sworn to the protection of the city, working as a combination police and guard force. The alpha of the pack is Taylor Reyes, grandson of Lord Reyes and heir to the city.
Unlike Nevada and other Ge-Mi, Taylor has never had to hide what he is. Where many of his kind have been raised in orphanages or hidden in society by their parents as Nevada was, Taylor has been raised with the same rights and privileges of any human. Where Nevada walks with caution, Taylor walks with pride. Taylor is interested in the man who smells like cats. Very interested. Nevada, like many cats, has a native caution where it comes to dogs who prefer to chase and bite. And yet, there’s something about Taylor that makes Nevada feel … different. You know what they say about curiosity and cats.
This book is, in a word, adorable. Nevada and Taylor might not be a purfect couple, but they come close! When interacting with one another, the canine and feline inspirations are evident. Nevada prefers to watch from a height while Taylor wants an immediate confrontation. Nevada is more reserved, more cautious, and the few times he’s forced to fight, he does so in a very feline manner.
At first glance — and at first read — this book may seem light and shallow, but the world building involved is actually quite subtle. Nevada is half snow leopard on his father’s side, which gives him some rather inhuman abilities. Snow leopards have an amazing jumping skill, and so does Nevada. And, like cats, he spends a good portion of his free time worried about and taking care of grooming. Taylor, as a wolf Ge-Mi, may have speed and strength and finer senses, but he can’t quite make the same jumps Nevada can, even with a running start. Because wolves can’t make the same jumps a cat could. And while Nevada may have a feline’s taste for fish, it doesn’t mean he can’t and won’t eat normal foods.
While other Ge-Mi were introduced, they were in brief scenes where their talents and animal behaviors weren’t able to be showcased. But as this is the first book in a series, I’m confident we’ll see more owls, hyenas, and who knows what else! It’s refreshing to see the research and thought that has gone into creating the Ge-Mi, to making them their own creatures and not simply watered down werewolves or superhuman half-breeds.
Not every wolf-man needs to have amazing strength, so long as he’s a character worth reading about. And Nevada, with his subtle snark and intelligent observations, is a character worth getting to know better. I can’t wait for the sequel!