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Forbes Mates Series
The Forbes Mate series by Grace Duncan is a paranormal set of stories featuring different types of shifters—from wolves to jaguars. While the stories intersect somewhat in terms of characters, each story could be read as a standalone, if needed, and features different characters but this set is best read as a connected series. All the stories are based on the same pack—and most of the mates are found in either different packs, the human world and in one case an entirely different species. A few of the books had a nicely developed mystery element to it and all of them were about discovering your destined mate. It was fascinating to read about this shifter world in which there were destined mates (those fate brought together through no choice of their own) and chosen mates. This idea that a mate was out there for each of the men highlighted in these stories made it interesting to see just how the author would mix that up and make it a different kind of journey for each of her main characters.
While I felt all the stories were good, there were two that stood out most to me. The first was book three, Acceptance, featuring the bisexual Dr. Miles Grant and his soon to be mate, Quincy Archer who happened to be a jaguar shifter and, in essence, a prince and heir to his pack. I really enjoyed watching these two come together. The mystery element in this story was the strongest and honestly so was the humor that was present throughout the novel. While Quincy’s French accent was problematic, I felt it was also a critical part of who he was and provided some of the more funny passages.
The other strong book, in my opinion, was number four—Forgiveness. Way back in book one a character and what happened with his mate were referenced as the reason that Tanner was so reluctant to claim Finlay as his mate while he was still a teenager with limited life experiences. That wolf was Eric and his mate—a female—broke their chosen bond and nearly destroyed Eric who took to his wolf form and basically disappeared. In Forgiveness he is back and terrified to realize that there is actually a second chance at happiness in the form of a new wolf to the Forbes pack—Ben. Honestly this was the slowest burning romance in the group and also the sweetest. Yes, there was no doubt an overabundance of angst and yes, there could have been some editing here to make the story tighter but still, the redemption for both of these characters was so needed and deserving I overlooked some flaws that otherwise slowed the story down a bit.
From the beginning book, Devotion to the last, Forgiveness I must say that one factor stood out for me—all of these novels could have been shortened, in my opinion. The base story in each was really good but getting to the meat of the story sometimes just took too long with too many passages feeling as though they were reworked from previous ideas already presented earlier in the story. Honestly I think this series would have really shined as a series of novellas rather than four long novels and a short story, Hope, tacked on to the end. I also think the author’s ability to write a unique shifter story excelled the more she wrote about the pack—hence my choices for the best of the four. I loved that the writing got better as the series went on—a sign of a writer who is really paying attention to their craft.
All in all, the Forbes Mate shifter series is well worth the read if you are a paranormal fan and enjoy a bit of angst with your romance. The added elements of mystery (in two of the novels) and the humor found in the third one really made for a pleasant trip into a fascinating shifter world lovingly created by a great storyteller.
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