Review: Frozen in Amber by Phyllis Ames

frozen in amberReviewed by Jen

It’s been a while since I’ve read an Urban Fantasy with a were protagonist that has really been able to speak to me. When I read the blurb for this story, I thought it might be reminiscent of Mercy Thompson or something similar. It sounded smart, with good world building, and a chance at romance.  Unfortunately, it had some very serious issues and it left me unsatisfied and a little bit irritated.

Our heroine is Amber, a cougar-shifter who has turned away from who she is as much as she possibly can.  Something Bad happened while she was in her cat form years ago and now she rarely hunts, and never eats meat in her human form. Every once in a while, though, she has to change. It’s what she is. And during her latest hunt, she was targeted by a group of hunters who have done something to her that she doesn’t understand.

Meanwhile, Amber is working as a junior partner in her grandfather’s law firm. She’s representing a questionable client who is developing a serum that can revert a changed-were back to human. It’s a really big deal for the were-council and his acquittal ensures his cooperation. So she is working on his case, navigating some gnarly inter-office politics, while learning more about her own history, and falling for an were-eagle courier.

Like I said, there are big problems: the first being my inability to connect to Amber. She is in her mid-30s and a smart lawyer, but she felt immature. She went through something terrible, yes, but she is petulant. She is self-centered, never bothering to question who the people in her life truly are.  She calls her grandfather, Grumpy, for goodness sakes.

There were string of glaring plot devices and heavy handed foreshadowing, that spoiled the mystery. The villain raised Amber’s hackles from their first meeting. (Actually, there are multiple villains and they are almost caricatures, rather than anything fleshed out, or with any deep motivations.)  The advice she got about dealing with her affliction made no sense. Her doctor treated it like a big deal, but then he wouldn’t come in town for a week to look at it. Amber KNEW something was seriously wrong with her and just ignored it over and over again. It was stupid.

Then there was the romance, though to call it that would be a lie. It’s insta-shifter love. There is no relationship development. No passion. Just literally mating at first sight.

And finally, the ending. Ugh. It’s utterly convenient and doesn’t really make any sense.

Most of the book, I spent drifting from kind of bored to rolling my eyes. I wish I had better news, but this one was not for me.

Rating: C-/D+

*ARC provided by publisher

Click to purchase: Amazon

Frozen in Amber
by Phyllis Ames
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Publisher: DAW

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