Rapture Untamed was absolutely a solid read, but lacked the true sizzle of chemistry to leave a lasting impression in my mind. The beginning definitely caught my attention, but as the story wore on, the characters became stereotypical in their roles.
Two immortal races, The Mage and the Therians, have been battling Satanan and his Daemons for thousands of years. Originally, all Therians could shape shift, but because they had to combine forces with the Mage to imprison Satanan, most lost the strengths of their animals. Now only the Feral Warriors, one man from each animal line, have the ability to shift.
Recently, the leader of the Mage has been infected with a dark spirit, and the warriors are afraid that Satanan is now controlling him. As Daemons begin to prey on humans, the Feral Warriors decide to ask the British Guard, the most elite group of Therian fighters, for assistance.
When Olivia gets the call to team up with the Feral Warriors, she is thrilled – this is the chance of a lifetime. Unfortunately, she has a little secret that might ruin everything: hundreds of years ago, when she was still a child, she was draden-kissed. This means that she can feed from the energy sources of everyone around her, making her a potential killer among her team. She’s learned to control her feeding over the years, but doesn’t think anyone would trust her enough to let her remain in the British Guard, so she keeps it under wraps.
When Olivia arrives, she is immediately bombarded with the jerk that is Jag, a potty-mouthed antagonistic jaguar shifter. The first time they meet, he grabs her boob and tells her to have sex with him. She plans to stay well away from him, but Jag won’t have any of it. He wants her, and he manipulates it so she’s forced to partner him. By accident, he discovers her secret, and he blackmails her into being his “slave” if she doesn’t want him to blab. As they continue to battle Daemons, the attraction between them grows into something deeper, although both try their best to fight it.
As heroes and heroines go, Olivia and Jag are textbook. Jag tries his damnedest to be offensive to everyone because (you guessed it), he wants to keep everyone at a distance so he won’t feel any sort of softer emotion. Of course, when nobody’s looking, he’s gooier than a melted marshmallow, and he never picks on the weak. Olivia has led a hard life, struggling to keep her secret and feeling guilt over the accidental death of her father (among other things), so she knows immediately that Jag’s offensive behavior is only an act to hide his suffering. She’s noble. Self-sacrificing. A little lonely. Essentially, she’s everything you might expect of a centuries-old warrior heroine.
Something didn’t quite gel between the two leads. There was a hint of something deeper between Olivia and Jag, a real connection between them, but this often made way for rabid sex, which I’ll get to shortly. In any case, I felt like the intensity of the situation and the fast paced scenes were meant to make up for the lack of much real interaction between the two (besides Olivia’s dissection of Jag’s persona and the rampant lust). I wished Olivia could have more firmly crossed the line between “I like him because he understands my pain” and love, and I wanted Jag to clearly show he wasn’t only attracted to the contrast of warrior/lover in Olivia.
I’m a little torn about the sex scenes, which were almost one after the other, and I’m tending to lean towards the “empty” side of the equation. On one hand, Jag and Olivia’s connection is really something, and I enjoyed the tension at the beginning of the story. But as time goes on, and Jag uses Olivia’s secret to bind her to him, I found the sex scenes…not nice. His acts of “dominance” felt very demeaning, and he does some rotten things to Olivia. Funnily enough, when Jag does decide to stop being an ass and decides to say “I love her!” it’s actually a bit awkward and cheesy.
At the end of the day, I didn’t feel like Rapture Untamed brought anything new to the table. It wasn’t a hardship to turn the pages, but it also didn’t leave much of an impression. I enjoyed the world itself, which had a nice twist from the normal shape shifting universe, but frankly, many of the secondary characters held more depth than the main ones.