Valerie, a werefox, lives her life precisely as she should according to the shapeshifting community rules. She works a job where her abilities will not be an advantage, doesn’t expose her identity to humans, and minds her own business. When young adults in her town start to go missing, an old college friend, now detective, asks for her help on the case. He believes they were all abducted even after being classified as runaways.
Along with a woman, also from the shapeshifting world, the trio set out to search the vast Indiana forest. Will they be able to find who, or what, is taking the young adults, and will they find them in time? Between a helpful witch, bureaucratic conflicts, and the bond forming between the two women, Valerie’s world will be turned upside down forever!
Primal Intuition’s first book, Runaways, is a short and sweet little novella about a fox shapeshifter on a mission to help solve a kidnapping case as a string of mysterious teen disappearances start occurring near her small town. It’s a cute little enemies to lovers slow burn as the two women, a shapeshifter and a shapeshifter hunter respectively, learn to work together, and build a trusting relationship that blossoms into something more. It’s also an action packed investigative drama, and a piece of modern fantasy as it introduces us to a world of shapeshifters and various other supernatural entities.
The writing here is very fun, and the mystery case is very well established. I really enjoyed how real everything felt, from the small town life to the little diner Valerie works at to the dialog and pacing. The story really breathes well, establishing personalities and every day life for it’s characters. The only way I think the story could have been better was if the book had been longer; this could easily have been a full length, fully fleshed out novel. The investigation could have been more complex and with more clues for the characters to really sink their teeth into, and there could have been multiple encounters with the creature that they are hunting, a little bit of a cat and mouse game. But for the length that it is it establishes itself very well and was a fun little bit of light reading.
Despite the length making the characters development happen a little quicker than it could have, Valerie is a very engaging protagonist and I really did enjoy being in her POV. I felt like she was very well explored, and the narrative gave her a lot of soft, quiet moments of downtime that really get the reader invested in her as a person and made her come alive on the page. Unfortunately while I wanted to feel the same about Jaylyne, she never ended up feeling quite as real to me, and as a result their connection never really felt as well developed as I would have liked it to. The progression of their relationship relies very heavily on visual attraction rather than emotions, which given the length of the book is forgivable, but I would have liked to see this fleshed out a little bit better. Maybe a few more scenes of the tension between them, could have been beneficial.
The glimpses that we get of the world are very interesting! Despite the book’s short length, the politics of the shapeshifting community, the hunters community, and even the presence of witches is all present and prevalent to the story, and with a longer piece could be very interesting to explore and play in. I’d like it if more of the setting was shown in subsequent books, if we get to explore what life is like for various of these shapeshifters and how their communities interact. I’d also very much like to know more about witches, and about how many other creatures there are in this world and what their origins are. There’s rules in place that shapeshifters are required to keep low profiles but who is enforcing this? Are hunters a structured organization, or are they just a collection of people working on their own? Many things I’d like to see addressed as the series continues.
This is a bit of a slow burn, with only the one sex scene at the very end of the book, after all of the other excitement has died down. It’s a very vanilla scene, and I was personally hoping for something a tad kinkier, especially with the shapeshifter/hunter dynamic. I could have gone for someone handcuffing someone to the bed, or a bit more rough handling, but that’s just my preferences. It’s a very sweet, well written scene and if you’re looking for tender lesbian lovemaking with a hint of taboo (Shapeshifters and hunters aren’t supposed to mingle! We aren’t supposed to be doing this! The drama!) then this should hit the spot.
This was a very cute little book that could have been a lot more than it is, but for what it is was very fun light reading. I enjoyed it, and hope for a bit more worldbuilding in subsequent books to really immerse me in it’s setting. The author writes very well, and the prose is very engaging, I just wish there was a little more to it, but all in all this is a great little story to pick up for an afternoon of fun escapism.
Have you read Primal Intuition? Let me know what you thought by leaving me a comment!