Rating: 4.25 stars
Well fuck me. Did I just dream up the awesomeness that is Hell & High Water in order to get out of my book funk? Because let me tell you: it was amazing.
I'm not usually a fan of shifter stories, because they tend to come off as porny (not always a bad thing) or just don't feel very well developed. Fortunately, Hell & High Water took a different route with a shifter story. The author constructed a modern day world where shifters (aka: Therians) live on a precarious existence with the humans. I love how the idea of Therians isn't romanticized, and the concept of shifters isn't used as a kink, but instead is an important part of the world and conflicts that occur.
Then there's Dexter, who is crack personified. I love the shit that comes out of this guy's mouth. Yet don't let his clown-ish personality fool you: he's a perceptive guy that knows when to get serious when it matters. He's a very likeable character: one who is understanding of other people's pain/suffering. It's nice to read about a humorous MC that doesn't come off as a 10 year old kid with ADHD, or an asshole.
Sloane, while a little on the dull side compared to Dexter, is another enjoyable character. However, the rest of the cast of characters is absolutely amazing. The author has managed to create a large cast of people, give them all individual personalities, yet never takes the spotlight away from Dex and Sloane.
My biggest complaint was the back-and-forth "I shouldn't, but I really want to" romantic struggle our main characters go through. It took most of the book for the development to happen, and I just wanted to smack someone on the head with my frustration. However, I was satisfied with the realistic outcome by the end of the book.
Most of the beginning and middle of the book focused on Dexter's acclimation to THIRDS and his own relationship with Sloane. While the plot of the serial murders seemed to take a back burner for most of the story, it did pick up towards the later third of the story. The pacing was just right, as it allowed time for me to really understand all the people involved in this world before jumping into the conflicts.
So overall, Hell & High Water presents a smart shifter book with just the right amount of action, a great cast of characters and an engaging plot (I want the sequel NOW!). While the romantic development could have been paced better, it still concluded well in my opinion. Basically what I'm trying to say is: read this book!