Once Bitten by Kalanya Price – a Review
Once Bitten by Kalayna Price is the first book in her Haven series., which is considered Urban Fantasy. The heroine in this book is Kita, who is a cat shapeshifter, and she has been in hiding for years, from her clan and the clan’s leader, her father. Kita, who shifts into a calico cat, ran away because she didn’t feel her little cat belonged with the larger cats, and she would be the heir apparent. She lives and barely survives in a town called Haven.
I thought the story started a bit slow, as Price tried to lead into the story, introducing us to Haven, and its underworld, but it does pick up quickly. Kita can sense hunters chasing her, and knows her father has sent them to find her, and return her to the clan, something Kita does not want. When she needs to find a place to live, or food, Kita will shift into her cat, and live as someone’s pet. But on this occasion, she finds herself in a bar as a human, and is drugged. While running away to try escape, she is attacked by a hunter. When she wakes up, a strange woman is trying to heal her. She learns from the woman and the man who saved her, that she is now a vampire. A shapeshifter, who can no longer shift, and now must drink blood to survive.
Kita is not your normal heroine. She is feisty, totally independent, and very difficult to control. Nathanial, a vampire, who is known as The Hermit, is the one who turned her, but he did so to save her life from the Hunter. He tells Kita that it was an accident, and he is sorry. But as you will see, she gives him a hard time, not forgiving him, even if he saved her. Knowing she knows nothing of how to survive as a vampire, Nathaniel follows and stays with Kita throughout her upcoming ordeal. He is enamored by her, which surprises him, as he is not known as the Hermit for nothing.
We also meet her ex boyfriend, Bobby, who shifts into bobcat, wants her to go home. He also part of the entourage that follows Kita. Things turn from bad to worse for Kita. A Mage Judge appears out of nowhere to accuse her of being a rogue, and sentences her to an immediate death. Nathanial convinces the judge to allow Kita to find the real rogue, and the judge gives her three days, or she will die. He gives her a student scholar (Gil) to study her, while they try to find the rogue. At this point, the story starts to get interesting, with a lot more action.
This is a worldbuilding of cat and wolf shifters, vampires, vampire councils, mages, rogues, hunters, and other normal supernatural characters. As we follow Kita, and her three other companions to find the rogue, before its too late, so many things happen along the way. You get to enjoy the possible romance building between Kita and Nathanial, though Kita continues to treat him with disgust. But Nathanial is determined to teach Kita how to survive, despite her stubbornness, and at times difficult behavior. I liked Nathanial right from the start, and wasn’t crazy at times how Kita treated him, no matter how hard he tried to help her. But there was a lot of action and at times it was funny to see how Bobby reacted to Kita being a vampire, and Gil’s reaction to anything. These parts were fun.
Kalayna Price does a good job creating these characters. Kita is different then most heroines; she is strong, and way to stubborn, and refuses to admit to her growing feelings for Nathanial; you see her flaws, and yet you know her strengths. In the action packed last third of the book, Kita fights to save herself, and the others. She is a strong heroine, and the end was a wild ending. Price leaves us with a cliffhanger, that forces us to get the next book, as Kita’s story continues. What will happen with her and Nathanial? What happens with the Vampire council? Will Bobby recognize that he will never have Kita? Will Kita ever return to her father and their clan, now that she is a vampire? Will Kita learn how to drink blood and survive as a vampire? To find those answers, we need to read the next book….Twice Dead.
Reviewed by Barb
Copy provided by Publisher