Book Log #40: Jaguar Night, by Doranna Durgin

The first of her Sentinels series of paranormal romances, Jaguar Night is basically Doranna Durgin Does Shapeshifters. The worldbuilding is a bit thin for my tastes: you’ve got the Sentinels vs. the Atrum Core, who are two warring factions theoretically descended from a pair of half-brothers in ancient Britain, one a Druid and the other from a Roman father. The Druid descendants are the Sentinels who can shapeshift and do your basic grab bag of other magical abilities, while the Atrum Core are the bad guys, who are essentially out to grab the power that the Sentinels have. And that’s really about all the setup you get. Fortunately Durgin’s writing remains sound, and even if the worldbuilding is less detailed than I’ve seen her do in her fantasy novels, the characters in this series are appealing.

In this installment we’ve got a young woman, Meghan, who’s the daughter of a coyote Sentinel who died to hide a magical manuscript. The Sentinels have deemed Meghan, who isn’t a shifter herself, beneath their notice–which of course means that she gets to step up to the plate when rogue Sentinel Dolan Treviño comes looking for her, and the Atrum Core comes looking for the manuscript.

I give this story points for a Hispanic hero, for the heroine not actually being a shifter herself even if she’s of Sentinel blood (which is a theme that gets bounced around with other characters later), and for Meghan’s civilian friends who help her work the ranch being brought into the paranormal action in reasonable ways. There’s nothing terribly unusual here in how the plot plays out, either from a paranormal romance standpoint or a fantasy one, but it does play out enjoyably. And the resolution with the antagonist is important to note, as it sets up ramifications that show up in further Sentinels books. So I’ll give points for continuity, as well. Three stars.