Cat and Mouse, the first book in Jana Downs’s Beast Games series, offers a new take on an old classic by exploring what happens when fated mates are also natural enemies.
In Downs’s world of the Beast Games, Stanford researchers have officially redefined the human hierarchy in order to better identify the distinguishing traits and appropriate uses of the nonshifting humans, predatory shifters, and nonpredatory shifters who comprise the known world. Since this reclassification of species, the Olympics-driven culture has come to rely on the sharply demarcated niches of master, predator, and prey to define the social roles that frame everyday life. In a thought-provoking challenge to these notions, this story focuses on Tobias, a quiet, stubborn mouse-shifter who is faced with the haunting problem of reevaluating his belief in such a natural world order when he discovers that his fated mate is none other than Cassius the Vain, a tiger-shifter and born predator. Cassius, renowned worldwide as a fierce gladiator in the Beast Games, is instantly smitten, but he perhaps faces the biggest obstacle of all in quelling his inner beast in order to dispel Tobias’s fear of commitment—and his fear of predators.
Throughout Cassius’s and Tobias’s struggles to convince others—and themselves—that their odd pairing can work, the brilliance of this story lies in the shared humanity and vulnerability that the lovers must be willing to embrace in order to bridge the inherent gap between predator and prey. To this end, Cat and Mouse promises readers a touching romance in which unconditional love and acceptance for others triumphs after all.
Review by Staff Contributor