Pros: Interesting plot & characters
Cons: For a somewhat limited audience; annoying & foolish leads
Rating: 3 out of 5
While I enjoy Lora Leigh’s Breed novels, some of them are better than others. Coyote’s Mate isn’t bad, but it also isn’t her best.
In the world of the Breeds, the evil Council created man-animal hybrids to serve as soldiers, assassins, killers. Gradually the Breeds fought back, escaping to establish their own tenuous society alongside their suspicious human neighbors. In Coyote’s Mate, we finally get to see the cold-hearted coyote breeds.
Anya grew up in a Council facility where her father and cousins worked security. As a highly-skilled administrator herself, she had access to plenty of information about the coyote breeds developed and held there. She also became friends with five coyote breed females. In order to save them she made contact with Del-Rey Delgado, an escaped coyote himself. It took years for them to bring their plans to fruition, and in that time they became close. Until Del-Rey broke his promise to Anya and shot her father while freeing her friends.
Del-Rey kidnaps Anya to America and to the Breed compounds, where she helps to run the coyotes’ day-to-day affairs. But the mating heat has bound the two of them together, and she’s determined to beat it in any way she has to—even if it means taking drugs every day and suffering. Unfortunately, her determination to keep Del-Rey at arm’s length may place her life in danger…
First off, it should be mentioned that this is an erotic romance involving semi-human characters, and some of the sex gets a bit weird (more so than with the feline breeds in the previous books). So make sure that’s what you’re looking for!
As usual, the “science fiction” part of this series is really more what we’d term science fantasy—the trappings of science used to explain away superpowers or magic-like abilities. Again, this is fine, as long as that’s what you’re looking for—some folks prefer for their SF to be pure, hard, and/or scientifically accurate, and that isn’t what you’ll get here. It makes a fine background for the story that’s being told, however, and it’s gotten less silly and over-the-top as the series has progressed.
This isn’t my favorite of the Breed novels. I definitely like the look at the coyotes, and in particular the examination of how their animal aspects and human aspects interrelate and affect how they treat each other (and humans such as Anya). However, it felt as though the author went way overboard in making Anya and Del-Rey frustratingly annoying, stubborn and dense in the effort to keep them apart as long as possible. It’s possible to get away with some level of that with the right events and characters, and Leigh did set it up reasonably well, but the heights to which their differences reached (and the actions they took at times) became frustrating and ridiculous rather than tension-building.
I also couldn’t stand the over-the-top depiction of Anya’s innocence and femininity at the beginning. It was so overblown that it made me roll my eyes.
If this was a stand-alone book I might rate it a little lower, but I think that readers of this series specifically looking for those traits they’ve come to expect from the Breed novels won’t be too disappointed. It might not be the best entry in the series, but there is plenty of head-butting personality conflict, wild death-defying action, and crazy sex to be had!