5 Stars, Andrea Speed, Dreamspinner Press

Infected: Shift (Infected #5) by Andrea Speed

No. No, no, no. A book cannot just end like that.

Okay, apparently it can, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Okay, apparently that’s not true either, because I loved it, which I suppose means that I more than liked it. ::sigh:: I think I get too involved with the characters in the books I read, which may or may not be entirely normal. The jury’s still out.

Is it just me, or does this series keep getting better? Roan McKichan keeps getting more complex, even as what he is and how (or if) he’ll survive it becomes more questionable. The love of his life, even in death, is still so much a part of him that Paris emerges as Roan’s conscience/subconscious/the light in Roan’s shadows to force him to confront and decipher what he feels. Absolute power may corrupt absolutely, but it helps to have a subliminal voice and conscious presence that aren’t afraid to swat you on the nose from time to time for your hubris and shortsightedness. Roan may find he needs that more and more as he evolves.

His boyfriend Dylan is so much a part of Roan that he keeps him tethered to what makes Roan human—his ability to love and the need to protect and to be connected to someone in a tangible way. The most difficult aspect of it to puzzle out at the moment is what does Roan want more: to die and be with Paris or to live and be with Dylan? Not only is Roan a hybrid of species, he’s also a hybrid of existence, balancing between life and death, conflicted by whether he’s a man with lionesque tendencies or a lion with human tendencies. The scales seem to be tipping toward the latter, but only time will tell if he will be able to find some symmetry between the two. Dylan and a growing circle of friends who have lain claim to Roan, a circle of friends who want to protect him in spite of how capable he is of protecting himself (maybe they’re protecting him from himself) may be the greatest equalizers. That is, if the noose that is Roan’s virus doesn’t yank the chair out from under him first.

Divided into two separate books, Shift and Bloodbath, the stories involve unrelated cases but are unified by the continuing storyline of Roan’s relationship with his Self, his virus, and with those who care so much whether he lives or dies. The contingent of those who’d like to see him dead seems to be growing, evidenced by the fact that they’re becoming bolder—much to their own idiocy. But the list of those who want to see him live is growing too, much to Roan’s benefit. Now he just needs to believe he’s worth their efforts. I can’t help but believe that the more people who want Roan to live can only make him want to live more. Either that or it’ll make him want to push them away for their own good. Roan’s stubborn like that.

There’s an Arabian proverb that says, “Death was afraid of him because he had the heart of a lion.” I hope Roan’s happy ending proves that proverb to be true.

I also hope I don’t have long to wait for book #6.

Buy Infected: Shift HERE.

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