by Kelly Meding
Series: Strays #2
Published on February 5, 2019 Format: eARC
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Para-Marshal Shiloh Harrison has always been a great number two for the East Coast unit. But after her boss is found dead (having betrayed the paranormals he was sworn to protect), she’s suddenly thrust into a leadership role she isn’t prepared for. And it doesn’t help that she traded away memories of one of her most important team members to save another’s life during her last mission.
Too, she’s in charge of a unit that is mired in bureaucratic red tape, meaning she’s essentially under house arrest. But a West Coast Para-Marshal has astral-projected a warning: werewolves are going missing, and she needs Shiloh’s help. Last time it was vampires. This time it’s werewolves. Half-djinn herself, she knows she can’t just sit around and do nothing while paranormals are getting snatched. Her old boss may have broken his oath, but Shiloh will do anything to serve and protect.
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After the interesting read that was Stray Magic, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from its sequel, Stray Moon. First, if you haven’t read book 1, you’ll want to turn back now because even the synopsis for this book features spoilers.
I think Stray Moon did a better job of establishing the world of the para-marshals and how they operate in this alternate universe. Shiloh and the team are en route to solve the disappearance of several werewolf pairs, something that was brought up in the previous book, which grounded the story around a single point instead of pinwheeling in every direction.
Meding didn’t pull any punches last book, introducing a list of supernatural creatures and conflicts that Stray Moon thankfully didn’t expand too much on. There was less vampire involvement which I was surprised by as Tennyson played such a large role in the previous book (he was in this one and all, but the focus shifted to Shiloh and Jaxon). And speaking of Jaxon, I started getting annoyed with the subplot of Shiloh forgetting who Jaxon was. I realize that it redefined their interactions but the same thing came up over and over again every time they had a heart to heart until the end. Though based on the progression of the story, I’m thinking that it won’t be a major player in the next installment (at least I can hope).
For anyone who found Stray Moon first, you DEFINITELY want to read Stray Magic first. This isn’t a paranormal romance series; it’s pure urban fantasy and the books are very closely tied together. You’ll likely be lost trying to read the sequel first. The plot itself moves along at a good pace, alternating between character relationships and the external conflict of the missing werewolves. Shiloh explores her djinn powers a bit more and since they’ve played a role in these first two books, I’m hoping a future book focuses even more on them.
I love that these books merge all things supernatural into this universe. Not just the traditional vampire/werewolf/witch combo either. There are djinn, one of Shiloh’s teammates is an incubus, goddesses are involved, and who knows what else will show up. It kept things interesting and made this series stand out for me.
The Strays series is very much a supernatural mystery type storyline. Shiloh and her team investigate something, get into trouble, and have to get back out again. If that’s your thing, you like entertaining reads, or need a new urban fantasy series to dive into, I recommend picking up Stray Magic and Stray Moon!