Where are my urban fantasy, shifter story fans? I’ve got a treat for you today. Fancy getting stuck into a brand new series about animal shifters set in inner-city Sweden? This is a prequel novella introducing us to some of the characters that will feature in the full length series that, if you ask me, can’t come soon enough!
Title: It’s a Bear’s Life: That’s No Picnic (The Last Vasa #0.5)
Author: Astrid V. J.
Rating: 5 stars
There’s nothing much more life-changing than a bullet to the neck…
While he contemplates death and the consequences his will bring for his family, Bashir is offered a chance at a new life by the Swedish police officer who finds him in a dark alley of Gothenburg’s infamous north-eastern suburb. Bashir’s new life comes with the surprise that nothing is as he previously believed: magical creatures exist, and preying on the weak are forces far more sinister than the drug dealers he’d contended with before.
But if becoming a part of Sweden’s hidden underworld of shifters weren’t enough, Bashir’s discoveries are upended when he meets Milena: the last Vasa.
This was a great introduction to an exciting new urban fantasy world, one set in Sweden and based in reality, but with a secret community of shifters and magic. Being a prequel novella and therefore quite short, the book doesn’t delve too deep into the lore or details of the shifter abilities or magic system, and I’m really looking forward to finding out more when the first book in the main series is released.
Astrid did manage to weave together elements of history, folklore, politics, religion and culture into this story, hinting at so much more to come.
Bashir’s experiences as an immigrant were so well portrayed and gave the story an added layer of tension and credibility, it was heartbreaking to see his physical reaction to authority figures like the police and the train ticket collector due to his past, negative experiences.
When the mysterious figure of Milena was introduced I desperately wanted to find out who and what she was, but I suppose I’ll have to wait until I get my hands on the first book in the main series, as the trilogy will focus on Milena’s life, with Bashir as a secondary character.
I’m so intrigued by the world of these bear shifters and the part the Last Vasa has to play in the forthcoming series. I can’t wait to read book one now!
You can grab a copy of It’s a Bear’s Life now for just 99c!