Annie Bellet's Justice Calling is a short novel of 100 pages offered free as an inducement to buy further books in her Twenty Sided Sorceress series. In such a short novel it was asking a lot to create a world, introduce characters, and inspire readers to buy into the series, which probably explains the addition of a long sample of the sequel. Bellet's task is not made easier by presenting this as an origins of story, so that the main character, Jade Crow, is reluctant to embrace her sorceress status and as a result there is even less space to create an inviting character. It is no surprise then that both the character of Jade Crow and the plot come across as lightweight. The title Justice Calling refers to the main secondary character, who is a an enforcer of shifter law. Shifters for the uninitiated are those who shift between human and animal forms (were-wolves, were-rabbits, were-tigers, etc.). Although I doubt that anyone not already fully initiated into the shifter genre would buy into this series as understanding that world is essential to enjoying this short novel.
Shifters are crucial to the storyline as the small town American setting is one where a lot of shifters have drifted to, although Jade herself is not one of their number. It is a novel replete with pop culture references and one obvious one that is missing is Twilight. This novel comes from a genre that is akin to rooting for Team Jacob (shifters) in Twilight without a Team Edward (vampires) to get in the way. The storyline, with the exception of Jade, is set almost entirely among the shifter community, so unless were-creatures are your thing you are not going to enjoy this novel. For those already paid-up members of shifter fandom there is not really enough in this short novel to judge the series one way or the other.
© Mercia McMahon. All rights reserved.