Monday, August 30, 2021

Review: Breaking Badger by Shelly Laurenston

Breaking Badger by Shelly Laurenston
Series: The Honey Badger Chronicles, Book 4
Publisher: Kensington
Genre: Paranormal Romance 
Breaking Badger cover
ISBN: 9781496730145
Release Date: August 31, 2021
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audible

It’s instinct that drives Finn Malone to rescue a bunch of hard battling honey badgers. The Siberian tiger shifter just can’t bear to see his fellow shifters harmed. But no way can Finn have a houseful of honey badgers when he also has two brothers with no patience. Things just go from bad to worse when the badgers rudely ejected from his home turn out to be the only ones who can help him solve a family tragedy. He’s just not sure he can even get back into the badgers’ good graces. Since badgers lack graces of any kind…

Mads knows her teammates aren’t about to forgive the cats that were so rude to them, but moody Finn isn’t so bad. And he’s cute! The badger part of her understands Finn’s burning need to avenge his father’s death—after all, vengeance is her favorite pastime. So Mads sets about helping Finn settle his family’s score, which has its perks, since she gets to avoid her own family drama. Besides, fighting side by side with Finn is her kind of fun—especially when she can get in a hot and heavy snuggle with her very own growling, eye-rolling, and utterly irresistible kitty-cat…

Breaking Badger is a wacky, violent, high-octane thrill ride from beginning to end. It’s chaotic in only a way Shelly Laurenston’s honey badgers can be, in that in any other author’s hands this level of craziness would likely be a mess but Laurenston mostly keeps it together.

Mads is a honey badger/hyena hybrid with some nightmare family members out to get her. Fortunately, she has her beloved sport, basketball, and – since middle school – her honey badger teammates. The five of them work hard and play harder but after landing in the middle of a firefight with some tigers, Mads finds herself often in the path of the Black Malones. Finn Malone and his brothers are determined to find out who killed their father and their best shot at getting information requires some help from the honey badgers. If only his brother hadn’t pissed them off… But Mads seems like one of the more sane badgers so he goes to her for help. What follows is a violent, sometimes disjointed ride with action that almost never stops.

I admit, it took me a while to get into Breaking Badger. I don’t mind violent action scenes but it felt at times like overkill and honestly Mads doesn’t have a whole lot to do for much of this story. She seems like an afterthought in her own book, which is a pity. There’s a lot of potential to her and I felt like some of the things about her past that were hinted at (her relationship with her father, for example) were missed out on. It’s not a good sign that Mads could have been dropped from this book and not all that much would have been lost. Finn is an angry, growly tiger who doesn’t have as much of a personality as I would have hoped for (Mads’s coyote easily stole the show from him). He’s interesting when he’s with Mads and when the two of them are alone they actually start to come alive. I would have loved to see more of their romance but it was skimped on in favor of the action. Around the halfway point the book picks up and there feels like order in the chaos and starting there, I was in for the ride.

Though ostensibly this is a book about Mads and Finn, it really is about the MacKilligan sisters with a dash of Malone family drama and a whole host of cameos from the Pride series. I love the MacKilligans, so I didn’t mind spending more time with Max, Charlie, and Stevie. They’re funny and endearing in their own scary ways and I was highly entertained by them. Breaking Badger is the kind of book it’s hard for me to put a rating on because there are some things I really enjoyed. Even with the issues I had with the plot and lack of romance, Laurenston’s writing is entertaining, unique, and left me looking forward to the next installment of The Honey Badger Chronicles.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.