As a fan of fantasy and supernatural series, I’ve run into plenty of werewolves in my numerous fictional journeys. Yet, it is Romina Garber’s handling of this species within her Wolves of No World series that I’ve enjoyed the most since watching them depicted in the UK’s Being Human. Her latest release, Cazadora, turns up my connection to the characters and interest in this world.
Cazadora continues the tumultuous experience that is Manuela “Manu” Azul’s literal undocumented life. Manu and her mother have had to hide their existence since Manu was born, so when they are separated during an ICE raid in the first book of this series, Lobizona, we have no idea if they will ever be reunited. We begin Cazadora with Manu reeling from the consequences of the final act of book one, on the run with some of the new, but close, friends she made at the magic school and society she had no idea she belonged to. Feeling guilty about leaving her mother in ICE custody, as her nemesis rubbed in her face during their last confrontation, Manu is torn between enjoying the burgeoning relationship she’s found with the Septimus world’s golden boy and the multi-continent and realm adventures they navigate and figuring out how to protect everyone around her. For she and her small circle of friends are not on an adventure for adventure’s sake: if Manu is caught by the U.S. government she’d be deported to a land she’s never known, but if she is found by the Septimus’ governing council she’ll be killed. Because the Septimus society made human to bruja or lobizón relations illegal long ago and killed any violators of this brutal law, Manu finds herself triply in the council’s crosshairs. One, she is the daughter of a human and lobizón; two, that lobizón just happens to be the most hunted revolutionary leader of Septimus history; three, she is the first recorded surviving lobizóna—female werewolf—and the prophecy for her entrance into Septimus kind spells doom.
For these very dire reasons, Manu spends much of Cazadora seeking a safe haven for her small group and evaluating how to best bear responsibility for the disastrous fallouts that come from their discovery in each temporary haven. While contemplating her survival, she also learns what family besides her mother and adoptive grandmother feels like and is able to use one family connection to get in contact with her mother. In fact, some of the strongest portions of the book come from Manu’s examination of her role in a society that doesn’t think she should exist and seeing how the problems that she faces are universal to so many other situations, including those of her loved ones.
I had an inkling that I’d enjoy this series and planned to wait until the second book was released to give it a chance just so that I wouldn’t have to anticipate the release of the next book. Well, that backfired for all the right reasons! Yes, Cazadora could be a perfectly good conclusion to the series but there is so much left to wrap up by the time the book reaches its end that I cannot conceive of not returning to this world once more to knot the threads. I’m begging people I know to read this series because I can’t stay in this place of unknowing alone! Crossing my fingers that this duology mysteriously turns into at least a trilogy.