PAWS is the first book in an urban fantasy paranormal series by Debbie Manber Kupfer.
The main character of PAWS is a teenage girl named Miriam Katz. The cast includes werewovlves, shapeshifters, and magicians who have mastered the art of changing shape.
The story revolves around a rather old, cruel, werewolf and his quest for power. PAWS is an organization of magical beings who can, in some way, change their shape into animals. The bad guy feels that PAWS is one of the biggest threats to his quest for power.
The beginning of the book is rather long and it takes a while for Miri to find out how she fits into the paranormal side of this world. This book also has a lot of training and practicing and backstory.
One interesting thing was that many of the main characters, Miri, Josh, and Mandy, were Jewish. It was actually quite the diverse cast with an Irishwoman and her son, a British magician, and an Australian exchange student who could change into a kangaroo.
There were a few things that bothered me. First of all, shapeshifters are sort of genetic and their magic relies on a talisman of sorts. The magicians who learn to change shape do not have these talismans. At one point Joey, the kangaroo, had an amulet that he shouldn’t have had because he doesn’t need it. There were a few places where the formatting was wacky as well. I found the pacing was a little off. She spent the whole book building towards this fight scene and it was short and lacked tension.
Other than that the book was very good. It is definitely designed for younger teen readers – say 12 or 13 and up. It was a very easy read with a very simple story. The violence was not graphic, there was no swearing, and the romance was teen sweet with no sex scenes.
I give this book 3.5 stars out of 5. It has great potential and I hope the rest of the series will pick up a little.