Infected: Paris is a novella by Andrea Speed, and a prequel to the Infected series. I had only read Infected: Prey, the first book, before I read this. I really liked Paris. I’m a sucker for a black-haired, blue-eyed beauty.
The narrator is mainly Roan McKichan, but there are some Paris point of view scenes as well. If you start with this book, you’ll still get the general set up of the world, which takes place in contemporary Seattle, where everything is essentially the same, except that a small percentage of the population has a cat infection…or turns into a cat several days out of the month. The infection is transmitted much as a bloodborne pathogen is, and is incurable. These people have no control over their transformations, and they don’t know that they are humans when they are transformed, so they need to be contained or they could hurt themselves or others. This isn’t a silly shifter book, it’s a serious shifter book.
As I’ve said, I haven’t read the Infected series, past the first one, so I’m not sure how much more of Paris’s story gets told compared to the rest of the series. In Prey, we understand that Paris has a deadly tiger strain, the deadliest of all cat infections, and his time is limited. We also get hints that he was in rough shape when Roan met him, and we get to actually see that in Paris. We already know that Paris went through a mental breakdown after he got his tiger virus, but we don’t really see much of that in Paris, besides the car he was living in when Roan discovered him. The big draw in the novella, is that we get to watch Roan and Paris fall in love (doesn’t take much for those two crazy cats).
I would have liked to see more of Paris’s inner workings, a bit more of the helpless, bruised, and semi-suicidal man that desperation and bad fortune had made him. He slept around, paid a hefty price, and we get to see who he became out of all of that…but I really wanted to see his transformation, man to man (and man to cat). I wanted to see him, the days leading up to his first change. I wanted to be there when he figured it all out, to see the snap. I wanted more time in his head.
In Prey, the mystery/thriller portion was the main plot, and the romance took a side slot, but Paris was very much a love story. I enjoyed the book immensely, but am still hesitating to read the entire series-
Well… There are small things that I tell myself, to make the world seem a little less harsh. Such as, sometimes a person shines so bright, that they can only exist as a flash, here and gone. Like Jeanne d’Arc. But deep down, I know the truth. Life is random, unfair. The good die young, and the bad live happy, long lives.
I want to hold onto his glow, just a bit longer.
And all your beauty stand you in no stead;
This flawless, vital hand, this perfect head,
This body of flame and steel, before the gust…
Beth Brock is a reviewer for DSP and QSF. She enjoys reading, writing, running, family and food, and fills her life with bent bunk. She especially loves to discuss LGBTQ+ literature.
Her website is http://www.bethbrockbooks.com
You can find her on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/BethBrockBooks.
Dreamspinner Press – Where Dreams Come True… International publishers of quality gay romantic fiction since 2007. http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com
DSP Publications – Off the Beaten Path. Worth the Journey. http://www.dsppublications.com
Harmony Ink Press – LGBTQ+ Young Adult Fiction. http://www.harmonyinkpress.com