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Reviewed by Ankita Shukla for Readers' Favorite
Issaura's Claws by Katharine E Wibell is an impressive fiction work that focuses on breaking the stereotype of women as a weak gender. Lluava is a headstrong seventeen-year-old girl. She is not a human, though. She is a theriomorph -- a special race that looked like a human but could convert into an animal form. Although the law of Elysia does not divide the humans and theriomorphs, the animosity between these two races is evident on a daily basis. In order to avoid any mistreatment and to fit in with the humans, many theriomorphs -- including Lluava's mother -- have adopted the humans' lifestyle. Lluava, however, does not succumb to these changes. Unfair or not, the lives of Lluava and others were moving at a steady pace before an order from the king turned their worlds upside down. In order to combat an army of raiders and to defend their land, each family of the kingdom -- theriomorph or human -- is required to send one member to the army. These people would be trained to stop the invasion of the raiders. Lluava's family consists of her mother, younger brother, younger sister, and a grandfather -- leaving only Lluava as a suitable choice to be sent to the army. Lluava, whose animal form is a fearsome tigress, hasn't even learned to properly change into her animal form, but now she must train to save the lives in her village.
Issaura's Claws is a story of friendship, courage, loyalty, and gender neutrality. Lluava's struggle, at the time of her training, to accept the pre-decided fate of the girls to be in the healers' category is relatable. Instead of identifying individuals based on their strengths and weaknesses, a general rule was passed to put all girls in the position of healers. Our headstrong protagonist, however, stood her ground and claimed her place among the warriors. Her training days were filled with challenges, more than the others, because she stood her ground and proved her worth to her mentors. Needless to say, she is my favorite character.
The characters of Issaura's Claws are dynamic and full of surprises. Although the leading character is Lluava, other characters managed to leave a mark. Just like its characters, the plot of the book is also far from monotonous. The author has done an incredible job of keeping readers on their toes throughout the story. There are many pearls of wisdom in the book, but my favorite one is that by using the right tools and reason, people of different mindsets can learn to not only work together, but also to care for one another. If you are a fan of fantasy-based books that keep you on the edge of your seat, then Issaura's Claws by Katharine E Wibell is definitely a good choice for you.