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A few years ago I read this book and I really want to find it.

The main character is a girl. She is a werecat or something, she turns into a type of big wild cat. She keeps this a secret and works for the government. She lives with two girls and a boy.

I remember that once in the book she went through some guys roof and arrested him. One of the girls was hit I think in the town square. She is trying to find her real parents. I remember she finds a civilization with people who turn into different kinds of big cats.

It is a fantasy book. The cover was purple with a paw print in either snow or frost I think.

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    When was "a few years ago?" 2018? 2008?
    – DavidW
    Commented May 11, 2021 at 22:43
  • For example, if you mean 1962,, the Cordwainer Smith novella "The Ballad of Lost C'Mell" would sort of fit.
    – Spencer
    Commented May 11, 2021 at 23:16
  • Does the government she works for know her secret.? What government is that, anyway? The US government, the UK government, the government of an unnamed or fictional country?
    – user14111
    Commented May 12, 2021 at 0:05

1 Answer 1

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This likely Daughter of Dusk (2015) by Livia Blackburne. This is actually the second book of a duology with Midnight Thief (2014).

Cover of "Daughter of Dusk" showing a four-toed animal paw-print limned with white against a purple background

The hero, Kyra, is a Makvani, a race known by humans as Demon Riders, and she can change into a giant cat:

Kyra could feel it still, the warmth that started in her core and expanded out until her body melted and her bones stretched into the frame of a giant wildcat.

She lives with two younger girls she takes care of:

Kyra's younger friends Idalee and Lettie were sound asleep by the time she returned to the small room the three of them rented from a wealthy jeweler's widow. The two sisters lay curled together on the straw pallet they all shared. Idalee's dark hair was spread wild around her on the pillow, while Lettie had burrowed completely under the covers and was only visible as a small mound at her sister’s back.

And has a male (non-romantic) friend she sees frequently:

Flick lived with friends several streets away, but he spent so much time here that he might as well have been a fourth resident

Kyra is definitely looking for her parents:

Kyra was wondering how to persuade Jacobo to talk when he continued. "About fifteen years ago, a trade caravan was attacked near Forge, in the forest right above the upper waterfall. The wagons were destroyed and the crew was scattered, some killed. One survivor said they were attacked by felbeasts—that's what they're called across the mountains."

Fifteen years? Kyra didn't know her exact age, but she'd guessed she was about seventeen or eighteen years old. If there had been a clan around the three cities about that long ago... She tried not to let her excitement show. "You said there were survivors?"

Idalee is badly beaten by a petty nobleman at the market after and earlier encounter when she stood up for Lettie:

Three young noblemen, peacocks in their colorful silk tunics, stood over a muddied body in the courtyard. The victim wore a dress—it wasn't Ollie, then, though the girl looked to be in bad shape. Then the victim rolled over, and Kyra's heart stopped beating.

It wasn't Ollie. It was Idalee.

This forms part of the plot-driving conflict that Kyra finds herself in with the (corrupt) noble class of the city.

She is known to the government and is assigned to help hunt members of assassin's guild. During the arrest of an assassin named Ashley, she goes up onto the roof to verify he's in, guards the window, and then has to smash the shutters to get in when Ashley breaks past the guards.

The people like her are the Makvani (called "Demon Riders" by the city folk), who live in the wilds outside the city, and are in conflict with it. They take the form of large wildcats to hunt, patrol, etc., but habitually socialize in human form to talk, sing, etc.

At the beginning of the story they (Leyus' clan) are living rough, without any dwellings or structures, since they have just migrated over the mountains and are in conflict with the people of the city. Once a peace begins to be worked out, the Makvani (Leyus' clan, now joined by Havel's) start to build large semi-permanent tents.

They don't have the same accoutrements of civilization that the cities do, but the Makvani are definitely not the wild near-beasts the city folk initially view them as. They have strong social structures, a distinct culture, art (mostly song), etc.

In the end Kyra is exiled from the city, but chooses not to live wholly among the Makvani either, becoming an intermediary between the two in the hope of furthering peace.

There are a lot of fairly detailed reviews on Goodreads if you want some more non-spoilery details.

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