Mar 23 2012
Dear Ms. Moore
Thank you for sending me your book for review. I was sold when you told me that this werewolf story was based on the Norse mythology and involved a lot of discussion of pack dynamics. While I appreciated the fresh take on the werewolf myth and the focus on the pack, I was disappointed at what parts of the story you choose to tell. In fact, I felt most of the book was prologue.
Brand Geirson’s father is the brutal ruler of the Broods of Fenrir. Brand did not want to follow in his footsteps and thus he ran from the Broods pack. You find out later (or you can read the blurb) that Brand actually killed his father before he ran. This scene and the power struggle is only alluded to and not part of the scenes you choose to share with us. Therein lies the biggest problem that I had with the story. The part of the story that we were shown versus the parts of the story that were alluded to or summarized were discordant. The concept of the story had a lot of power and promise but the execution resulted in boring scenes.
The story opens with Brand leaving the pack after watching one of the females being tortured by his father. Fast forward and Brand is working as a security consultant and watching over his best friend, a female wolf he rescued nearly a century ago. Brand is dragged back into Brood politics when a series of killings point to an unrestrained Brood member. Brand is faced with a dilemma. Either he takes control of the Broods and steps into the position held by his father or he allows the Broods to run unfettered in his territory.
Initially I felt like the romance was going to unspool slowly but about 30% into it, the slow heated attraction was superseded by the “mate bond” and Brand went from wanting to be alone to not being able to be two inches from a new wolf, Dagny. Because the evolution of the romance seemed to signal a much more sedate pace, I was jolted uncomfortably by the insta lust and the mate bond feelings that both Brand and Dagny exhibited. This hamfisted romance trope was repeated with Alice and her mate. Alice was an intriguing creature. She was rescued by Brand but because of her past, was terrified of men. She would not even be able to eat in front of Brand, so scared she was of close male presence. Yet upon meeting her “mate”, Alice’s fears all fall away and she is kissing some unknown wolf she hadn’t ever met before. None of this made sense. None of it evolved naturally but was flung out there based on some fated mate pairing philosophy.
There were so many great ideas. The concept of Brand and Alice being best friends, but not lovers. The slow build up of a romance between Brand and Dagny. Alice overcoming her past traumas. Brand realizing that the Broods were better off with him as a leader than without. Brand overcoming his negative legacy. Unfortunately, the great ideas weren’t equalled by the execution. Much of the world building was incomplete. Brand was blessed with the ability to sever links with the pack, to recreate them. But this significant skill wasn’t accompanied with explanation of what a wolf did who didn’t have a pack bond or when Brand would make a bond, sever a link, then create a new bond, then sever that bond, what happens next? (Yes, there was a lot of bonding, severing, bonding again) Or why all these Norse Broods were in Denver, Colorado.
The overly dramatic feelings expressed in the book also didn’t fit with the narrative. At one point Dagny moans to herself that if she revealed her true story to Brand and he rejected her, she’d be crushed. Yet Dagny spent years being tortured and mistreated and she’s going to be emotionally wrecked because one wolf she barely knows might reject her?
What really struck me, though, wasn’t the inconsistency in characterization or the weak execution of the romance story lines. Instead, it circles back to my initial complaint. The scenes you choose to share with the reader were rather boring and I struggled to make it through the book. I wanted to see the scenes of the power struggle. I wanted to see more of the emotional dilemma Brand was suffering. I wanted to see the fleshing out of the great ideas but it just wasn’t there for me. C-
One final note. This is a self published book and I thought it had some of the nicest production values. Each chapter had a graphic of a wolf howling. There appeared to be no real grammatical errors. It had a table of contents and at the end, it gave links to connecting with the author on her website or on Twitter. I was impressed.