Rating: 4 stars
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In The Wolfing Way, author Susan Laine gives us a delightful treat—a new world to explore. One in which the carefully controlled “veil” between the human world and that of the “unseen” is suddenly lifted, allowing for the two planes to collide.
“The unveiled outside world had found its way into their sanctum, their home and hearth, and there was nowhere to go from here but down to the dark unknown.”
Once the veil had been lifted, the human world in which Kris lived changed dramatically. Now there was the established Mythical Realm Network that catalogued blood types and genetic make-ups to find “mates” for various species of the unseen world. In Kris’ case, he was to be mated to a werewolf—whether he liked it or not.
Laine presents us with a world where the term “arranged marriage” takes on a whole new meaning as we watch the bartering for Kris’ mating price take place with utter swiftness and cold calculation. However, his future mate turns out to be the one person who can put the brakes on the entire process. Thankfully, Rafe is a compassionate and patient wolf, and utterly smitten with his potential mate, and so determines a way to give Kris what he needs, a choice, despite the far reaching implications that move will have for Rafe himself.
“…to deny a part of himself also saddened Rafe. He didn’t want to be an obstacle on Kris’s desired path in life but the desired company along the way. Being a lycan, however, and being tied to pack land certainly put a damper on things and interfered…Like pieces of a puzzle, he and Kris would fit together, yes, but the solution would just take some time to figure out, piece by piece.”
However, like any relationship, there are never guarantees. And even though the mating call is there, Rafe and Kris find that meeting is just the beginning of their worries. Kris wants a career, he does not want to be tied to the pack and the restrictions it brings with it. For even though the veil has been lifted, the author informs us that there are those who would see Rafe and his family destroyed and so they keep their pack and its existence a tightly held secret. This forces Kris to remain close by Rafe, never venturing far from his side or pack lands.
Poor Kris, so many decisions to make, so many obstacles in the way, and so many doubts; the chief one being the fear that his relationship with Rafe would be merely based on lust—the incontrollable pull of the mating bond and not a true loving relationship. Unfortunately with Kris’ ongoing reluctance, Rafe’s frustrations begin to surface and the ever-widening gulf between what each wants seems to grow.
“I don’t understand why this is so hard. It shouldn’t be this hard, should it? I mean all I want to do is love you. Why must I have the answers to the mysteries of the universe to be allowed to do that? Why must I be forced to predict the future to have a chance to be with you?”
The Wolfing Way veers sharply away from what I consider to be a formulaic approach to the paranormal and then gives it a subtle twist. The story is engaging and the author’s deft handling of establishing a world upon which she can build future stories is clever and entertaining. We never get bogged down in detail after endless detail about this world, rather Laine incorporates tidbits about the new world into her story line seamlessly.
Her characters are genuinely kind to one another. Thankfully there is no primal fierceness that is often the hallmark of a paranormal story. Don’t get me wrong—there is hot passion and fierce loyalty that ends in some violence—but that violence is muted and the affect makes for a better, more enjoyable character driven story.
Perhaps the real and only drawback in the story is in the words themselves.
Laine’s characters and their way of speaking to one another seemed stilted. While I realize her lycans are over 200 years old, their terminology—things like addressing Kris as “my mate” seems forced and out of character. The dialogue was a bit more inclined to hearken back to the tired and trite ways that most paranormal stories seem to run these days. However, this was a minor flaw in what is a compelling and rich storyline that I hope to see continue.
I look forward to reading more in this new series by Susan Laine. If The Wolfing Way is any indication of how this series will proceed, I must go on record s stating that I am a fan already!