Rating: 1.5 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | All Romance
On the hunt for the young page-turned-hostage who escaped, Euan and his men are taken by surprise in the woods when a pack of wolves attacks. Able to find shelter in a nearby tree, Euan listens, helpless, as each of his men is taken down by the beasts. Then, in a shocking turn of events, one of the wolves transforms into a woman who talks Euan out of the tree and into giving himself over to the wolves. She says his men are safe, all but one who fell wrong and broke his neck, and that when he heals from his bite, he and his men will be one of the pack. When the pack promises to take care of his people, Euan swears fealty to the Alpha and learns the ways of this new people.
When Tristan was captured along with his lord, he was carrying information for the church to be delivered upon arrival to their stronghold in Scotland, but when a band of men and women overtook them, Tristan plotted and executed a quick escape. Initially determined to deliver the package he was given, Tristan is swayed against it as he makes his way back to England only to witness the way the church treats the people they proclaim to love. Months later, Tristan finds himself back in Scotland and still in possession of the information, which he has yet to open.
Captured once again by the man he ran from, Tristan hands over the information. Even if he wasn’t held captive, Tristan would be hard pressed not to follow Euan home, the attraction between them so strong. When the secrets of the information Tristan passed along is revealed, Euan, Tristan, and the pack discover the real threat from the church and plot their path to freedom.
I have a weakness for men in kilts, and that weakness is what initially attracted me to this book. Let that be a lesson to you. It certainly was to me. From the blurb to the actual events in this book, His Highland Wolf is all around messy and confusing. The storytelling is stilted and choppy. I think that has a lot to do with the timeline and how spread out it is with very little consequence to the story.
The blurb leads off with “In the early 1600’s, Scotland is in turmoil after the failed Gunpowder Plot.” Yet this “Gunpowder Plot” is never mentioned, neither is the time period. The author expects readers to know what this historical event is without ever explaining what has actually happened, which is irritating, to say the least.
And then there’s the whole Euan searching for Tristan and being turned into a wolf thing. It’s very confusing. I’m still unsure of how the events played out. One moment, he’s hovering in a tree lamenting the fact that he’s on the hunt—alone, since he had to send his men with the caravan—for the escapee, and the next he’s being attacked by wolves, with his men by his side. The facts and actions blend together in that particular scene in a way that is very odd and very confusing.
The premise of this story is decent, but poorly executed. The plot is both predictable and boring. The conflict is both weak and unsupported. There is not enough background as to why the church has it out for the wolves or how they know of their existence in the first place. And how in the world they found out where they were located.
I don’t dislike Euan or Tristan, but the fact is there is not a lot of character development. I felt no connection to either character. Euan goes from leader of a ragtag bunch of guys to a wolf in little to no time. He accepts the change and converts to the wolfie way of life quickly, although we as readers don’t get to see that transformation. And Tristan has strong ties to the church in the beginning but quickly sheds those. I’m confused as to why it’s so easy for him to turn away from the only foundation he’s ever known. Is it possible to be part of the church for so long and not know the way it treated its people so much that it tears him away from everything he’s ever thought to be true? I just didn’t find either of the main character’s journeys very believable or engaging.
The world in this story is poorly structured. I get the land of Scotland. I can even picture it, but the world of the wolf is sort of skimmed over. The rules are vaguely outlined. Like that of mates. We don’t learn of mates until nearly the end of the book and even then it’s just a couple lines. The structure of the pack is laid out in less than a paragraph and not to describe the roles, but to tell which character held which role. I couldn’t seem to lose myself in this world, which is disappointing.
Overall, I simply did not have a good experience with this book. I can see the appeal, but this story just needed more. More characterization, more storytelling, more conflict and plot, and more world building. Unfortunately, it’s not a book that I would recommend.