Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | All Romance
Werewolf Napoleon Charming is anything but; he is funny, arrogant, entitled, self-depreciating, and unabashedly gay. OK, maybe he is a little charming. Napoleon meets Sixten Dahl, heir to the Uppsala pack, a seemingly straight boy and a cock-tease. Napoleon is smitten with the arrogant, confusing, and gorgeous Sixten.
Napoleon and Sixten’s relationship can be summed up by the following:
Monumental Occasions Number One: Sixten’s flirting and frottage at a rave leaves Napoleon hot and frustrated.
Monumental Occasions Number Two: Sixten expressing pleasure that Napoleon’s first ever date was a flop, topped with a little more flirting, leaves Napoleon speechless.
Monumental Occasions Number Three: The final straw. Flirting and teasing are one thing. A kiss and run in the forest is beyond acceptable. Napoleon Charming is no one’s test subject.
Sadly, a blind date the night after the rave leads nowhere. Napoleon is still flustered by Sixten’s behavior, and then when he finds out that his date, Ben, is leaving for the rest of the summer, Napoleon figures that is it for them (not that there was much of a spark to begin with). Both Napoleon and best friend Moused have been accepted to colleges in New York City and leave Nowhere, AZ behind. While touring the NYU campus, the boys run into Ben again and soon become fast friends.
Ben would like a second chance, and may have had one if Sixten hadn’t shown up unannounced. Before leaving home, Napoleon wisely told Sixten to speak to his parents about what he wanted for a change. Too bad going to Columbia University and staying at the brownstone with Napoleon and others is the end result. Minutes into this stay, Sixten appears to be staking his claim.
The local pack representative wants Napoleon to keep his homosexuality under wraps, and the pack counsel is not happy that Napoleon is living in a vampire-owned home. Napoleon is surprised by the discovery that the tolerance he experienced at home for being gay is not what he will find in New York. He never expected that and his living arrangements and sexuality would be cause for concern with the local pack.
As Napoleon continues to have trouble with Sixten, Ben comes up with “project run away.” The plan: whenever Sixten flirts or makes any kind of move, Napoleon is to counter it with a more aggressive move of his own, in order to make Sixten run away as fast as he can. After a disastrous dinner cooked by Moused, Sixten tries his old game again. A steak dinner on the rooftop patio, a shared plate, Napoleon’s choice of movie, and some obvious physical contact — what does it mean? When Sixten mentions that he can’t stop thinking about their kiss by the lake, Napoleon has finally had enough and makes his feelings on the subject abundantly clear: he will not tolerate Sixten’s flirting and teasing advances, his ego and heart just can’t handle it.
There was something sweet about Napoleon, the only gay person in his small pack, inexperienced and somewhat naive. Sixten, on the other hand, may be the hottest thing around but external beauty cannot justify his flirtatious behavior. Napoleon may be a fool, but he is an innocent fool, while Sixten just comes across as cruel. It may be that Sixten is confused or feels pressure from those around him, which causes him to behave this way but regardless, it it unfair to Napoleon. Napoleon would do anything to get away from Sixten, but who is the real Sixten? He is everything to everyone but is he true to himself?
I did notice is that some of the characters are not particular developed in comparison to Napoleon, Sixten, and the gang of secondary characters. Seeing that this is a standalone novella in a series, I know the lack of detail is because these other character’s stories have been addressed in previous books. Surprisingly, their lack of detail in Napoleon did not detract from the story since the character interaction and conversations with and about these other individuals helped fill the gaps.
The flow of the story was erratic at first, feeling more like a conversation where Napoleon’s speech and thoughts flitted around like a butterfly. The narrative style smoothed out as the story progressed and overall, the first person narrative and the “telling” worked and endeared me to Napoleon. I also enjoyed the quotes at the beginning of each chapter, taken from the chapter itself. They set the tone and it was kind of fun to come across it while reading.
Napoleon and Sixten are werewolves but fair warning, this is not really a werewolf story. We hear about the packs and the full moon run is strongly implied, but they are not front and center in the story. Honestly, I did not feel anything was missing, as the book was strong enough without the typical werewolf details.
I had no trouble integrating myself into Napoleon’s world and liked the solid multi-dimensional characters. I also liked how the characters referred to past events in passing which makes me want to investigate the previous books in the series, as Mells successfully crafted a standalone story in Napoleon.