Rating: 3 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | All Romance | Amazon UK
Artist Rohn Sheldon lost his boyfriend and his right arm in a car crash two years ago. He fell into the bottle to try to cope and when he emerged, Rohn’s father had given him a chance to replace his art career with one in business. Stifled by the monkey-suit job and loosing his art, Rohn escapes to the family’s vacation home deep in the heart of Alaska.
As Rohn walks the pristine grounds, he sees an eagle soar overhead and follows it to the edge of a river. Near the edge of the surrounding wood, Rohn catches a glimpse of a mythical creature. Startled by the sight, Rohn slips and falls, crashing through the crust of ice and into the river. Water logged and going numb from cold, Rohn knows he’s in no condition to save himself—even if he’d had both his arms. Just before he succumbs to the inevitable, a sharp tug wrenches him around the middle.
Jrake, in yeti form, manages to save Rohn from the freezing waters—against his better judgment. If nothing else, Jrake knows that humans are dangerous trouble. Yet Jrake saved the weak, misshapen human. There was something powerful and compelling about the human, something that set it apart from other humans. Jrake is determined to see this human survive.
Upon waking, Rohn and Jrake quickly overcome their initial wariness to form a fiery bond that defies all logic, even as it consumes them. But how can a man and a yeti fall in love? Would Rohn have to give up the human world full of its gadgets of convenience and selfish way of life? Would Jrake ever consider leaving the free wilds of untamed Alaska? Is a mere man, is a mere yeti, strong enough to give the heart what it wants?
Alright, I picked up this story because I thought it might do good job of fitting the bill for the Genre Challenge for Reading Challenge Month as I wanted a story that featured a character with a physical disability or deformity. In that regard, this book nominally fits the bill. Rohn has lost a limb and it’s his dominant arm at that. However, what I was looking to get out of this challenge was an exploration into the emotions and catharsis of a man coming to terms with how his love life can/will/does coincide with whatever physical limitation he’s got. Or, to flip that around, to have the other partner prove whatever disability/disfigurement his lover has, it in no way means he is not worthy/capable of having exactly the kind of love life and happy life in general (hopefully with a deep emotional connection and steamy sex) that he deserves. Unfortunately, I didn’t think The Last Yeti really explored this specific aspect of relationship building.
On the plus side, it does a respectable job trying to portray Rohn as still-adjusting to his post-accident life. On page, we see him struggling with a phobia he’s developed over being touched. That is, physical touch, even in the form of a helping hand getting him out of a cramped airplane seat or if he’s tripped sends him into a panic attack. Vincent also shows how unacclimated Rohn is to his “new” body in that Rohn hasn’t yet learned how to automatically accommodate for various situations. As an example of what I’m talking about, there is a scene where Rohn’s laden with luggage and trying to operate a key card at a hotel room, but he hasn’t figured out how to juggle the luggage and get the door opened before the auto lock re-locks the door (the door lock obviously having been programmed for someone to use one hand to hold the key card and their other arm to operate the door knob/push open the door).
I also enjoyed reading about a non-traditional shifter—yeti. Vincent clearly plotted out the reality that faces yeti shifters and how their nature means they are, essentially, an endangers species. They are, by nature, solitary beings. Humans and human trappings like technology and industry disagree strongly with a yeti’s deep appreciation of the natural world. Jrake is definitely biased against humans thanks to events in his past and, until the events in this story unfold, does his utmost to keep himself separated from human life. There was potential here to have an enemies to lovers thread, but Vincent didn’t exploit this idea.
So, although I got a clear impression that Vincent really enjoys these main characters and tried to give them robust backgrounds, I thought it was a bit of a stretch bringing these two together romantically. Sparks fly, panties drop, sex is had. Sadly, Vincent doesn’t really explore the theme I was hoping for (the how-am-I-ever-going-to-be-loved-sporting-this-disability/disfigurement). That said, the author does splash some attention on what I might classify as PTSD issues: the fact that Rohn still sees the ruined face of his dead lover every time he gets intimate (even if only with his own hand). Even though it felt pretty formulaic, I appreciated that the author at least tries to address this point in that Jrake helps focus Rohn’s attention so Rohn can sever that mental image of his dead lover from his sex life. I wish the same courtesy had been paid to Rohn’s near-crippling fear of being touched, but alas, Rohn’s aversion to physical touch gets totally white-washed. He goes from staring daggers at a flight attendant who dared to offer to help him get out of a cramped airline seat and having a near panic attack when passersby tried to help him get to his feet after he face-planted by a baggage claim, to being totally chill with having full-blow sexual encounters with a near perfect stranger…and the only mention of his aversion to touch happens after said sexual encounters and sounds about like this: Golly, gee! I had a night of wild passion with this yeti shifter man and not once did I even come close to anything resembling a panic attack!
The biggest let down for me is how weak the premise for the love story is. It’s not exactly instal-love, but these two characters go from wary-as-hell of one another to declarations-of-love (either mentally or with The Look) in the span of about 24 hours. I didn’t feel there was nearly enough time to develop any meaningful connection between the two in that time…especially considering how, if this weren’t a romance, these two characters are coming from places that would never have them breathing the same airspace, let alone developing any sort of relationship. To reiterate, Rohn is still struggling to figure out life after losing an arm and getting back on his emotional feet after losing his lover and Jrake hates humans because they’re dirty, noisy, and committed an egregious act against his kind in his past.
If you’re looking for a mindless romp featuring a shifter and a injured human, then you’ll probably enjoy this story. You might even be satisfied with the set up of our tragic main characters and their myriad of issues. I, however, definitely felt the main story about these two people falling in love does not stand up to scrutiny, nor does it explore a deeper reasoning behind how/why they find a connection other than the author wanted them to.
**Note: This story was published by the MM Romance Group on Goodreads. If you are interested in reading this story, here is a link to the group and the story page (http://www.mmromancegroup.com/the-last-yeti-by-tully-vincent/). Yes, you have to become a member of the Goodreads group to get to the story. Also note: the story is posted over the comments.
This review is part of our September Reading Challenge Month for Genre Week! Leave a relevant comment below and you will be entered to win a fabulous prize from Less Than Three Press. Three lucky winners will each receive a selection of print books. Commenters will also be entered to win our amazing grand prize sponsored by Dreamspinner Press (a loaded Kindle fire filled with DSP books!). You can get more information on our Challenge Month here, and more details on Genre Week here. And be sure to check out our prize post for more about the awesome prizes!