Quinn grew up in a small town, raised by his aunt after his parents died. He has always been fascinated by shifters, and as a kid learned all he could about them. When a shifter pack moves into the woods outside of town, Quinn is definitely intrigued, though many of the locals aren’t happy to have shifters living nearby.
Kellen has moved to Quinn’s town with his pack, and as with everywhere they go, the group faces prejudices from those who hate shifters. When he meets Quinn, Kellen is immediately drawn to him, particularly by Quinn’s unusual scent. The two men get to know one another, spending hot summer evenings together swimming, and soon progressing into more.
Quinn and Kellen are forming a strong bond, but it is hard knowing it can never be more. Quinn is human and pack law forbids mating with humans. Not only that, but with a rogue omega on the loose, the locals are looking toward Kellen’s pack as the culprits. If they can’t figure out who is behind the animal attacks soon, the pack will have to leave town and that means leaving Quinn behind as well. The two man face an impossible situation, but that doesn’t stop the pair from falling for one another. Now, they need to hope that there is a way they can still be together.
I enjoy Jay Northcote’s writing so I was was excited to see his foray into the paranormal shifter genre with The Half Wolf. This is an entertaining story with some unique elements and two likable main characters.
Here we are in a world where humans and shifters co-exist, but not always peacefully. With a history of conflict between humans and shifters, most humans don’t want shifters around and so Kellen’s pack must move from place to place, never finding anywhere to settle long term. I liked this take on shifter lore, the idea of the two species aware of each other, but not always in harmony. I could have used with a bit more world building here, particularly with regard to these past conflicts as they still seemed to play such a role in current problems between humans and shifters, but I think overall it was interesting.
The relationship between Kellen and Quinn happens fast and pretty easily. This is not a fated mates story, but the two fall fast and hard, though we do see them spending multiple evenings getting to know one another. I think things were a little too quick and simple for me to fully connect with them, but I found them both likable and myself rooting for them to make it work. I will say that while both of these men were in their 20s (I believe 20 and 24), they read as much younger to me, almost like teenagers. Not that they were particularly immature, but I honestly kept forgetting they were supposed to be grown men based on the way they behaved and interacted with their family and friends. That didn’t necessarily detract from the story, but for whatever reason these guys just didn’t feel like adults to me.
Northcote builds in some key conflicts here, namely that Kellen can’t mate with a shifter and the rogue omega on the loose. I think these play out well, though somewhat easily. Even with the conflicts, the story just has a light and easy way about it and things never feel too intense, even at the climax. I think one issue here is the mystery of what is going on with Quinn. The answer is basically given away by the title, and so while the first part of the book is focused on why he feels so strange, combined with the conflict over the fact that he is not a shifter, as readers we pretty much already know the the basics of what is going on. Not the how or why of it all, which are revealed in an interesting way later in the story. But definitely the what is clear from the start, even if not with specifics. So while the characters are struggling to figure out what is happening, I felt like they were kind of playing catch up with what we as readers already knew, which took some of the intensity out of it for me. That said, I do think the storyline ends up in a really interesting place and I liked how Northcote pulled all of this together, both in the relationship, as well as the ultimate plot resolution.
So this is a nice stop in the paranormal world for Northcote and I enjoyed the story. I think things are little light and easy here, and at times I wanted more depth in world building and conflict. But if you are looking for a fun, sexy shifter story with a bit of a new take on the genre, I would definitely check out The Half Wolf.