Rating: 4.25 stars
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Jasper is an incubus who can’t hunt. Or rather he can, but he refuses to do so. Humans are drawn to him against their will and Jasper can’t stand the idea of feeding from someone who isn’t in full control of themselves. It’s not a problem most incubi have, but Jasper’s resistance to feeding is slowly killing him. In an act of desperation, he seeks out the help of a witch, who tells him of a mountain flower that might sate his hunger. But the flower poisons Jasper and leaves him near death.
Caleb is a bear shifter whose hibernation has been slow to respond to the arrival of spring. He’s lonely and, despite his desire to live in the forest far from others, he still wants a partner. When Caleb finds Jasper unconscious, instinct propels him to help the man, to heal him. Despite his best efforts, Jasper finds himself falling for the gruff, taciturn Caleb. But how can he know if Caleb’s obvious attraction is real or just a by-product of Jasper’s incubi nature? Only devotion and time will determine if Jasper and Caleb are meant to be or simply victims of biology.
Poisonwood is quick read, but it does a good job of offering readers a fairly comprehensive story. The characters are sweet and well suited to one another and, while the plot didn’t always make a ton of sense, the overall effect was charming enough that I didn’t particularly mind.
Jasper and Caleb are both relatable and their romance, while rushed, worked because of their strength as a couple. Neither is as well defined I would have liked and there needed to be a bit more evolution to their situation, but given the rather contrived scenario into which they were thrown, their love story worked. Both men are isolated for different reasons and that isolation binds them. It could have become their only defining feature, but the authors did a good job helping them to evolve past this. They’re unique in their own paranormal ways and that allowed them to stand out from the crowd, which I appreciated.
The story in Poisonwood is, by turns, forced and silly. While the wider world building was intriguing, the actual measures taken to bring Jasper and Caleb together were ridiculous. It didn’t feel particularly natural and it weakened the story.
I enjoyed Poisonwood on the whole. It had its problems, but Jasper and Caleb were strong enough characters to save it from becoming forgettable. They worked well as a couple and their distinctive paranormal natures gave Poisonwood some needed variety. If you’re looking for contemporary paranormal with an engaging coupe, I think you’ll enjoy Poisonwood.