Story Rating: 3.75 stars
Audio Rating: 2.75 stars
Narrator: Dan Calley
Length: 6 hours, 50 minutes
Zio’s pack is at war and has been for a long time. With the death of their healer, and Zio’s close friend, things seem hopeless and the healer’s death sends Zio into a spiral. But he is a solider and, though he needs a break, he will continue to fight for the safety of his pack.
Devan is a shifter of the Shadow Clan and a trained healer, both as a human and after he was changed. At the request of his alphas, he heads to London to join the Northern Pack to act as their healer and keep them alive as they fight for their lives. An encounter with an unknown wolf in a club rocks his world, but Devan’s there for a purpose and he can’t dwell on it.
But the moment Devan and Zio meet, they realize they were together in the club. Their connection is instant, powerful, and overwhelming. But they know they can’t act on it, as Zio is a wolf and Devan is not. Yet they can’t deny their connection.
As the Northern Pack continues to fight, Devan pushes his abilities to the limit healing and caring for the pack. All the while, his draw to Zio gets stronger. Devan may know why, but he doesn’t explain, and when the truth comes out, the alphas give Devan and Zio strict orders. But Devan and Zio have a connection that goes deeper than anyone realizes, and only with help from the Shadow Clan can the northern pack, and Devan and Zio, survive.
I’m a huge fan of shifter books, so I was quick to pick up this audiobook for review. Unfortunately, it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. First, I want to break down the story, and then I’ll address the audio portion.
While I enjoy Leigh’s writing in general, the world building in this story didn’t work incredibly well for me. I felt a lot was lacking, making things confusing and, at times, I felt lost. The author takes keeping the reader in the dark to a level that goes too far. Instead of building tension, it makes things confusing. Certain aspects were glossed over or missing entirely, and these holes left me wondering how exactly things worked. I don’t need every detail explained, but I need more information than we got. There was a definite difference between the types of shifters, and it was clear that Devan’s type of shifter was vastly different than a wolf shifter. But these were only explained on the surface and it just had to be taken at face value. It was also unclear as to why there was a war between the packs in the first place, and the fact that the Shadow Clan couldn’t help was unexplained. On top of that, the Shadow Clan itself was a big mystery, and there were definite missing pieces. Ultimately, the best way I can explain it is that I felt like I was missing a previous book, or several, but none exist.
That all being said, what did work for me was Zio and Devan. Their connection sparked and sizzled, and their chemistry was apparent. I liked that the author spent time making sure the reader got to know both of them. Zio is hurting, and he’s a loose cannon in a lot of ways. But he’s loyal and fierce and he will do anything for his pack. Devan is kind, big hearted, and gentle. His morals are unimpeachable and he will do the right thing. These guys worked well for each other because they balanced each other out. And since it took them time to even realize what was going on, and knowing that ultimately they did have the choice to walk away from each other if that’s what they wanted, it made their connection even stronger.
But this isn’t just a book about two shifters with a potential mate bond. There is a war going on and there are battles, blood, injury, and death depicted on page. I think the author did a good job walking the line of showing just how harsh the reality these characters lived truly is without it becoming too much. It leant a sense of urgency and tension to the narrative that really drove the story alongside the two MCs’ struggles.
Now as for the audio. Unfortunately, the narration on this did not work for me. Calley has a deep, smooth voice that is very soothing to listen to. The problem is that, for me, it didn’t fit the story at all. As I said, there’s a sense of urgency and tension to this story, both as a war is raging and as the MCs are in a constant push/pull with their developing relationship. None of this was portrayed in the narration. There was hardly any inflection at all. While the characters did have individual voices, the whole thing was read in a monotone that left me feeling nothing of what I should have. It also made it difficult to know when the characters were thinking instead of speaking. The lack of inflection and urgency made it so it was easy for my mind to wander instead of being gripped by the story.
If you’re looking for a shifter story with characters destined to mate, then I’d cautiously recommend this book. But pick it up in ebook and skip the audio.