Oh…okay, so I need to start out by saying this is the fourth book in a series and you need to read the previous ones for this one to be fully enjoyed. While I think any reader of Klune’s will probably love this book, the many callbacks to the previous stories won’t be as thoroughly relished if you read this book, first.
And, then, I have to say that I eagerly anticipated this book—pretty much for a year since I finished Heartsong. Okay, also, there might be some spoilers for previous stories in this review, to give context. And the name Brothersong one hundred percent embodies the prose.
Disclaimers complete, I absolutely loved this ending of the Green Creek series.
Carter Bennett is the eldest brother of his family of wolf shifters. He’s known his whole life that he is a beta and bound to serve and protect his two younger brothers, Kelly and Joe. Kelly is also a beta and Joe is an alpha, bound to Ox Matheson, the Werewolf Jesus and a wolf alpha who arose from a human. The Bennett pack is strongest in small-town Green Creek, Oregon, their home area which is a place of great power and deep magic. The humans of Green Creek know the secret of werewolves in their midst—a recent advent because enemies to the Bennett pack have come a-calling to attempt to kill the wolves. Now, the humans have positions as protectors to themselves, their town, and the wolves who also protect them.
For years, Carter had been followed by a feral timberwolf shifter, one who came with marauders but immediately turned allegiance upon encountering Carter. Neither truly understood the connection between them, especially as the timberwolf never shifted nor spoke in all the years he spent with the Bennetts, who treated him as one of their pack regardless. In the previous book everyone was quite surprised to learn the timberwolf was Gavin, the lost lovechild of Robert Livingstone, a powerful witch with an enormous grudge against the Bennett pack. Just as surprising was Gavin’s sacrifice to leave the battlefield with Livingstone in exchange for a détente, saving the Bennetts, particularly Carter, whom Livingston had been torturing and threatening to kill if Gavin did not agree.
And that’s when Carter realized that he and…Gavin, apparently, had a relationship. To this point, Carter had been 100% hetero, even though he’s a full-fledged member of the self-proclaimed gayest pack in North America. He didn’t recognize Gavin as male, per se, just as being…necessary to his emotional well-being. And he was summarily ripped away by Livingstone, Carter’s family’s biggest enemy.
Back in Green Creek and licking his wounds, Carter can’t settle. The void he feels now that his steadfast timberwolf is absent is too great, and he leaves on his own, cutting ties from the Bennett pack so they can’t track him down while he tracks Gavin. Gavin, who sacrificed everything to save him and the Bennetts. Gavin who happens to be Gordo Livingstone’s half-brother and the son of his family’s once-ally and now greatest enemy, Robert Livingstone.
It’s a rough year. Carter travels all over the country, it seems, looking in the most unlikely places, and finding spirits and people who have messages for Carter from Gavin. Carter can’t quit and he also can’t fully acknowledge that Gavin is his soul mate. At least not yet.
This is the end of a saga, and I will tell you that it ends happily. I will tell you that I couldn’t stop reading, and that I lost a lot of sleep over a weekend, to push on until the end. I will tell you that Carter is a humorous, self-deprecating narrator, and that his need for Gavin is the only need he’s ever felt that exceeds his need to take care of his brothers. His sense of family, and of pack, comprises the core of Carter’s entire being, and he is carved out from the inside when he begins tracking Gavin and cuts off his connection to Joe, Kelly and Ox. It’s hardest to be separated from Kelly, because—before Gavin—Kelly has been Carter’s tether to his humanity. Kelley is Carter’s first love—in a completely fraternal way. Carter is stunned at how many allies the Bennett pack can still count on to do the right thing: help destroy Livingstone. There is a battle, and there are casualties. I will also say that there is point at which it seems all will be lost, and the Bennett pack will be annihilated forever. Have faith, then, folks! Because there are also moments of joy and triumph, and the ending is most assuredly happy. Before we get to those points, however, Carter finally sees the truth of his life—both good and bad. He’s brutally honest with himself, and his loved ones. It’s hysterical how Carter’s brothers ride him about not knowing the how-to of ‘sex with dudes’. Gavin is a little bit of a jerk, in a good way, which allows Carter not to take himself too seriously. Their connection is very much emotional and metaphysical, but you can expect some physical sexytimes, as well.
While this is a love story, it is not only about a couple. It is also a celebration of family, of brotherhood, of love bonds that cannot be broken, even by death. The problems that have plagued the Bennetts over the past decades pretty much stem from the greed of Robert Livingstone, and misguided reactions to his manipulative decisions. Errors of judgement made by Carter’s father and his grandfather need to be atoned, and it seems as if accepting Gavin into the Bennett pack goes a long way to restoring the love he was denied as a child. It is love that heals the wounds of time and neglect, and it is love that eventually conquers the hate of Robert Livingstone.
The resolution to this saga is thorough. Memories of past stories echo throughout—again a reason to have read the previous books. If I could, I’d plan a trip to Green Creek to join the human contingent of the Bennett pack. Instead, I’ll just have to gather up my wadded tissues and be thankful to Papa Klune that they were mostly happy tears.