Story Rating: 3.75 stars
Audio Rating: 4 stars

Narrator: Michael Dean
Length: 6 hours, 52 minutes

Audiobook Buy Links: Amazon/Audible | iBooks
Book Buy Links: Amazon | iBooks

Sawyer and his guardians are settling into life as mates, but they know danger is on the horizon. They just don’t realize it’s closer than they think. After an unexpected attack, Sawyer agrees to head to the griffin compound with his mates. Eduard points out that at least there, things are isolated and they are able to better protect Sawyer while they sort things out. On top of that, they need to start introducing Sawyer to the rest of the paranormal world, and starting with the griffins seems smart. If they can get Eduard’s father on their side, it will go a long way.

After a rocky start, and a lot of tension, things seem to be settling down. But in one scary moment, everything changes. Sawyer is kidnapped, and Draco, Eduard, Andvari, and Henry are desperate to get to him. Sawyer, in need of help, finds the next guardian. It’s a race to discover the culprit, and new problems are revealed. No one is safe, and it’s only going to get worse.

Nothing Ventured is the second book in the Chosen One series, and the five main books do need to be read in order, as this book builds on the major plot line. As with all the books in the series, it’s not without its problems. But it’s also a fun read, with humor, sass, and a lot of heat. I really enjoy the world Blake has created, and it’s immersive and well developed.

In these chronologically earlier books, there are some minor inconsistencies in the world building that tweak my brain. It’s nothing huge, really, but it catches my attention. But there are small things, like the way something works magically seems to change from book to book, or even later on in the same book. Or something is shown earlier, but then relayed differently later. For the most part, it’s easy to go with it, though, and let these things flow over me.

Sawyer has now stepped into his role as the Chosen One, and I liked watching him find his strength in that role. There’s a lot that Sawyer and the rest don’t know yet, and they are trying to find their way. Sawyer has to step up and lead, and Draco, Henry, Andvari, and Eduard are all too happy to follow. As long as they can keep Sawyer safe, that is. There’s also a little more of a harem feel to this novel, as Sawyer is more centered in the relationship and the way all five men relate to each other.

Of course, it’s not possible to protect someone 100% of the time unless they live in a bubble, and so things are set in motion here. Sawyer is kidnapped and tortured, and only barely manages to escape. It’s a good vehicle to introducing the next guardian, Saeward, and really allowing the reader to get to know him. Ward, as they all call him most of the time, is a broken kind of character, a big, shy, giant of a man and a special kind of shifter. He makes a nice contrast with the rest of the mates. One of the things I really like in this series is how Blake manages to bring in so many different personality types with all the mates and make them all work together. It takes work, but each character has their role and fulfills it well.

Michael Dean does a pretty good job narrating this book. Once again, Dean’s smooth narrative style is easy to listen to. The emotion behind the performance is spot on for the most part, and really elevates the scenes. The character voices are well defined, though at times they do blend a little too easily. While Sawyer and Henry are always distinctive, the rest of the mates sometimes slide to be a little bit too similar. It also seems to take a bit for Ward’s voice to really settle, but I like the emotion behind it, and it fits well with the character. I’m also not the biggest fan of the way Dean handles female characters, in particular Viv. That being said, however, Eduard’s cousins are done decently well.

Overall, I’m really enjoying listening to this series, and it’s adding a new dimension to the series for me. I recommend checking it out if you’re looking for a paranormal series to listen to.