Story Rating: 4.25 stars
Audio Rating: 4.5 stars

Narrator: Michael Dean
Length: 6 hours, 12 minutes

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

Meshaq is the alpha of the hellhounds, the champions of the fire goddess and protectors of the paranormal world. His job is to lead his pack and keep the secret of the magical world from the regular humans. Meshaq runs a bar, Hair of the Dog, where he employs his pack, as well as a few humans he considers his. Meshaq has a penchant for collecting strays who need help, so when he sees a fear-stricken man enter the bar, it makes sense that he immediately wants to help.

Drew’s life has turned upside down. Everything was perfectly normal until a few weeks ago when a creepy, seemingly violent man started stalking him. When the man showed up at Drew’s apartment, Drew knew he had to run. Desperate, out of gas and money, he ends up at Hair of the Dog. Drew is leery of trusting the big man who offers help, but he’s also strangely drawn to Meshaq.

Meshaq convinces Drew that he wants nothing more than to help him, and has Drew come to his home. Drew doesn’t understand why he feels safe with Meshaq and his pack, but as the days go on, he’s drawn even more to Meshaq. Meshaq wants nothing more than to provide and take care of Drew. It’s not readily apparent, but Meshaq realizes that Drew is his mate, a very rare thing in their world these days.

But there are dark forces in the world, and some of them want Drew. It’ll take the help of friends and the pack to keep him safe. Not to mention, Meshaq and Drew’s mating opens whole new possibilities no one expected.

The Hellhound Champions series is a spin off of Macy Blake’s Chosen One series, and the first three books intermingle timeline and storyline wise within the five books of that series. Because of that, these books are best enjoyed in the suggested order on the author’s website. It makes the most sense and gives the most complete picture of the metaplot. For those of you who have been following along with my audio reviews, this one goes back in time.

There was a lot I loved about this story, and it all stems from Meshaq. He’s the quintessential alpha, in that his main goal is to take care of the people under his care. I love his penchant for collecting strays, and I love the way he throws himself wholeheartedly into protecting and caring for them. He’s big, he’s a badass, but he’s also got a huge heart to go along with it. He’s also completely dedicated to his goddess and his mission. Really, he’s just all around the kind of hero that deserves the title.

Drew is terrified when he first shows up on page, and he has no idea the paranormal world even exists, let alone that he’s caught up on in. I liked the way Blake used Drew as a way to convey information to the reader, and I really liked that the author gives Drew time to get used to the idea of everything going on, while also not making it completely difficult for him to understand. Once Drew gets it, he’s all in, and I loved that the fated mates aspect felt natural for these two MCs. Their love blooms quickly, but it’s easy to go with.

Drew steps into the alpha-mate role easily and quickly, and I loved that he felt he had a sense of purpose. But their mating sets off a chain of events no one expected. Magic is already changing in the world, and this mating seems to put certain pieces into play that moves things along in the over arching plot. This is a big reason why these books should be enjoyed in the suggested order, as I mentioned above. Otherwise, while the story is understandable, it feels as if certain information is missing.

I’ve listened to every audio release for this world, and out of all of them, this one just might be my favorite. Now, I’ve said that a few times in the more recent listens, but I think it’s because the narrator has really honed into the characters and continues to improve with each book I listen to. Dean, as always, has a great narration voice that’s lovely to listen to. But here, more than any others, the voices given to the characters are distinct and consistent. I also felt that the emotion and performance for every scene fit the tone of that scene incredibly well. That’s the main problem I’ve had with some of the others: inconsistency in voices and tone. But Dean nails it here, and I truly enjoyed listening. Despite having read the book before listening, I was utterly wrapped up in the story while hearing the audiobook.

I’m a fan of this series, this complex and ever-expanding world Blake has created, and the multitude of characters. These books are an easy recommendation for all paranormal fans, and I wouldn’t hesitate to tell you to pick up the audiobooks if you’re so inclined.

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