Rating: 3.5 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

 

Justin’s life is in shambles and he hopes a run in the woods will suffice for running away. But when he’s attacked, Justin wakes up confused and injured to find a pretty, naked man talking to him. Justin is shocked to learn that he’s now a werewolf, and when the man, Bjarni, offers him help, Justin has no choice but to take it. Though he’s worried and scared, Justin also feels safe with Bjarni and with the pack leader, Bjarni’s brother Thorstein.

Justin slowly begins to trust the werewolves, but especially Bjarni. Thorstein is nurturing and caring, but Bjarni is there to care for Justin. The attraction between Justin and Bjarni is a sticking point though. Justin doesn’t want to get involved with a man who can’t want him back, and Bjarni has a lot of things to work through before he can accept a relationship with Justin.

However, the person who attacked Justin is still out there and he won’t be stopped. As Bjarni learns to accept who he is and he and Justin embark on a relationship, the threat is hanging over their heads. But Bjarni is determined to keep Justin safe, and he’ll do whatever it takes to protect the man he loves.

Nicole Silver is a new-to-me author, but the blurb on this one was intriguing enough to have me pick it up. This book was a bit of a mixed bag for me. While I thought the world building was inventive and creative, with a twist on the usual werewolves we see, the narrative style didn’t always work for me. And though the book is touted as a standalone and mostly works that way, I got the distinct feeling it was part of a larger series. It turns out it is; the first is an MF title and, while I don’t think it’s necessary to have read that book to enjoy this one, it definitely would have added something to the experience had I read it.

Before I go any further, be aware that this book deals with some heavy themes, including mentions of self harm, suicidal ideation, and rape, homophobia, and religious trauma, to name a few. Make sure you check out the content warnings in the front of this book if you need to.

I liked the MCs a lot. Justin is down on his luck and dealing with past family and religious trauma. He’s broken down and wants to escape. Being attacked and injured is both traumatic and possibly his saving grace. Bjarni has his own trauma to deal with, especially abuse at the hands of his father. He definitely isn’t perfect, and he messes up, especially where Justin is concerned. Both MCs are flawed and real, which I really enjoyed. Despite the breakneck speed with which they fell in love, their connection leaps off the page and I was rooting for them to work things out and be together.

I also really liked the world building and the unusual twist on werewolves. Werewolves here are, it seems, made instead of born and they refer to the “thing” that makes them able to change as a symbiont. It’s also a slow process to find your wolf shape, and new wolves are often moon-drunk and moon-mad, without remembering much of their first few, or more, full moons. They also don’t change into wolves, but more like wolf/human hybrids. While the details aren’t incredibly forthcoming, it was an interesting take on the whole shifting thing and not something we see very often. So that gave the story an extra something that I enjoyed.

However, the narrative style didn’t always work for me. There are some strange time jumps, skipping over information that I would have liked to see. This information is later revealed in conversation as though it’s a known fact, or perhaps with an added mention of a conversation that wasn’t on page. For me, this took something away from the overall storytelling, as I felt as though I was missing key details.

Despite how much I liked the MCs and their relationship, they go from zero to sixty without much showing either. Yes, the connection was there, but when they were declaring their love for each other at the midway point and without even spending that much time together, it was hard for me to get on board with that particular aspect. This book requires a level of suspension of disbelief that didn’t always work for me. I’m willing to go a long way with fiction, but there were moments in this book that were a step too far for me.

So, as I said, this book was a mixed bag. Parts of it I really enjoyed and was invested in. But other moments pulled me from the story and didn’t work as well. The storytelling was a bit sparse at points, and the narrative style didn’t always work. But the cast of characters is good, the world interesting, and the MCs believable in a lot of ways. I would cautiously recommend this to anyone who is a huge fan of paranormal and looking for something a little different.