as the raven flies audio coverStory Rating: 4 stars
Audio Rating: 4 stars

Narrator: Greg Boudreaux
Length: 3 hours, 2 minutes

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

Dire wolf Michael Kashto made it very clear in the past just how much he disliked raven shifter, Abe Williams. Now, Abe is stuck working with Michael, as the two men are on temporary bodyguard duty protecting new Baltimore Roger, Kennedy Ferguson. However, worse than Michael’s previous arrogant dislike of Abe is the fact that now the man has changed his tune and insists that the pair are fated mates. Raven shifters don’t have fated mates, and Abe certainly doesn’t want one who was so unfriendly when they first met. However, Michael insists that the two are meant to be together and that his initial dislike of Abe was due to his shifter being thrown off at finding his mate. And that Abe is the only one that Michael will ever want from now on.

Abe can admit to finding Michael attractive, but he is still wary about getting involved. However, the guys have plenty of other things to worry about as Kennedy’s life seems to be in constant danger since she has taken over as a Roger. Many people have it out for her, hoping to get her out of the way and take over her new position. But the shades seem the most dangerous and difficult to stop. When the men find themselves with their own lives on the line, it gives Abe a new perspective. Now, he may just realize that not only does he want Michael in his life, but he may want to keep him forever.

As the Raven Flies is a short novel set within Meghan Maslow’s entertaining Charm City Chronicles series. The story was originally published as part of the multi-author Fated Mates anthology. Now that the anthology is out of print, Maslow has re-released the story independently in both ebook and audio formats. This one does have a little more of a standalone element than the other two books in the series, likely because it was part of the anthology. While it is very much set in the world of the series, the action is a bit more removed. That said, I think readers totally unfamiliar with the Charm City Chronicles may feel a little lost on the world building and the politics here, so I do think this story will be best enjoyed by series fans.

This story has somewhat of an enemies-to-lovers vibe, at least on Abe’s end. Michael has been unfriendly to him in the past and Abe is still angry about it. So with Michael now declaring they are fated mates, Abe wants nothing to do with him. Michael works his charm, however, showing Abe how strongly he feels and how much he has changed. This is a fated mates story, and part of their early relationship appears in a prior book, so some of the attraction is just taken as a given from Michael’s end, rather than really shown. But I did like the dynamic between the men and the way Michael is patient and understanding as Abe sorts out his feelings. There is a nice resolution for the men personally, and it all fits nicely within the series world.

This is a bit of a side quest in terms of the plot, but it still ties in with some of the larger series arcs. We know that Kennedy is being targeted and the shades are presenting danger from the prior book. Most of the story is relationship focused, but we do get a lot of excitement toward the end with an intense car chase and large battle scene. Things resolve in the short term, but there are open threads that I assume will continue into the larger series.

I listened to this in audio with narrator Greg Boudreaux. I have been enjoying listening to this series quite a lot and Boudreaux does a nice job with the tone and the playfulness of the books. My only complaint here is Abe has a considerable accent and I found it wavered in and out quite a bit. He is the sole POV character, so I did find it distracting because it wasn’t consistent. Boudreaux is usually strong with accents, both in this series and other books I’ve listened to of his, so I found this unusual. But it really wavered a lot and pulled me out of the story on occasion. That said, if you enjoy audio, or have been listening to prior books in the series, I can still definitely recommend listening to this one in audio format.

I was glad to get a chance to check back in with this series and enjoyed watching Abe and Michael find their way together. This one is pretty short and sweet, but a nice fit within the larger series. It has definitely whet my appetite for more books set in this world.

Joyfully Jay