Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Gabby’s brain is like a human fish finder. It comes in handy when she wants to avoid people. Mostly men. They seem to like her a bit too much. It’s lonely being different, but she’s adapted to it. Really. She just wishes she knew why she is different, though.
In her search for answers, she discovers a hidden community of werewolves. She immerses herself in their culture, learning about their world until she meets Clay. He’s unkempt, prone to mood swings, intense without saying a word, and he thinks Gabby is his.
It’s going to take every trick she knows to convince Clay to go away, and every bit of willpower not to fall for him when she discovers the man beneath the rough exterior.
Not so long ago I read this author’s fairy tale retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I quite liked it so I decided to give this one a fair chance even though the synopsis made me already a bit apprehensive. I should have headed that feeling.
You get here an insta-love story between an insecure teenager with preternatural abilities and a young werewolf cutie who is basically a big dog of sorts until he isn’t (no, don’t think about it too long). His cuteness is his main redeeming factor. Clay knows Gabby is his mate – the one and only- as soon as he sniffs her divine musk. Still he doesn’t want to talk to her for a reason or two (a bonus in some situations I suppose but overall slightly annoying). What’s more, he moves in with Gabby and her housemate without any invitation from their part. Creepy? Nah. Clay is sweet and harmless (woof, woof) and one big asset as a crypto house mate: he can cook, fix cars and unplug the sink (when he is in his human form of course). He is also great as a warm blanket/comforter, a nurse, a bodyguard and a perfect date when Gabby needs it. I grant it: the romance is sloooow – they start kissing near the end. Slow is good and it’s one good thing which allowed me to finish the book. The second was the narration from Gabby’s POV which was skillfully done; those two highlights saved this book from my ‘a total failure’ badge. Now a bit about the unpleasantries.
The structure of the novel made me vince more than once. First, it was basically one big introduction to the series without any deeper world build. Second, I hate it when the main lead has some abilities but they disappear from time to time because it is more convenient for the plot. It is tantamount to cheating and here it happened twice: in case of Gabby and in case of Clay. We learn the girl is irresistible to all human males and then we are shown that in some moments she isn’t; Clay is one dangerous werewolf until he turns into a big fluffy dog (wasn’t he supposed to be a wolf ?) and starts
stalking courting his beloved. WTF?
Overall the premise of this one made me feel deeply uncomfortable and for several reasons. You are introduced to a vulnerable teen girl, an orphan, who can attract constant unwanted male attention never understanding why. Then she meets an older man who belongs to a secret, tight-knit group; the man claims he understands her problems (don’t they all? Always?) and he wants to help her (sure dude, whatever – just show me the hook). Then he insinuates himself into her life never telling her the whole truth behind his motivations (she might not understand him, right?). Finally the girl moves in with him (no officials involved, how strange) and immediately, like after mere eight hours or so, she is forced to attend a meeting of that group of his. They happen to be dangerous werewolves. She has to promise she will be going there on a regular basis even if it is clear she doesn’t want to because she is not a were. And yet she has to – it is allegedly done for her own good but still nobody explains her all the implications. Like the fact that they want her to be mated to one of the werewolves. So, basically, married against her will while she is still in her teens.
I don’t know about you but I detect the horrible stench of a sect. Imagine a vulnerable child being manipulated, dragged to an isolated location and forced to take part in strange sexual rituals from the age of 16. During these meetings she is exposed to several males who are to decide whether she is a proper match for them even though the girl has repeated over and over again that she currently doesn’t want to date, mate or marry anyone…finally she is paired with an older guy who is a kind of savage – he doesn’t cut his hair, he doesn’t shave or wash, he doesn’t talk, he is an outcast and a loner… Romantic? Not for me.
If it was a horror I would perhaps like it much better. Perhaps. As paranormal romance it left me and totally disgruntled, sometimes even horrified. I don’t think I will continue this series. Lower strata of meh.
Other books by this author reviewed on this blog: