Brilliant! And the best book I've read in a long time...
I'm not going to write a proper review, because there are several of them that are wonderful a...moreBrilliant! And the best book I've read in a long time...
I'm not going to write a proper review, because there are several of them that are wonderful and say everything that I could say. Plus, I felt so connected to this story and these characters that I feel as if this story took me in and spit me out. I'm all turned around, trying to organize my thoughts, but only thinking that this is the best book I've read of Eden's so far, which is saying quite a lot considering they're all wonderful and diverse.
What I will say are two thins that made this story extra special. What I first started reading was a story that I assumed I'd read before. There are no shortages books of the seedy underbelly of the streets and the endless cycle of victims it perpetuates. The pacing and characters swept me along, but somewhere around the last third, I started to see all the threads weaving together, forming a poignant story of redemption, courage and the contrast of goodness and evil and the choices we make to serve them.
Tying into that is the second, the characters. There are four first presented in dichotomous fashion: Jeremy and Noah, and Willie and Trent, but whose later choices blend them into a sort of hazy symmetry of the blindness of young love and the harsh reality of adult consequences. The further I read, the more excited I became watching these characters, learning bits about their past that shed light on who they are now. Noah, the star and narrator (also, the "Angel") holds the spotlight here, but it is Eden's character Willie, the antagonist, though in his own way maybe an anti-hero, who is perhaps most well written. This is most likely because he is seen through Noah's eyes, which is at one moment regretful and the other loving.
I could see the love for the characters and attention to detail so much in this book. Eden Winters has so much talent that I almost can't believe how much she grows from book to book, and this from a book near the beginning of her career... I can barely wait for the book she's yet to write.(less)
A smartly written werewolf paranormal about two very different characters with different lives, but without the knowledge of how to move in a...more4.5 stars
A smartly written werewolf paranormal about two very different characters with different lives, but without the knowledge of how to move in a werewolf relationship in common. I liked that the POV was from a good man triumphing over his baser urges with no knowledge of what it is to be a werewolf. The setting of Cambridge was like a main character, even to someone who has never visited. The choice to limit the knowledge of Julian's past was an interesting one and I thought, smart one. Deductive reasoning isn't difficult in this case, and serves to make Julian's sometimes strange behavior more stark against a regular 19 year old.
I've learned by now that I prefer JL Merrow's contemporaries, but her paranormals always surprise me, and certainly have until now served to give me a completely unique experience to count on.
Recommended to readers under the stipulation that they're not getting a typical paranormal m/m romance.(less)
This is one of the better Joyee Flynn books that I've read. There are still the old staples of her books, like giggly emotional twinks and strapping m...moreThis is one of the better Joyee Flynn books that I've read. There are still the old staples of her books, like giggly emotional twinks and strapping men that can't seem to let their mates walk anywhere, but sometimes I'm in the mood for that. And now, after reading many of Joyee Flynn's books, I know what to expect. Still, this story had more worldbuilding and interesting plot. I'm looking forward to reading Lust & Vamp.(less)
I didn't really feel the romance between these two men in the way that I'd hoped. I think that there was so much past history on...more2.5 stars (rounded up)
I didn't really feel the romance between these two men in the way that I'd hoped. I think that there was so much past history only superficially touched upon (between Jason and Danny) that the reunion didn't have the punch it could have. Still, not a bad read and I liked the setup of the town.(less)
Wow, I really like this world the author built. It is refreshingly stark and very focused on the power imbalance between the "beasts" and hum...more4.5 stars
Wow, I really like this world the author built. It is refreshingly stark and very focused on the power imbalance between the "beasts" and humans, as well as within the pack ranks itself. It is animalistic and pretty raw. I'm really looking forward to reading the rest of the series!(less)
I was expecting this to be really terribly dark and difficult to read, but I really liked it and was pleasantly surprised. It is a bit dark and there'...moreI was expecting this to be really terribly dark and difficult to read, but I really liked it and was pleasantly surprised. It is a bit dark and there's quite a bit of dubious consent, as almost all of the sex (and most of the book is sex) was really about power. It might be a bit much if this were 200 or 300 pages, but at around 60 pages, it went by quickly and I really enjoyed reading it.(less)
I've meant to read this for quite a while now. I originally put it off for the angst factor, but it ended up not being nearly as angsty as I expected....moreI've meant to read this for quite a while now. I originally put it off for the angst factor, but it ended up not being nearly as angsty as I expected. I liked both characters even though Charlie pissed me off sometimes, and I absolutely adored Gregory.
I think that there were two things that made this work for me, even though I did end the story thinking it was just very good, rather than wonderful:
1) The GFY plot is difficult to sometimes pull off, if I believe I'm supposed to take it seriously, in a story such as this. It does take a certain suspension of belief to get me to trust a character that was straight suddenly fall in love with a man. I think it can really only work (for me) if the man in question comes to terms that he might have been gay all along and is only, for some reason, now realizing it. That is, after all, something that does happen, if a gay man really doesn't want to admit for some reason or another that they're gay. And, looking at that from another direction, that does look an awful lot like GFY. So this part of the story worked for me and I enjoyed it.
2) I do sometimes get upset with contemporary romances because it feels like the story always starts after some traumatic event. Now, I realize it takes conflict and a place for a story to grow to push a plot forward, but I don't see how anyone could really argue with me that it seems like the more I read the more drastic these past traumas become. And then, as a consequence, the past traumas all seem to blur together for me and no matter how horrible something would be in real life, it ends up making less of an impact than it should.
Even though it wasn't really explored with any extent, the fact that a criminal plot was involved with this one and jail time did make Charlie's past differ for once from those other blurry characters and I felt like the ensuing drama for Charlie did in fact make more sense. Even though part of me wants to scoff a bit (which makes me feel a little heartless, I will admit) that Charlie's past has taken one more drastic measure over the others, I thought it was actually dealt with well and, in the end, I thought the author made it work. So, she made a believer of me, thankfully.
I'm excited now to read RJ's story, and then go back and read Josh and Laurence's prequel.(less)
Hmm, I enjoyed this story, though the first half much more than the last. The story was set up so wonderfully, but then I felt like it fizzled out a b...moreHmm, I enjoyed this story, though the first half much more than the last. The story was set up so wonderfully, but then I felt like it fizzled out a bit. It was set up to be so explosive, and then ended without much drama at all. It ended up leaving so much up in the air and I didn't really feel like much would be resolved in the long run. The freedom Ashton and Justice won seems only short-lived.(less)
I took a whole star off what I had planned to rate this story for the abrupt seeming ending. I never expected there to be no so...more2.75 stars (rounded up)
I took a whole star off what I had planned to rate this story for the abrupt seeming ending. I never expected there to be no sort of resolution, though I was reassured when I remember that this is the first of a series. Sadly though, the second book is Brand's story, which is completely separate from Forest of Fenris. It was disappointing, to be sure.
The world here is really quite interesting if it were explore more than a small bit of description, enough to satisfy the setting and backstory of the characters. The only great part of the story, I felt, was the first 1/3 of the story before the characters really come together. Again, I liked the rest of the story quite a bit until I felt like it never came together.(less)
How did I ever finish this?! It should have been a DNF for sure. All I can do is claim a perverse fascination to see how this would end up. I don't kn...moreHow did I ever finish this?! It should have been a DNF for sure. All I can do is claim a perverse fascination to see how this would end up. I don't know why I bothered, I never believe there was any chance it could turn around. I guess I just wanted to know if Brad would ever grow a spine.