Melissa's Reviews > Madly & Wolfhardt

Madly & Wolfhardt by M. Leighton
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's review
Jul 14, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2011-reads, favorites, books-i-read-over-and-over, 2012-reads
Read from August 06 to 08, 2011

Mermaids? Really? This is not a topic that I would ever consciously seek out when choosing a paranormal romance. In fact, the first thought that pops into my head when I think of mermaids is a band of merry crustaceans playing the xylophone and singing, "The seaweed is always greener in somebody else's lake." But I really enjoyed M. Leighton's "For the Love of a Vampire" series, so I was willing to give this book a try. All I can say is "Wow!" I loved it. Mermaids, Little Red Riding Hood, werewolves (sort of) . . . This book had it all. There was a potential for all of this to become a giant mess, but Leighton is able to pull all of the elements of the story together to create a fun, exciting, and original story.

Madly is mermaid royalty who is living on land in a sort of boarding school. She is soon to be betrothed to her friend, Aiden. Before this betrothal she expects that she will feel some sort of metaphysical connection to Aiden, but it doesn't happen. He just feels like a great friend. Unfortunately, she does develop this metaphysical connection, but it is with Jackson, her equivalent of a merperson bodyguard. It is forbidden for Mer royalty to bond with lower merpeople, and Jackson is considered to be lower. Jackson is gorgeous (it's required in all paranormal romances that the hero be gorgeous, isn't it?). He is also intelligent, strong, talented, caring, and he takes his job of protecting the princess very seriously. In fact, he is so serious about this job that he does all he can to avoid showing any of his true feelings for Madly. This leads to many misunderstandings between them. In fact, this was the most frustrating part of this novel to read. It is a pet peeve of mine, but I get so annoyed when reading about conflicts between characters which could so easily be solved if the people would just TALK to one another. Madly knows that she is feeling all a-fluttery around Jackson, but she is convinced that he hates her. On the surface it might seem that Jackson is angry with her all the time, but she doesn't see that his angry silences and occasional outburst come after Madly has either done or said something about Aiden and her eventual betrothal to him. I can see that Jackson is working through some jealous frustration, but Madly doesn't seem to figure that out. Most frustrating is how Madly deals with her insecurity about her feelings and Jackson's reciprocal feelings. She reacts by lashing out with angry and hurtful words. So frustrating. I just wanted them to sit down and discuss things. But I guess if things worked out that way in these books, they would be significantly shorter, and they wouldn't have some of the drama that continues to drive me to read. It is obvious to me that Jackson feels exactly as Madly does, but both of them are trying to avoid speaking the words outright because they know that they will only be admitting to feelings that can never lead anywhere because of the traditions of their world.

The love triangle between Madly, Aiden, and Jackson was interesting and original to read because it wasn't the average "Girl Loves Boy #1 -- Girl Loves Boy #2 -- Girl Can't Decide Between the Two" sort of love triangle. Aiden and Madly are destined to be together because the royalty of their world decreed it to be so, but Madly loves Jackson, and Aiden loves someone else. I won't give away his love interest so there is some mystery. The problem is not too many people to love. It is that the world of the merpeople has chosen for them, so Madly and Aiden are not free to choose for themselves. I was happy that I could heartily root for Madly and Jackson without feeling guilty for the left-over member of the triangle.

I think that it will be interesting to see where Leighton takes this story. Madly and Wolfhardt are actually two novellas that are combined to make one novel. The two novellas transition seamlessly, and I would not have even known that there were two separate books to this if they had not been labeled. The first novella focuses on introducing Madly and her world, while the second novella focuses on the fight to capture The Big Bad Wolf, Wolfhardt. Seriously -- The Big Bad Wolf. It sounds crazy, but it makes sense. While there is obviously a bad guy in this book, I think that there is potential for a more subtle enemy to arise in the future installments of this story. For this novel the royalty an people of Atlas are trapped away from Madly, so they do not play an active role in this story. However, their customs and rules are the things that will keep Madly and Aiden from finding happiness with their true loves. It seems as if these merpeople who are now victims in this first novel could potentially show themselves to be less stellar in future stories. I think that this will be interesting to see. Madly and Jackson are fighting some overwhelming odds as they try to stay together.

This was a fun book to read, full of many flutter worthy moments as well as a bit of suspense and action. It is not the end of the story. I am looking forward to reading more about Madly and Jackson, and there are still more things to discover about Aiden. Aiden's story is a secondary part of this novel, but it is still interesting, and he has his own issues to work through in order to find true happiness. I thought about this book even when I was not reading it, and that is a sign of a good book for me. I think I have found a new author to add to my list of favorites. I highly recommend this for fans of YA paranormal romances.
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