Brynn Atwood is a low-level Magus whose unpredictable precognitive powers have made her an outcast among her people—and an embarrassment to her highly-regarded father. After a frightening vision in which her father is murdered by a loup garou man, Brynn decides to prove herself by finding the killer, and stopping them at any cost.
Her target is Rook McQueen, the son of a small-town loup garou Alpha. Despite being the youngest of three, Rook is first in line to inherit the role of Alpha, a duty he isn't sure he's capable of fulfilling. When Brynn finally meets Rook, she doesn't expect the attraction that draws her to him—and him to her.
No longer believing him a murderer, Brynn and Rook strike an alliance to find her father's real killer. But when his older brother is targeted by an unknown enemy, Rook will have to choose between his growing feelings for Brynn and his duty as the future Alpha of his community.
INCLUDES A PREVIEW OF THE NEXT TITLE IN THE CORNERSTONE TRILOGY, GRAY BISHOP
Urban Fantasy author, Kelly Meding, has made the jump to Paranormal Romance in style with the first book in her CORNERSTONE RUN TRILOGY, BLACK ROOK. To say that I fell head over heels in love with the McQueen brothers would be putting it mildly when in fact this series might just be the best thing that’s happened to werewolves since sliced bread. I adored the loup garou mythology, three dimensional characters, chess inspired plot maneuvers, and slow burn romance. My only complaint is that I had to wait until the 90% mark for Brynn and Rook to get horizontal, but really that’s more a personal preference than a legit gripe, so I won’t hold that against Meade (much) because otherwise, this novel was exceptional!
Being the werewolf fanatic that I am, the number one thing that I look forward to whenever I start a new series is the author’s own unique spin on my favourite supes. And, Kelly Meade most certainly did NOT disappoint with her loups garous! Usually I expect there to be one or two twists on the typical lore, but in this case what I received was a whole new world. I loved the use of a wolf’s colour as a power/rank indicator that also comes with its own exclusive traits that range from procreation to special abilities. I was especially fascinated by Meade’s white loups garous, but of course… she’s saving Knight’s novel until last. Shifting is well explained, and I really enjoyed the run (pack) dynamics. The buck doesn’t stop here though, there are also Magi, vampires, and hybrids in the CORNERSTONE RUN TRILOGY universe which makes it a very well-rounded read from a paranormal perspective.
The plot is ingeniously crafted, and reminiscent of a chess match where the opponents take turns and must adjust their strategy depending on what moves their foe makes. The character names and wolf colours tie in to this as well which only further added to this book’s one-of-a-kind story line. In the earlier chapters the pawns and chess master are clearly identifiable, but as the tale progresses and the power shifts, things get a lot more interesting. The author’s Urban Fantasy background is evident in the main story arc, and will continue to serve her well in future installments. In no way did this novel feel like your typical werewolf Paranormal Romance, so if you’re a reader that lives in constant fear of mate insta-love, you can rest easy because you’re safe with Meade.
Brynn is kind of the black sheep of the Magus thanks to being born the ‘second’ child, and gifted with unreliable precognitive powers in a community that prides itself on control. I admired her bravery, and loyalty to her father in the face of a heartbreaking vision, and her determination to do whatever it takes to set things right. Rook is a colourful character with his rockstar past, and potential Alpha future. I think that his brother, Knight, stole a bit of his thunder, but I still liked him as a match for Brynn. The romance is subtle and flirtatious, and culminates in one sexy scene towards the end. This book doesn’t score many points on the Richter scale which was a tad disappointing given the genre and the reason why I’m deducting half a rating.
BLACK ROOK was a fast favourite with this rabid reader making the CORNERSTONE RUN TRILOGY a surefire winning series that’s not to be missed.
Black Rook is the first book in a shiny new series by Kelly Meade. For those of you who don’t know, Kelly Meade is actually Kelly Meding, author of some of my favorite urban fantasy tales. If you are wondering why the name change, tune in tomorrow at the same time and same place. I interviewed Kelly and my first question is about this very topic.
The Cornerstone Run trilogy is about a group of loup garou but mostly focuses on the McQueen family. This is slated to be a trilogy and each book will focus on a son of the Alpha. We have Rook, Bishop and Knight. Black Rook is, you guessed it, Rook’s story.
Oh, and I was forgetting to mention that this is a paranormal romance series so where the overall story will be continuing from book to book, each installment will have its own HEA. In this case, her name is Brynn and she is a Magus.
The story starts off with Brynn traveling to visit Rook and his family because she foresaw in a vision that her father was going to be murdered and it looked like Rook is slated to be the killer. What a way to meet someone, eh?! Where sometimes wolf shifters are portrayed as being rash and violent, I enjoyed how logical and intelligent Kelly’s were. Rook and his family trusted Brynn and helped her decipher what she saw. And in turn, she helped them. It’s a nice relationship and it really made it easy for me to like the loup garou of the Cornerstone Run.
I enjoyed Brynn. It’s easy to think of her as weak or meek when you first meet her as she is shy, way out of her element and used to being told her abilities are unreliable, but as you read on you see that there is definite strength there. And the twist about her background and her link to the villains was well done. Can’t say I saw much of that coming when I cracked open this book.
Rook was an alpha-male but not too hardcore and I appreciated that. I think if he were too gun-slinging-action-movie-hero it just wouldn’t make sense with Brynn. Rook is not sure of his future. Not only is he the youngest McQueen boy but he is also technically slated to become the next Alpha. But his brother Bishop has been training to be Alpha his whole life where Rook has been a musician. Rook has to decide whether or not he truly wants to be in charge and ‘take’ the position away from Bishop. The reason Bishop would not really have a say is because Rook is a black wolf where Bishop is a gray wolf…and I’ll get into the color thing in a bit.
I found the story to be very interesting and very…Kelly Meding/Meade-ish. Meaning it was quick and crazy and people died and things came up that made you wonder where the hell the idea for such a thing came from. When I finish one of Kelly’s books my first thoughts are usually muffled by my head banging on a wall and it was no exception this time around. Of course I mean all this in the very best of ways. But I will say that it was maybe a bit less severe seeing that there was a romantic HEA thrown in. That made the story have a sense of closure, even amid the chaos of the ongoing storylines.
Kelly did put her own spin here and there on her shifters to make them her own. My most favorite thing was how she used the color of the wolf to indicate where he or she stands in the pack and his or her strength. You have black wolves who are enforcers and Alphas, gray wolves who are considered common and white wolves who are calming and a huge asset to any run. The white wolf was the most intriguing of them all to me and in this case, that would be Knight. His book is last and I can’t freaking wait. But I don’t feel I will fret too much because Bishop’s book is up next and due out in October 2014. I am very curious to see how his story will pan out. We have already met Bishop’s HEA and right at this moment I can’t see how the hell they are actually going to be able to have a happy ending. But such is Kelly’s way – twisting and turning our brains until it is inside out only to fix everything back into place after telling one hell of a story.
So overall I really enjoyed Black Rook. The McQueen family is wonderful and I look forward to spending a couple of more books with them. This series is a PNR series but it reads a bit more like an urban fantasy story with a side of romance. And seeing that UF is my favorite genre, I was completely okay with that. Kelly shows us that, no matter what name she writes under, she is an exceptional storyteller, layering characters, stories and action like a dream. Fans of shifter, fans of Kelly Meding, fans of urban fantasy and fans of romance with a side of kick ass should give this series a try. It’s well worth it.
There were a lot of problems with this book, so I'm a little surprised I decided to round the 2.5 up to a three. The world building was a little lame with a pretty standard three-way supernatural triangle with mages, weres, and vampires. Yeah, the vampires were mostly gone, but that's not really much of an innovation on the standard, really.
Meade messed a bit with the weres, but I didn't really find those twists very twisty and some of them were kind of lame—like the color coding. I'm sorry, but white vs. gray vs. black misses a lot of real wolf colors and giving them such absolute meaning doesn't help. The white wolves as magical emotional stabilizers was particularly odd and adding their super-duper mating potential was lame-sauce on top.
So that was bad, but I disliked the background morality worse. Apparently, everybody we meet suffers from the same delusion that psychopaths keep their word and that you can totally trust them to adhere to any devil's bargain they offer. I kept waiting for an adult to show up and say "hey, maybe this whole trusting psychopathic killers to be both sane and honorable isn't such a good idea, huh?" But no, instead we have the people in charge congratulating themselves on making the "tough choices" of doing exactly what the evil people demanded. Because that's how you fight evil—by giving in to it.
Anyway, Brynn was cute and Rook mildly hot (as long as I mentally erased the gauges in his ears—I'll never understand that particular form of "body art") and I liked them both personally, even if they suffered the same moral insanity of the rest of their universe. Brynn finding a home with the supposed enemy of her people was particularly charming as it flowed naturally from who she was and her willingness to make up her own mind about who was worthy and who wasn't. The insta-love kinda, sorta worked, if only because they were both outcast in their own ways and finding each other gave them a stability they were both seeking (even if neither of them really knew it).
So yeah, weak world building and stunted morality, but two people I liked and cared enough about to continue reading to the end of the book. Probably won't bother with the next, though.
A note about Steamy: Low. One explicit scene and not much of one at that. There wasn't even much ancillary activity.
I've seen many an author try their hand at a werewolf paranormal romance, often giving only the barest nod of acknowledgement to any kind of lore before basically forgetting they're even supposed to be Weres and getting straight on with the sexytimes - complete with plenty of growling, naturally. But me, I like the details. I think that's what makes a good Werewolf tale so enjoyable; getting to know their origins, their genealogy, their mating habits. How the beast and the man - or woman - relate to one another. What advantages and disadvantages the Were nature brings to the table. All that good stuff. And here in Black Rook, Meade gave an outstanding spin on all of those aspects, leaving this reader more than satisfied.
And as if that wasn't enough, she also gave us not one, not two, but THREE swoonfully beautiful McQueen brothers to enjoy! Honestly, guys, they're absolutely irresistible. Sweet, sexy, caring, honourable, badass... Oy. In Black Rook, you'll fall in love with Rook, the youngest of the three, and have your appetite more than whetted for the other two, whose books - Gray Bishop and White Knight - are a-coming, don't you worry!
In this particular book, we're introduced to not only the McQueen clan, but also Brynn Atwood, a female Magi with precognitive ability, whose visions have told her that her father will die at the hands of Rook McQueen. She sets out to prevent that from happening at any cost, and is thrown into a world she apparently knows very little about, despite being part of it, and what she does know is skewed and one-sided. Her education on all-things Loup could have been handled with hostility given the circumstances, but Rook is as gentle as they come. In fact, the way he reacted around Brynn and to his growing feelings for her, and also the way he tried to protect his family at all costs, was absolutely adoraballs. I completely loved him and Brynn both, and wished them all of the good things. And I cannot WAIT to read more on the other two brothers!!
All in all, a very enjoyable read, one I recommend to all Werewolf fans - 4 Stars ★★★★
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I'm always cautious going into a new urban fantasy, but this was a really decent, surprisingly bloody read. It's somewhat similar to Alpha and Omega series by Patricia Briggs - its matter of fact practicall ruthlessness with no embellishments worked well for me.
At the same time the main heroine was a bit of a self-sacrificing doormat, and I'm hoping she will step up her game in the future books in this series. She already started showing her claws closer to the ending of Black Rook, so I'm hopeful.
The world-building is localized but solid, and the tight-knitted pack of loup-garou living in a sanctuary town was a pleasure to read about. McQueens as a family were lovely, strong and loyal to each other, and I enjoyed their interactions more than Brynn and Rook's love story. Sorry, "mates meant for each other" has never been one of my favorite tropes.
As to the narrator, Xe Sands was fantastic, and only added to my positive experience from the book. Overall, this is a promising beginning of a new series, and I'm sure I'll be listening to any new installments. Recommended.
I received this eARC from the publishers via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, I was in no way compensated for this review.
Omigosh, omigosh, omi-freaking-gosh! Kelly Meade's Black Rook was a totally and completely freaking awesome read! I wasn't expecting to get so engrossed into the story, but I was and wow, just wow!
While my reading obsession started with vampires, I have become a fan of werewolves for a long time. No idea why, werewolves are just cool! In Kelly's story they are called loup garou and I love going with this term, again, no idea why, it's just sounds cool and it's different! Basically I totally fell for this read from the beginning.
Brynn Atwood is a Magus, basically a magic wielder, but she's sort of the odd duck in her family in that she doesn't really have any powers or magical abilities. Except for the visions she gets. And they are always true, as to when the visions occur is another matter entirely. When she has one of seeing her father bloodied and dead with a man standing over him, she's convinced that this stranger is going to kill her father and despite not having a loving relationship with the man she calls dad, she's determined to save her father from this fate and take care of the would-be murderer herself.
Rook McQueen is a black wolf, the most powerful and strongest of the loup garou. One day he could take over his father's pack once his Alpha/father retires or resigns. He's that powerful and his two older brothers know it and would have to concede to this should Rook want it. I don't want to get into all the pack details and hierarchy because that would get lengthy, but it all does get explained. And when he meets Brynn, pretty much right away he feels a connection to the little Magus who wants to kill him. Go figure, right?
Brynn's plan doesn't pan out at all like she expected and she soon finds herself at the mercy of Rook and his family; the pack. But soon terror and tragedy strike nearby packs as they are heedless slaughtered and Brynn finds herself being a more permanent reluctant guest.
As the plot unfolds, we see more development with the world and characters within it; characters being the type, Magus, loup garou and yes, vampires! There's a lot going on and more hidden secrets than one would expect, but it makes for incredible story-telling! There's so much mystery going on alongside the supernatural politics that it is just spine gripping--you know if it was available as a real book instead of ebook, but that's not the point, lol!--!
I totally fell for the romance too. While it can be called sort of insta-love, there's reasoning to it. We see both Brynn and Rook feeling more than just attraction to the other but have no explanation for it. But while they have these feeling, nothing really romantic happens between them for awhile (although it's still just days for book-time-wise). But it was still quite the touching romance, I felt my heart melting a bit too!
There's a good deal of action in this one too, but that's too be expected almost once the first few events start rolling! And the best part about it is, that this is a trilogy series so we have two more books and those are going to star each of Rook's brothers as the main hero. And there's still quite a problem left unresolved in this one, I won't get into it, but I can definitely see this battle playing out over the next two books and I sooo cannot wait!
The characters were enjoyable too! Brynn was a marvelous heroine and while she had her flaws in the beginning, she definitely grew on you as time went on. And Rook, oh Rook! He was freaking awesome! Told in multiple third person point of view, we got mostly Rook and Brynn's perspectives and it was done remarkably! Getting to see what each one feels about the other and of course some of the other more plot driven parts of their tellings, was just incredible!
I could not get enough of this book and I sooo cannot wait to read Gray Bishop next once it releases! This is a series you do not want to miss out on if you love werewolves because it was really, truly, freaking awesome!
It’s been a long time since I picked up a book and quite literally couldn’t put it down until I finished it. BLACK ROOK was just that book. It pulled me in almost from the first chapter and wouldn’t let me go. Everything from the characters to the world-building to the plot combined for a truly enjoyable read.
With books I read, I’m often more forgiving than I should be. If I love the characters, I can overlook a weak plot and vice versa. BLACK ROOK had nothing to overlook on either side. The characters are ones I both loved and hated, depending on who they were. My heart broke for their pain and their struggles, and leapt at their happiness. I can’t say much about Rook and his brothers or Brynn without giving out major plot points, but my love for them is a palpable thing.
The story itself is tightly woven, both in creating the world of the Magi and the loup garou that live in almost self-contained towns throughout the country. BLACK ROOK wastes no time in getting to the heart of the story, but does so in a way that lets the story unfold in time with the exposition. I’ll admit that I predicted a few of the ah-ha moments. That in no way detracted from my enjoyment. If anything, it contributed because I was able to watch the realizations happen and appreciate their reactions.
I already know I will be rereading this one in anticipation of the second book in the series. BLACK ROOK is a complete story, with only the overarching plot left unresolved in book one, and I can’t wait to return to Cornerstone and reunite with the McQueens.
Our review, by LITERAL ADDICTION's Vivacious Valkyrie - Marta: *Copy gifted in exchange for an honest review
A new name to me and this is the first book in the Cornerstone Run trilogy. If you enjoy reading about wolf shifters, vampires and those with the power of Magic with a dash of romance then be sure to snap this up. An intruiging beginning to a world that twists and turns this looks set to be a very original and imaginative set of books and it's a delight to just dig in and wallow in this authors imagination.
Brynn is a Magus but as she's the second child her precognitive ability is quite weak and unpredictable . Brynn has grown up feeling very much an embarrassment to her powerful father but when she has a vision of him dying at the hands of one of the infamous loupe garou she refuses to just ignore it. She tracks down Rook the wolf from her vision but he's not the cold blooded murderer she expected and in fact she nearly kills him! Struggling to set differences aside there's just something about Brynn that Rook finds tantalising but Brynn is a very special type of woman. As the youngest son of the Alpha Rook has responsibilities but before he can find out what really makes Brynn tick there's a massacre that pulls Rook and his brothers Bishop and Knight into a world of danger. The events that follow will change everything the shifters had believed!
I found this to be fresh and completely different to other paranormal books out there. It is technically I suppose a paranormal romance, but it's easy to see that this author has a foot in urban fantasy. There's a lot of world building taking place here and arcs are being laid down that will surely be followed up in subsequent books. This is certainly a book that paints the wolf shifters in a good light but I'm keen to see more from the Magi and Vampire community as our heroine is a Magus and I've had liked to see more interaction with her peers. Speaking of heroines, Brynn is quite a remarkable young woman. She has spent almost her entire life subjugated and often belittled and yet she has the strength to search out the wolves alone and quite literally beard them in their den! I have to admire her loyalty and commitment to her father even though it would seem he doesn't really deserve it. Rook is at a crossroads in his life as his entire future is in the balance. He is the youngest son of the Alpha and yet as a black wolf is perceived as one of the strongest and amidst all that turmoil he finds Brynn , a woman his pack would reject but whose very essence calls to him.
This book was a revelation . I never knew just what would happen next or how it would end and I loved that it wasn't predictable . Brynn deserves love and Rook is just so sweet with her. It's not the sexiest book I've read but that does not diminish the romance in any way. The supporting characters are so interesting and it's quite intense at times. Two more brothers left to find their happy ending but this story set amongst the loup garou is far from done. I look forward very much to the next book and hope that the author treats us to Bishop's story soon but confess to a soft spot for Knight!
Brynn Atwood, is the second child of a powerful Magus and leader, and as such, she is considered weak with little power...but she has one that is powerful ,she can see visions of the future. When she sees a vision of her father dead and a man, Rook Mcqueen, with her fathers blood on him, she knows he must be the killer and must find him first before he can get to her father. So she heads to Cornerstone, and some truths become unraveled and she learns that he isn't her fathers killer. As they join forces to find out what is really going on, they find answers to questions that only lead to more questions, as they search for the real truth, a powerful desire builds between Brynn and Rook, and soon Rook will have to decide what is more important his status as Alpha of the pack, or Brynn as his mate...
After reading a review and recommendation from a friend, I began to see that I really needed to pick this one up. So I did, and I was so stunned by how well I enjoyed this one. I wasn't sure how I would, considering this is a new author for me, but Black Rook was tantalizing and intense and packed with everything I expect in a steamy shifter romance and then some. This isn't just a shifter romance, it does have some additions paranormal elements mixed in there, and it really adds some dramatic flair to the plot. The author does a stunning job of describing the world she has created, and the way that she stuns us with the creative scenes and the in depth characters.
The story begins with a misunderstanding, and what a misunderstanding, the heroine here well she has courage...willing to die to save the father that has never cared much for her. I loved her tenacity and courage, she has that inner strength that you can't help but admire. She has 'balls" that is for sure, she surely knows how to carry how a task that she puts her mind to. You see how she grows in this story, and I loved seeing her change into a woman of sacrifice and doing what is right even if its hurts the ones you love. Rook, is not the first child, but because he is a black wolf, he can be alpha if he desires. He has worked hard, to prove himself to be the obvious choice. He knows that he would be a leader and a good one. But when Brynn lands in his lap, his priorities change, one to where pursuing her earnestly with honest intent is more important than being the alpha. Their relationship from working together, turns into a slow courtship. They have sparks from the beginning, but not just physically, the author does a wonderful job in creating a bond between them that goes deeper than sex. (Although those parts were pretty sexy and fun), but we also see the development of their relationship, emotionally.
This first book in the series, sets the stage for the rest of the series, where we find out that there are some villains, that are dangerous, and it will take a miracle for them to come out alive. I so enjoyed the action, the suspense, the sensuality, the focus on their intimate relationship, and the bond between the brothers, and the way that this story was written was sexy, sensual and stunning in detail. A must read for paranormal romance lovers!!!
I am happy to announce that Gizmos Reviews is one of the stops on the Black Rook blog tour which kicked off on July 1, and will full stop on July 31, 2014. My stop is on July 22, 2014, so please come back and see what we have to offer you! You can see the rest of the participants here: http://chaostitan.blogspot.com/
*Recvd via Netgalley 06/06/2014* Published: July 15th 2014 by InterMix
I'm a big fan of Kelly Meade (aka Kelly Meding); her urban fantasy series, Dreg City, is one of my favorites and I thought her superhero science fiction series, Meta Wars, was wonderfully inventive and unique. I liked Black Rook just fine, but itdidn't quite live up to her other series for me. It wasn't bad by any means -- it just didn't have that "wow" factor for me that I've come to expect from Ms. Meade. It was a quick and enjoyable read and I will definitely continue with the other books in the series though.
Black Rook sets up the Cornerstone Run Trilogy and gives us the main characters and conflict that we will be following throughout the series. First, we have the Magi or magic users. Brynn is a low-level magus who has visions of the future from time to time. When she sees her father dead and a man standing over his body, she decides to figure out who he is. This leads us to the loup garou, werewolves, and more specifically, the McQueen family. The McQueens, father and three sons, lead the Cornerstone Run or pack and are all loup garous. Brynn finds out the man in her visions is youngest son Rook McQueen, but he doesn't even know her father let alone have a reason to kill him. Brynn and Rook has an undeniable spark and begin to learn from each other about their respective lives. When another loup garou run is attacked not far from Cornerstone, scent impressions from other loups, vampires, and a magus are found. Why would these three different groups be working together when they can barely tolerate one another and what reason do they have for attacking the run? Brynn and the McQueens must work together to unravel the mystery and it goes deeper than any of them could imagine...
I really enjoyed the world building in Black Rook. Though many things followed familiar elements, Kelly Meade did add some very interesting and unique aspects to her world. I especially enjoyed the different werewolf fur colors corresponding to different roles in their societies. Gray is the most common color and they make up the majority of the run. Black is much more rare, usually the first-born child, and designates the leaders of the run. Black wolves are usually stronger, faster, and more aggressive -- great traits for a run Alpha. White wolves are very rare and are born with a specific gift. They are able to take on the emotions of those around them and help them to become more stable and even-tempered. The only drawback is that it can be both physically and psychologically difficult for the white wolves. The Magi weren't as fleshed out for me as the loup garou so I am hoping we might learn a little more about them in the forthcoming books.
Brynn and Rook were fine, but I did find them to be a little bland on their own. Rook was the more interesting of the two for me because of his struggles as the youngest child and a black wolf. His oldest brother was raised to be Alpha but when Rook came along, that all became questionable. There is an interesting dynamic between Rook and Bishop because of it and I really enjoyed seeing that play out. I still have some questions about the Magi and I think that took away from Brynn's character for me. I would have liked to see her gain more control over her visions as Black Rook went on, but maybe that will come in time. The romance between the two came on fast, but it was also pushed by a lot of danger and conflict. I do think they fit together and have found something they were both missing previously. My favorite character in the story was the middle McQueen son and white wolf, Knight. I can't wait for his story and to learn more about the white wolf abilities.
All in all, Black Rook was a promising start to this new series if not terribly unique. The premise has room to grow over the next two books and each brother was introduced well-enough to carry their own story. I will be reading the rest of the Cornerstone Run Trilogy, but I will also continue to hope that Kelly Meade has something surprising up her sleeve.
Thank you to InterMix and Netgalley for providing an ARC copy of this book!
When I heard that Kelly Meding was writing a PNR series under the name Kelly Meade I KNEW I had to read it. I love Kelly’s UF books.
In a genre that’s full of great novels and authors Kelly stands out wither she using Meade or Meding as her last night. She writes great characters and builds some outstanding worlds. And this time she’s doing it with loups garous (werewolves). And yes werewolf PNR novels are a dime a dozen but Kelly puts her own spin on the mythology that I’ve not read before keeping the idea fresh. You have three kinds of loups garous; Gray (common), Black (alphas, protectors) and the rare White. I think of the Wolf wolves as the Omegas, taking on the pack’s (or run in this case) emotional welfare.
Our hero, Rook is a Black wolf which means he should be the next in line of his run to take over his father’s place as Alpha one day. But because he is the youngest son it’s not so simple. The oldest son, Bishop is Gray but he has been groomed to take over as Alpha then came Rook. So there’s a little awkwardness. Rook has never really shown interest in being Alpha. He left home to go to college and had promising music career but since humans do not know about loups garous he had to give up his music and come home.
That’s when he meets Brynn, a Magus. The Magus are magic users and think of the loups garous as animals. Brynn’s father is part of the Magus Congress. Magus aren’t as caring with their offspring as the loups garous. Their first-born are usually the strongest of their children and must marry another strong Magus to make a “good match” in order to produce more powerful Magus.
Brynn was the second daughter born out of twin girls and therefore seen as lesser and no Magus male will want her as a wife. Brynn has been talked down to her whole life. But when she has a vision about Rook she must meet him.
That’s where the “star crossed lovers” find that their groups might hate one another but they don’t feel the same towards each other.
With BLACK ROOK being labeled PNR I thought there would be more sexy times just because most of the PNR I read has more steamy scenes than your average UF book. But that was not the case here. I think the PNR comes into play because each book is about a different brother instead of sticking with one as the main character for each installment like a traditional UF does. But don’t get me wrong. The romance between Rook and Brynn was steamy but on a scaled back level.
BLACK ROOK is full of mystery and twists with just enough romance thrown in. I have a few ideas for what’s to come next for the Cornerstone Run and I can’t wait to read Grey Bishop to see if I’m right.
I love it when an author does a little something different with their paranormal world which this book did. The focus was on shifters and magic users and a lot of intrigue in a secret war taking place alongside the human world. The romance has the forbidden aspect to it as the two come from peoples that hate each other. It was a long story that developed slowly as it set things up in this first book, but I was into it all the way.
The story jumps right in with Brynn, a magis, heading into the heart of enemy territory to confront a wolf shifter she believes is destined to kill her father because her magis gift allowed her to see it in a vision. She infiltrates the wolf sanctuary town and the auction house where the shifter named Rook works. She has a vague plan of stopping him possibly even killing him when she determines the threat level, but then her plan is shot through when she is discovered and must convince the wolf shifters that she had a vision, what it involved and one of their own is responsible.
Rook doesn't know what to think when the magis female confronts him about murdering her father. He hates the magis, but murdering a guy he has never heard of seems pretty far fetched. Then a catastrophic event hits another shifter sanctuary town slaughtering many with the clues leading to a magis fire user. Brynn's appearance in their town at the same time is suspect, but for some reason he has the desire to protect her when he should be distrusting.
More attacks take place and shocking secrets about betrayal and plotting come forth even as Brynn and Rook grow more and more attracted. Rook has a huge decision to make whether to choose his place as the next alpha after his father or to choose Brynn. In the meantime, the danger strikes close to home and everyone particularly Knight is asked to make huge sacrifices.
The plot took some time to iron out both to set up the story and introduce the players, but also develop the action. This is more like a paranormal romantic suspense because of all the intrigue that needs sorting out. It is also not just the story of the main couple, Rook and Brynn, but that of Rook's brothers getting their sidelines and time to narrate too. Those opposing them are truly formidable which adds just that much more to the story. In truth, the romance is on equal footing with all else going on making it resemble an Urban Fantasy more so than a paranormal romance. And, I was fine with that because there is definitely enough given to fall in love with Rook and Brynn while anticipating that moment that builds from almost the second they meet.
To conclude, I found this new start to a series abso-fab and I can't wait to get the story of Bishop and Knight. The overarc-ing story line has me jazzed for what is to come too. I know there are more secrets to come, more betrayals and more action besides good solid characters and romance. Because of the way this book felt, I'm going to recommend it to both Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy lovers.
My thanks to Penguin Group and Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Kelly Meade is not a new voice in literature word, since it's another pen name of Kelly Meding, the author of Dreg City series and MetaWars. That's why rather than PNR, Black Rook is more like an UF book but with strong romantic element. Usually, PNR books have a simple to middle complex world building and focus just to the main MCs. Black Rook is an exception, because while the hero is Rook McQueen, seems that he overshadowed by his middle brother, Knight McQueen. Because all the problem that happen in this book is because the enemy target Knight.
The strength of this book is the world building. Even not too original, Ms Meade still can make an interesting concept of werewolves. She create three kind of werewolves or loup garou, Black who will become Alpha or enforcer, White who can maintain calm and emotion in the pack (or the run) and the lowest caste are Gray. Three of McQueen brothers are Gray (Bishop), White (Knight) and Black (Rook). The problem is Rook is the youngest and Bishop is the oldest and even Bishop is Gray Wolf, he already prepared to be an Alpha. That's make thing complicated, with Rook that torn between his responsibility as Alpha and his feeling to Brynn, the heroine of this sbook, because Brynn is part Magus. And Magus is the sworn enemy of loup garou, aside from vampire.
The other thing that I find interesting is a fact that all loup garou feel pain when they change to their beast. Ms Meade also introduced us to the shift system, basically how much time they can shift, back to human self and then shift again. It's complex, but give a fresh air to the already overused werewolf myth.
Alas, the romance start slow, and like I said before, Rook kinda overshadowed with Knight, because I feel like this book have 2 MCs, Rook and Knight, and Knight is more dominant. As for Knight, man, I feel sorry for him. His kind is rare and hunted by everyone. Breeding between loup garou and another species is kinda forbidden and almost impossible, but White wolf can mate with any kind. That's why Knight targeted by the enemy. This is kinda spoiler for this story, so open with your own risk
Black Rook is an okay read for me, maybe because I'm a little bit disappointed to see how little Rook's development had. Also his chemistry with Brynn just okay. But as a first book for a new series, Black Rook has a strong foundation and I can't wait to know what happen next with Cornerstone Run.
Really liked the world Meade created with her supernaturals.
Brynn Atwood is a Magi seer. She sees a vision of a man bending over the body of her dead father, blood on his hands. She takes it upon herself to track down the dream man and hopefully stop what she believes is the murder of her father, a powerful Magus. Despite her rocky relationship with her dad and the fact that he doesn't truly believe in her ability, she sneaks away to Cornerstone, Pennsylvania to confront Rook McQueen, the murderer of her still-living father. Foolish girl, one would suspect, being that Cornerstone is the home of the Magus enemy - the loup garou. When luop garou runs start being attacked, fear is put into the Cornerstone run. Each attacked run has barely any survivors and thngs start getting heavy when not only is Rook in some trouble, but a Magus is suspected of helping with the attacks. This puts Brynn in very precarious position.
I really love what Meade did with her supernaturals. Sure, when you get down to it, it is just werewolves, magic users, and vampires. What sets hers apart is she made them her own and put her own twist on them. Loup garou are the weres which consist of 3 different types - black wolves, which primarily become alphas providing a grey wolf isn't stronger, white wolves, which are the rarest and have the ability to calm other wolves, and grey wolves, which are the most abundant. Rook and his brothers are all one of each, Rook being the black. The Magus of Meade's story are the magic users which again were unique. Magus parents pass their powers onto the firstborn child, everyone else gets diluted powers or none at all. Brynn seemingly fits the diluted category being that she's the second child. Second children not only get shorted with powers, they are often just coexisting with their parents. They are looked upon as nothing special and very rarely doted on, which explains the way Brynn's father treats her. Unfair, yes, but that's the Magi way. For as long as each group has existed, they've been the greatest enemy to one another. There are also vampires in this world, fittingly called...vampires.
I am familiar with Kelly Meade through her Dreg City UF series, which she writes as Kelly Meding. I am happy to report that not only can she produce well-written Urban Fantasy, but she proves in this story that she's also great at writing paranormal romance. I also love the Chess spin she threw in this trilogy, not only with the titles, but the story itself plays out like game of chess (only way more exciting. Chess is quite boring, unless you're a rabid player) through all of the power plays and different moves that key players are forced to make. I recommend this if you are a fan of the UF/PNR genre and are looking for something a bit different from the usual fare. I will definitely be reading the rest of the trilogy to see where those stories take the remaining brothers, Bishop and Knight.
**eARC received on behalf of the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
When Brynn gets a vision of her fathers murder she knows she has to stop it, even if her father thinks her visions are unreliable and useless! She sees the face of his attacker and now has to go about finding him. When she finds that he is a Loup Garou named Rook McQueen and he lives in a Loup Garou safe village she has no choice but to stop him.
Heading into a village filled with Loup Garou should terrify Brynn but she has a job to do. She is wearing an amulet to mask her Magus scent and she has the ring that will kill this Rook person if she finds he is guilty. She should be fine, right!! Wrong.
What happens next sets off a string of incidents that she has no control over. Brynns life as she knew it is gone and she is thrown into Rooks life with a bang.
When I started this I didn't know what to expect as I hadn't heard of it before. Well all I can say is wow! This grabbed me from the very first page and didn't let go. I love those McQueen brothers!!
From the start you see that Brynn is an amazing heroine. Despite being a laughing stock of the Magus because she doesn't have many abilities, she is strong, determined, loyal and totally kick ass. Her father treats her badly but yet she goes into a village of Loup Garou just to stop the vision. From the start I immediately liked her.
Then we have the McQueen Brothers!! *Sigh*. Bishop is the oldest and has been training since he was young to become Alpha, Knight is a rare White Wolf and is emphatic and the glue that stabilizes the whole group. Rook is the youngest but he is a Black Wolf and first in line to inherit the Alpha title if he wishes. Usually the first born is a black wolf but not for them. Rook struggles with the decision of becoming Alpha or not. Bishop has been training for it all his life so what right has he to take it off him.
I loved the whole mythology of the Loup Garou and loved how the author put her own spin on the werewolf genre. There are so many werewolf books out there that its hard to create your own niche in it but Kelly Meade has managed to. She has created a world that I know I will revisit time and time again!!
I also loved how she named the characters after chess pieces because the whole book is full of moves and counter moves that have characters constantly shifting. It truly is a master piece!!
So overall I fell in love with this world and all the people in it. I loved the brothers and Im glad to see that it looks like each brother gets his story. Personally I cant wait for Knights one, he stole a piece of my heart. Everything about Black Rook was amazing, from the colourful characters to the fast paced plot, it is a must read. Its a breathtakingly action packed book. The romance is slow to get going but I loved that fact. I loved how they took time to think things through despite their sizzling chemistry. Parts of the book broke my heart and parts had me on the edge of my seat! I flew through this and I absolutely cant wait for the next installment!! Highly recommend :)
Another book that took me by surprise. It’s kinda of a rule that sexy half naked dudes are reserved for paranormal romance covers and kick-ass girls in leathers and uncomfortable poses are reserved for urban fantasy. So, when I saw a cover for a Black Rook, I expected classic paranormal romance plot. Summary, honestly, does not offer or hint at much more. Imagine my surprise when instead I got a surprisingly good urban fantasy novel with mages, werewolves and vampires.
Kelly Meade managed to make the usual races of magical creatures sound new. Whether if it’s because of painful shifts of werewolves called loup garou or vampires not being the most powerful race or because hierarchy in loup garou clans was based on fur color… Black Rook offers constantly new intriguing details about Kelly Mead’s imaginary world.
Heroine BRYNN is strong and week at the same time. Refreshingly, she does most logical thing and has realistic reactions. And when she stands up to someone stronger than her, you really gotta admire her, because there is no hidden catch. She has no super-secret hidden powers. She’s not The One. Brynn is just a girl looking for a place in a world and finding it (and love) in the most unexpected place.
ROOK and others are not typical representatives of the species. At least if we compare them to other books from this genre. Werewolves have animal instincts, but it’s up to their human side to explore and determine if that course of action is a good one. Not the usual alphas who are always right and assert their opinion.
Romance is subtle, deep burn, with a lot of cons and little pros. "She wanted him. He wanted her. That was the easy part. Everything else around them made being together impossible."
There might be instant attraction but there is no insta-true-for-ever-and-ever love. Kelly Meade wrote it so good that you really feel how their feelings get deeper and deeper.
“This is impossible, isn’t it?” she whispered. “I don’t know.” “We’re from two different worlds, Rook. A bird cannot live in the ocean with a fish.” “Penguins can swim there, though.” She laughed, her breath warm against his neck. The melody of her laughter rumbled from her chest to his heart, and he committed the sound to memory. “What if the penguin has never learned to swim?” “Then she’ll have to find a dedicated fish who will teach her.”
If you are looking for a novel focused on the love story, Black Rook might be a disappointment. But if you would like to read about an old urban fantasy theme done in a new, interesting way, strong heroine, complex flawed heroes and intriguing plot that will leave you craving for a next book - then you must read Black Rook.
Disclaimer: I received this ebook from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. This text is also posted on my blog Bookworm Dreams in a little bit more styled edition.
I enjoyed this first installment in Kelly Meding Meade’s new shifter series, Cornerstone Run. It straddles the line between PNR and UF and I’m not one of the people who is bothered by that. In fact, I kind of dig it. The story doesn’t exactly tread the kind of creative new ground that, say, Meta Wars or Dreg City do. It’s pretty straightforward werewolf stuff, although with minor tweaks, like calling the wolves loup garou and classifying them by the color of their fur. But there’s a reason that so many authors go back to this tried and true premise: it works.
In this world, the wolves live in an uneasy balance with magi, vampires, and humans. Our heroine, Byrnn, is a magus raised to disdain the loup garou. Making matters even worse, she has had a vision that she believes shows the Alpha’s son killing her father. She travels to wolf-territory, hoping to meet the loup and take his measure. She even considers killing him, if necessary, to stop her vision from coming true. Not only does she love her father, he is a powerful member of the magi council. His death wouldn’t just hurt her, but all of her people. Unfortunately, her dad doesn’t take her premonition seriously, which is why she has to deal with it on her own.
Of course, Rook is nothing like she expects. The former rocker is strong and alpha, to be sure, but he quickly shows himself to also be thoughtful and loyal. In fact, his entire family turns out to be good men. That’s a very good thing for Brynn, especially since her ruse blows up in her face almost right away. This, just as a neighbor pack is attacked with magi involvement. Byrnn becomes the town’s “guest” until they can be sure she wasn’t involved.
Over the course of the story, Brynn grows closer to the wolves and has to face some uncomfortable truths about her people and herself. At the same time, a fairly good action plot is advancing with an unknown threat to the loup garou. I kept waiting for the big torture sequence Byrnn would inevitably be a part of, but it never came! I guess that’s the difference between a Kelly Meding and a Kelly Meade book. –Don’t get me wrong: there are some tough moments. It’s just that Brynn’s not the one who bears the brunt of it.
The romance is kind of insta-love but I am always more forgiving of that with shifters and their whole mating thing. Plus, it helped that despite the quick feelings, the couple had some serious external obstacles to consider. And beyond that, the romance doesn’t overshadow the overall story, so I could live with it. There is some good sexual tension and I liked the main characters. But I would be remiss if I did not tell you that secondary character Knight steals the show. His book is going to rock.
The story development was a bit predictable. Meade was a little heavy handed with her clues on the villain-reveal. But overall, I liked the book. It was engaging from the very beginning and I look forward to the next installment.
After reading the synopsis of this book, I was immediately intrigued by the story. It’s been a long time since I had not read a book by the author and it is true that this novel made me really want to immerse myself in her other novels.
Brynn is a young woman who really has not had an easy life. Part of the Magus, she has very little powers even if she sometimes manages to have some visions of the future without knowing when the events will happen. Her lack of power has made her a very unattractive person in the eyes of her father and her community and she knows it. She is completely useless, but it does not matter, she will do her best to help everyone. But one day, she sees in a vision the death of her father, and while nobody believes her, she decides to prove her value by chasing the murderer she saw. However, this murderer is none other than Rook, the son of the Alpha werewolf and future heir. Despite her good ideas, the girl is soon discovered and she finds herself forced to tell them the reason for her coming. Understanding her error and knowing that Rook is not the future killer of her father, she remains determined to find out who the culprit is. While her presence perfectly matches an attack on a clan of werewolves, Brynn will do everything to help them understand what is happening, even if Magus and Wolves are sworn enemies, she can not abandon them, especially when a strong attraction between her and Rook appears. But the story in which she finds herself is much more complicated than she could have imagined and she ends up in the middle of something that transcends her. But all this could teach her many revelations about her origins, her family and her destiny.
I loved both characters. Brynn is a young woman broken by life and gradually returns to hope with this family who believes in her and her visions, something that nobody has done before. But she never would have expected to experience so many feelings about this wolf she did not know about. Yet a history seems impossible, their clans are enemies and relationship would prevent Rook to access to the Alpha role he is waiting for. Yet both are very endearing and it was really interesting to see their story evolve gradually. I was also very interested in the plot, in these different killers, in their reasons and the resolution of everything. Kelly Meade presents a very good story full of surprises and we discover that Brynn takes insurance and temperament over the chapters. It was really nice to see the change from the naive girl we discovered at the beginning of the novel. But of course we also discover other characters quite fascinating as the Alpha of the pack or the Rook’s brothers. Brynn’s father will also emerge as well as some very bad guys.
The story is initiated here but it is very far from over. I am very curious to read more now!
Brynn has always been a disappointment to her father and her people. She is a Magnus (people of magic) and not a very good one. As the second born to her father, she is in a term useless. Sheltered and hidden most of her life because of this, her only knowledge of others comes from her father and her peoples beliefs. When she is graced with a vision (an unreliable power that no one believes much) of her father dying and a man leaning over him, she finds her self on a mission to track down the killer before it can take place. With a new found confidence and determination to prove her self worthy to be by her fathers side, she sets off to the one place she knows a Magus should never go if they want to come away alive. Loup Garou territory (werewolves). Once there she comes face to face with the man from her vision. Rook McQueen is the son of the Alpha of the Cornerstone run. Usually he stays far away from the likes of Brynn but there is something between them from the moment they meet. Adamant he would never kill anyone unless in self defense his family and Brynn arrange a form of truce to get to the bottom of it. Knowing she shouldn't trust the wolves, her instincts scream at her that she must so she can prove her worth to her people by helping the run figure out why she had the vision and what may lead it to fruition. As their search for the truth begins more and more complications and secrets long buried are thrown their way which will turn the history and their lives that they knew, flying out the window. Brynn and Rook are falling deeper into feelings that are not allowed by either of their kinds but with everything new that is being learned, could they possibly have a future if they can keep them selves and the Loup Garou alive?
Got to be honest I really enjoyed this book and got so sucked into the story I missed about 3 hours of my day, lol. Oh. My. God. I want a Rook and a Knight. Those boys are welcome here any time. The story contains so many twists and turns (some predictable and some not) that you just can't seem to stop turning pages even though you should have 10 pages back. The connection between Rook and Brynn is impossible and so sweet. He's so protective over her and she over him. Their differences present a few problems throughout but of course true love fights through. The supporting characters are amazing and can't wait to read more from them as the series continues. I have read a few books about wolves, vamps, magic, etc but I thought this one was a little breath of fresh air. The way the author played the story like a chess game and the slight differences in ways the packs worked, etc gave the book a different feel to many like it out there. I would highly recommend this book if it's your type of genre and will definitely be on the look out for #2.
I received a copy in an exchange for an honest review.
Brynn Atwood, a low level magus, has come to Cornerstone Run to circumvent a vision she had of her father’s death. An embarrassment to her father, a high level Magus, and the Magi council, Brynn figures that she can prove herself useful if she is able to prove her visions are real and not figments of her imagination. Brynn’s target is Rook McQueen, the man she saw in her vision and who she believes will kill her father.
Rook McQueen is the youngest of three sons to the powerful Cornerstone Run Alpha. A former musician, Rook has come home to participate against his oldest brother, Bishop, to take over the run when their father retires. As a black wolf, Rook is automatically predisposed to be alpha but a large part of him doesn’t feel he is the best choice.
When Brynn and Rook meet, the chemistry between them sparks fiercely. Brynn soon realizes her vision of Rook killing her father is flawed and strikes a deal with Rook to help find her father’s true killer. As his and Brynn’s attraction grows stronger, fatal assaults against other runs leads to an assault against one of Rook’s brothers, leaving Rook facing a powerful dilemma. Rook must decide which path his destiny lays down…with Brynn or his people.
Black Rook is the first in a urban fantasy trilogy based on a family of loup garous-The McQueens by Kelly Meade aka Kelly Meding. I am a huge fan of Meding’s Dreg City series so I expect great things from this new offering. Strong new adult and romantic elements offer up an action packed storyline with inclusions of humor and sorrow that engages readers from the first page. Though some may be put off by the predictability of the supernatural mythos, there really are only so many ways to describe a shifter pack, readers will delight in the heavy characterization and twists that Meade uses to make this her own.
An outcast magus, Brynn Atwood’s precognitive abilities leads her to the loup garou and Rook McQueen, the first in line to inherit the role of alpha. What she doesn’t see coming is the attraction that draws them to each other. Both will have to make impossible choices to save the ones they love when an unknown enemy attacks the loup garou in this riveting shifter romance.
The fast paced and smooth flowing plot immediately grabs the reader’s attention and doesn’t let go until the very last page has been read. The author brings the story to life with well written scenes and details that capture the imagination and the well orchestrated drama and suspense draw the reader deeper into the story with strong compelling characters and action scenes that are exciting and believable.
The attraction between Rook and Brynn burns up the pages from first sight despite the fact that they are supposed to be enemies, but the relationship progresses slowly throughout the story due to lots of mitigating circumstances but when they finally come together the passion explodes from the pages singeing the reader. The reader can’t help but get caught up in their story as the reader empathizes with their emotional turmoil. Brynn learns things that totally turns her world upside down and Rook is torn by his attraction to Brynn when he knows that she would never be accepted as an Alpha female.
Spine tingling tension builds continuously throughout the story as every second reveals more information and brings more danger to the Cornerstone Run pack. The author spices things up with some refreshingly different elements and surprising twists that keeps the readers on their toes. I was totally caught up in this fascinating story and the captivating characters from beginning to end and I can’t wait to read the next book. As a side note, I have to say that I am totally in love with the McQueen brothers and I love their cool names.
I agree with Jacob's review for the most part. Especially about the lame colour coding the loup garou use to run their entire society and the bizarro biology of White Wolves (which is never actually explained. We don't know how it works or why just them, it just is "because magic" :-/).
Unfortunately, unlike Jacob, I can't round up to 3 stars because by about 75% in I was tired of Brynn and Rook and ultimately didn't really care what happened to them or if they even got together (being PNR the answer was always going to be "yes" to that). It's not that they were bad characters, which would have at least been something, it was just that they were so very bland in a youthful, optimistic sort of way.
My mind also continues to boggle at the image of a wolf with 30mm ear gauges. Even now I have trouble really picturing what it would look like.
I'm not really sure how some of these books pass the publishers desk when they're not really anything special.
This book is reasonably likable, the main characters included. They're a couple of novel idea regarding the paranormal communities, nothing remarkable.
All up, this book was a fair read, I'll get on to the next book at some stage, only because I have it already, I definitely wouldn't go to the trouble of buying it. And I definitely wouldn't bother recommending it.
Amazes me some of these big publish house authors have ever managed to make a career and living out of these kind of books. The power of the corporate publishing house.
I really liked this first book in a new PNR series. I love the dynamics between shifters, vampires, and the Magus. It reminds me a bit of the psy-changeling series as far as how they are all so antagonistic toward each other. I'm really looking forward to seeing how this develops! B+
I’m a big fan of Kelly Meade’s work as Kelly Meding. Her Meta Wars series and her Dreg City series are some of my favorite Urban Fantasy series. I don’t know how I forgot about her Cornerstone series. I was really looking forward to reading it before it came out, but then I guess life got in the way. And boy am I mad about that. I really didn’t want to put this book down, it was so good. From the very beggining, I was hooked and knew I would binge read the entire trilogy.
I really liked Brynn. I loved that she was taking matters into her own hands after years of being a disappointment to her father and her people. He doesn’t take her premonition seriously, but she will do whatever it takes to keep the bad guys (loup garou) from killing her father. Of course, the real world isn’t exactly like her father told her. The wolves aren’t all bad, the Magus aren’t all good and the vision Brynn had of Rook killing her father might not be exactly what she saw.
I loved discovering the world as Brynn did. Seeing her open up to the truth, to the world she never knew existed. Learning about who she truly was. It was all really great to see. I also loved seeing her and Rook fall for each other and learn exactly what that meant. This book was filled with great amounts of action, intrigue, relationships and a really interesting world. I couldn’t wait to keep reading.
Black Rook is the first book in the new Cornerstone trilogy by Kelly Meade (aka Kelly Meding). This new series centers around a Loup Garou run and the three sons of the Alpha. The McQueen brothers are all vastly different and each story will focus on one brother and give them their own HEA, but will have a story arc that spans all three books. Black Rook is about the youngest son, Rook, and the woman that journeys to his small town after she has vision of him standing over the body of her murdered father.
Brynn Atwood arrives in town unsure exactly how to proceed. She’s a low-level magus whose own father doesn’t have much faith in her abilities, but she knows that her visions are rarely wrong and she’s determined to save her father’s life. This is her first real experience with the Loup Garou and up until now only has rumor and the biased opinions of other Magi to go on. She’s quite taken aback to realize that the people from the Cornerstone Run aren’t anything like she was led to believe. They care about each other deeply and are intelligent and loyal. Even after Brynn accidentally causes an unfortunate accident that threatens the life of one of the Alpha’s sons, she is treated with respect, albeit suspicion, when she is brought into the McQueen home.
Rook McQueen is the youngest son, but he’s also the only black wolf born of his parent’s union and therefore is the logical heir. After spending his college years away pursuing his music career, he’s now back in the fold and ready to learn everything about leading a run and becoming an alpha. When he first meets the beautiful young woman who says she has a vision of him killing her father he takes her at her word, but quickly convinces her that her vision isn’t completely accurate. He also has quite the visceral reaction to her scent. He can sense right away that there’s more to Brynn that meets the eye (or nose in this instance) and there is more to her background than even she knows.
Once Brynn is taken into the McQueen home as a “guest” and learns of the involvement of half-breeds and their destruction of another run, she becomes determined to use her visions to help the McQueens, especially Rook, figure out what’s going on and hopefully prevent more innocents from dying. It’s not long before she and Rook find themselves falling for each other, even though they know the problems this will cause in both of their lives.
There’s a lot to like about the first book in this new series. The world building is very interesting and I enjoyed the different take on the werewolf mythos. The whole black, gray and white colored wolves and how those colors lead them to different roles in the run were very intriguing to me. Grays are the most prevalent and make up the majority of the populace of the run. Blacks are the strongest and fastest and usually become the leaders and protectors. Whites are the rarest of colors, every run usually only has one, and they take on a very specific role. They are the wolves who take on the aggressive emotions of their run-mates and keep everyone calm. The dynamic between the brothers really is the best part of this series so far as they are each raised to a different role according to the color of their wolf, and some times those roles don’t fit in with their personalities, desires or abilities. There are also the vampires and magus to consider, and even though they don’t play a prominent role in this story, I have a feeling they may in the next two books.
I was confused by a few things the further I read. For one, there’s a big revelation towards the end of the book that while I thought I saw it coming, I had previously ruled it out in my head because I understood that the wolves were able to scent whether someone was a magus, Loup or human and they didn’t pick up on it like they did other characters in the story. (I’m intentionally being vague here). So when it happened I kind of sat there like… hmmmmmm. Also there were some perplexing statements over which wolves can mate and breed offspring with species other than their own. Because the Magi/Loup pairing had never been seen before in this world before the events of this story I’m not sure how it was assumed that they could even breed. But that could be my confusion and since I haven’t heard any other complaints about this I’m assuming this is my issue and I might have misunderstood what I read. I’m chalking it up to this being a series starter and therefore having a lot of information to dump on the reader.
Unfortunately, my least favorite part of this story was the romance between Rook and Brynn. I’m not sure why, but I found them to be almost boring at times and their relationship to be predictable. I think their characters could have been better fleshed out and their chemistry developed a little more. They almost had the feel of YA or NA characters as some points. Knight, the middle brother and the white wolf of the run, is such a huge presence in this book that my interest in him and how his relationship will unfold in the next two books took over any enthusiasm I may have had for this couple. So while I did enjoy the world building, plot and some of the action scenes, for me the romance fell completely flat. Will I be reading the next book in the series? Absolutely. Gray Bishop is, you guessed it, Gray’s story and I’m very interested to find out how he overcomes the challenges represented by his wolf color in order to take over the run. Final Grade- C
“Follow your heart or choose who’s best for the run. That’s a terrible sort of choice.”