Review: Blood Challenge by Eileen Wilks

blood challengeReviewed by Jen

I know it’s bad form to talk about the ending of a book first, but WOW what at ending this one has. It’s really the ultimate culmination of a fantastic book that builds and builds to a climax that is emotional, intense, and pretty much everything you could want. Not sold yet? Let me back up.

This book really gets back to the basics in what the series is about, and it picks up some dangling threads that have just been waiting to be pulled. The focus is on the lupi, specifically Nokolai, but not just them. Rule is trying to gather all the clans together to talk about the growing threat from their ancient enemy. It’s not easy, since his decision to become Rho of Leidolf while remaining heir to Nokolai has left the other clans on edge.

So much is happening, from an unexplained outbreak of deadly rage from a Leidolf wolf to the growing threat from the Humans First movement and their leader. All of that sets up a great mystery arc and really keeps the pace moving fast. But where the book started to really rock my world is when the focus moved to Benedict and major changes that hit his life. I have always been interested in Benedict. He reminds me much of Charles from the Mercy Thompson world, who I also love (though it’s only fair to point out that this series came out first.) Anyway, he plays a really big role here, and it was a win in every way.

These books are really at their best when we’re focused on the characters and the clans –and that’s exactly what Eileen Wilks does here. She is taking us deeper into the mythology of the lupi and widening the worldbuilding… and she does it well. So much is happening, but I love that they all feel like things Wilks has laid the groundwork for from the very beginning. One of the biggest wins in a long running series is that feeling of cohesiveness I got here… where everything is connected and has a purpose. All of this, while the action is going a hundred miles per hour.

The characters are so well drawn, I feel like I know them, especially Lily, Rule, and Cullen. But even the new characters like the amazing Arjenie or those we’ve only seen in supporting roles –like Benedict and Isen– are so three dimensional. Their voices are unmistakable and impactful. Put together the worldbuilding, the romance, (the secondary romances!), the pacing, and a fantabulous ending, and you’ve got yourself a killer book. This is really the best one in the series to date. I can’t wait to keep reading.

Now if only they would give their enemy a better name, even if they can’t use her real one…

Rating: A-

Click to purchase: Amazon

Blood Challenge
by Eileen Wilks
Release Date: January 4, 2011
Publisher: Berkley

 

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