Lots of the books I read are great, I get into the plot, I love the heroine and fall for the hero, I immerse myself and fall into a different world for a short time.
Then occasionally a book comes along that grips me, holds me close and changes a little something about my soul. This is one of those books. (Or at least the first half was.)
To my shame, I passed it over when it was offered to the blog for an early review. I wasn’t in the mood for wolf shifters as we get a lot in that ilk which can be repetitive. Then someone recommended this book to a reader group I’m part of. It’s wonderful – you really ought to read it, they said. So I did.
The story is told from the perspective of Ox. We start with him being twelve years old when his father is walking out on the family. The man calls Ox slow, and says he faces a life of people being shit to him. He has to go as he doesn’t want Ox to be something he regrets too. It’s sad and Ox’s unique way of seeing the world makes it all the more heartbreaking.
Ox isn’t ‘slow’ at all, whatever that means. I can’t even explain how he comes across. One of the other characters described Ox as having layers – as soon as he thinks he’s found the last layer, the bottom falls out and the depths keep on going. He’s truly fascinating, red-blooded, loyal, plainly insightful and just so great.
It’s just him and his mother, plus his adult friends at the garage he works in – his father’s old job. Until a new family move to their forest-surrounded small town.
The Bennetts are beautiful and the youngest brother, Joe, brings Ox into the family of mother, father, uncle and three sons. Pretty soon he’s one of them. He becomes pack.
They are the wolves. But this isn’t just a story of werewolves, it’s also an epic love story. When Joe is almost eighteen, Ox finally sees him. He’s not a little boy anymore. He’s six-two, fair, bright and as stunning as the day is long. And he’s loved Ox since he first saw him.
But there are bad people in the world and even worse monsters, and our family has to fight them to survive.
Here is where the book lost a few points for me, as the action disappears with one set of characters, leaving us in our single perspective behind. I’m used to either joint perspective in romance, or single perspective where the action follows the main protagonist. In this case that doesn’t happen and I’m not convinced it was the best for the story.
It ripped a chunk out of the romance and I didn’t get the overwhelming chest-ache I wanted when resolution came. It had been such a big deal and though action returned and there was a HEA, it wasn’t as exciting as I anticipated. I felt a little let down. The writing style is so beautiful but the pace and plot diminished in the second half.
I’d read more in the series – a second book following a different couple is due in 2018 according to Klune’s twitter. The world building was great – the fact it was witnessed through the unique perspective of Ox made it all the more tantalizing and another voice will add loads to this.
Just think atmospheric, coming of age, protecting what’s yours and big love.
Click to purchase: Amazon
by TJ Klune
Release Date: June 20, 2016
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press