A Guest Review by Sammy
Review Summary: A sequel that struggled to find the same intense rhythm of its predecessor but with enough action to set up the next novella in the series.
Blurb: Declan Finlay is hunting the guilty werewolf, his friend Connor. The incubus, Levi Tiernan, is his companion on the hunt. If Declan doesn’t track and kill Connor, then Levi will.
Declan Finlay is the best Retriever that Glitnir has. Well, he is now that Connor Strand has gone rogue. He is sent to hunt Connor – the guilty werewolf. But he doubts that his best friend could ever be guilty and he resolves to track him down and find out why he ran with the renegade vampire. When the Fae Alliance, reporting to Glitnir, demand that he not go alone he is forced to accept the incubus, Levi Tiernan, an assassin, as his companion on the journey. If Declan doesn’t kill Connor, then Levi will. What happens when old lust and love dictate action and suddenly Declan is questioning everything he knows.
Review: Once again a Glitnir Retriever finds himself irresistibly drawn to another species. In this case it is a succubus, one who feeds on emotions, not to be confused with a vampire. Along for the ride, these two mismatched hunters pick up a magical elf and all hell breaks lose on the journey to bring back the original retriever–now a rogue werewolf fully mated to a vampire who is still wanted for murder. Confused? You definitely need to read the first in this series to make sense of this, the second installment. Therefore, dear reader if you have not done so, please go read the first and find this review later.
For those intrepid souls who have latched on to this second installment and can make sense of my opening paragraph, I want to begin by saying that this sequel fell flat in a few places for me, but, it served its purpose to inch the story along–note, the word, inch–therein lies the crux of my frustration with this novella.
The story, The Guilty Werewolf, while similar in its scope to the first book in the series, had enough change-up in the characters and plot line that I felt we were not simply replaying an old theme. The idea of Levi being a succubus that feeds off the emotions of others was an interesting concept. In turn, it made him a person one could feel compassion for, begin to understand and even grow fond of, in the end.
The werewolf, Declan, however, was another story. Angry and somewhat abusive toward Levi through more than half the novel, I felt his emotional transformation toward the latter half of the book to be simply unrealistic and much too easy to swallow. His hatred of Levi was written in a much more realistic vein than his love for him.
Coupled with the too sudden recapitulation of Declan was the slow trickle of information about both the death of Levi’s parents, a staged suicide, and exactly what the newly introduced elf, Phin, was and how he fit into the overall picture. Still unresolved (for those who recall book one) was the staged death of Micah’s “husband” for whom he and Connor are still on the run avoiding Glitnir’s retribution.
Confused? Yes, so was I just a little. You see this novella did not give us more information about how everyone’s loved ones were being killed, it just added more bodies to the picture, so to speak. Now we have two werewolves on the run (Connor and Declan) harboring and aiding two other paranormals (Micah and Levi) who are trying to find out who is behind all the killings of their loved ones in Glitnir. Along with them is this new character, Phin, who wields some pretty impressive magic, and who is also on the run and being hunted by his own set of bad guys.
Not dizzy yet? Well, I was–just a wee bit. This was a good little novella, but just too lacking in concrete information to keep the story moving along on the previous trajectory. We needed at least some idea as to who was the ringleader–some idea that one of these guys had a clue as to where to look next. Instead the story stalled a bit and simply introduced the next set of players and even more problems. Couple that with this new love story arc between Declan and Levi that seemed to coalesce way too rapidly and you are left with a sequel that moved way too fast and yet only inched the plot line along a tiny bit–not a great combination.
The bottom line here is that The Guilty Werewolf was only a good story but not the best means to move this series along. While it did not detract, it merely served to add more mysteries to the pot and not shed light on any that already existed. I am hopeful that the next book in this series will tidy up some of the many loose ends the first two novellas has produced.
I know, dear reader, what you are wondering. Is this installment good enough to keep pursuing this series? I would say yes, the novella is solidly written, introduces some very likable and some very mysterious characters and does give us a sense that someone is going to find an answer. I will hang in for the next in the series to see where this author takes us and if the story gets back on track and provides some much needed clues in the mystery.