Title: Chasing Seth (True Mates #1)
Author: J.R. Loveless
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Buy link: Amazon.com
Genre: Contemporary M/M, interracial
Length: novel/212 PDF pages/76K words
Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5
Review Summary: I was really conflicted about this story but in the end I just could not like it enough to rate it higher. The characters and certain aspects of the plot didn’t work for me.
Veterinarian Seth Davies comes to Senaka, Wyoming, looking for peace and anonymity, trying to escape his past. He’s always been a target for trouble and pain, and Seth has had more than his share of both. Kasey Whitedove takes one look at Seth and assumes the worst. No white man could love animals the way the mostly Cheyenne population expects, and Kasey makes Seth’s first days in Senaka more than unpleasant.
Then an accident puts Kasey in the uncomfortable position of eating crow—and helplessly desiring Seth—despite the danger of Kasey’s life as a werewolf and Seth’s stressful secrets. Chasing Seth down and keeping him safe from his past has just become Kasey’s most important job.
Seth was the new vet in a town that was primarily Native American (Cheyenne), and he was very excited since this was his first practice. However from the first day things didn’t go according to plan when he met Sheriff Kasey Whitedove, a bigoted Native American who had an irrational hatred of all whites. Kasey made it clear he disliked the fact that Seth was the new vet. He was so incensed that he was on the verge of refusing Seth’s help for one of his pregnant horses whose labour was life threatening, but Seth made him reconsider for the sake of the animal. Later that evening after Seth saved the horse Kasey was still surly and the next day when Seth saw him he wasn’t in a better mood. To make matters worse, visits to the clinic from the townsfolk dried up to a trickle – obviously they too didn’t want a white vet and were trying to get him to leave, which really upset Seth because he couldn’t afford to relocate as he didn’t have any money to buy another clinic.
That night the sheriff showed up again. A few days before he had scented his mate and he was trying to locate “her”, with no luck. Later that evening when Seth was in wolf form Kasey picked up the scent again and when he tried to communicate with him he ran, but in the rush to get away fell off a cliff and had to be rescued from almost certain death. Kasey realized a few hours later when Seth was recovering from his injuries, still in wolf form, that “she” was actually “he,” but there was a much bigger shock in store.
When Seth regained consciousness he refused to shift to his human form because he was afraid of Kasey’s reaction, and he was right to be concerned because Kasey initially rejected him for two reasons: He believed that Seth was a Created wolf, the natural enemy of the born wolf – in his opinion only Native Americans were born as wolves. In addition, he could not reconcile his feelings towards Seth with the fact that his mate was white. As for Seth, in the past he had been viciously abused and raped by a wolf who falsely claimed to be his mate and all his friends gang raped Seth over and over, and it was only because of his friend Nick that Seth was alive. It took him 2 years to recover from the trauma so he was not about to be fooled again, but could he live without Kasey if he were telling the truth? Also there was a new threat against Seth’s life and as always Nick came to his rescue, but would his presence cause friction between Seth and Kasey?
I had many issues with this book. There are aspects that I liked but among those that I disliked was that Kasey’s characterization was too overtly racist. He hated all white people for no reason other than their race and in addition, he blamed them for single-handedly destroying the environment for millennia. My other problem was the violence was unnecessarily graphic, especially a couple of incidents that involved the killing of pets. This really turned my stomach as the author could have chosen another, less gruesome way to make her point about the perpetrator, so if you have a pet or you’re easily squicked by violence and lots of blood, this may not be the book for you.
With regard to the characterizations, there seemed to be a deliberate attempt to feminize Seth by using adjectives showing him as weak opposed to Kasey’s size and strength. Seth was portrayed as TSTL (too stupid to live) throughout, always having to be rescued by someone stronger and tougher and bigger. He was continually referred to as “the smaller male,” “adorable little wolf;” “delicate,” “slender,” (an adjective used frequently in het romances). Of course there are many small sized men in RL but I thought Chasing Seth went overboard in trying to emasculate Seth. Kasey of course was the “tall virile Cheyenne” “the big Cheyenne” “the large male” etc. Also I don’t think I have read a book where the word “pup” was used as an endearment as many times (I stopped counting at 25). In addition, the author kept referring to Kasey as the “older man” on several occasions when he was only 32 years old, 3 years older than Seth. While Kasey was technically older, this emphasis didn’t make any sense to me.
On the positive side, Chasing Seth was packed with werewolf lore about Created and born wolves and the natural antipathy between them. There was new data about werewolf culture that showed imagination. Another layer was provided by showing Seth as a unique wolf with special powers that compromised his safety since every pack wanted him. The genesis of Seth’s powers went back centuries so the historical context was interesting.
I liked many of the supporting characters including Chessie the receptionist in Seth’s clinic who was a standout, as was Mrs Whitedove, Kasey’s mother and his father the Alpha of the pack. My favourite was Nick, Seth’s best and only friend who had saved him on many occasions, (do you see a pattern here?) but as close as they were Seth was totally clueless about who Nick really was even though he was supposedly a unique wolf with a lot of power.
Initially I thought that Kasey was one dimensional until he found his mate and then he was focused on Seth, even though he couldn’t rationalize his being white with the fact that he was bound to him forever. As for Seth, he was weak, always having to be rescued by the big strong weres, however he did have some redeeming qualities which I liked, and never having grown up in a pack environment this provided a few challenges.
To summarize: This is a book you will either love or not and most readers seem to love it. I liked the complexity of the plot which raised my rating by .5 star but there was too much that was not explained, excessive overuse of the words “mate” and “pup,” repetitive prose and dialogue and some over the top prose, weak characterizations including what seemed to be an attempt to change Seth into a TSTL heroine. It was difficult for me to like Kasey until half way through the book when he changed 180 degrees, and if I don’t like the protagonists I have a hard time liking the story. Add to that the gang rapes, as well as the unnecessary and vicious killing of two pets which made it more difficult. There’s lots of drama throughout, but there were too many inconsistencies for me, including continuity errors (a character being clothed when a moment before he was naked).
The ending was exciting and it seems that there may be a sequel but if that happens I don’t know if I’ll be up for it.
There is a mix of ratings on Amazon, mostly 5 star reviews and a few 3 and 2 stars so this opinion is in the minority, which just goes to show the varying tastes of readers.
I wish I could like Chasing Seth more but c’est la vie.