Chasing Seth (True Mates #1)

Title: Chasing Seth (True Mates #1)
Author: J.R. Loveless
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Publisher: Dreamspinner
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.

THE BLURB

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.

True Mates

THE REVIEW

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.

Author

I live in Canada and I love big dogs, music, movies, reading and sports – especially baseball

23 comments

  • Just a perfect review!

    At the end I was tired of the sentence “I’m your mate…, I’m your mate…”
    I hope a better story for Nick.

    Reply
    • Hi Timboo

      Thanks for your comment, which echoes mine about repetition through the book. In the end the vocabulary in this book was so limited and repetitious I wondered why consideration wasn’t given to the use of a Thesaurus. 😀

      Reply
  • What is TSTL?

    I will pass. I just read A Red-Tainted Silence and I am so over rape being used as a plot device to make one character appear weak or victimized. Thanks for the honest review.

    Reply
    • Hi Lasha,

      TSTL = Too Stupid To Live.

      It is a shorthand used to describe romance heroines who don’t think for themselves or put themselves in danger’s way without considering consequences or the big picture and have to be rescued by the hero.

      😎

      Cheers, Merrian

      Reply
    • Hey Lasha

      TSTL = Too Stupid To Live. Sorry.

      Seth just wasn’t my type of hero on many levels. As for rape as a plot device, stick it with a fork. It’s done (at least for me).

      I read A Red Tainted Silence a few years ago and I thought that Buda and I were the only 2 people who didn’t like this book 🙂 – the fans are legion and we’re a very small minority . 😆

      Reply
      • Oh no, the minority is quickly growing. I posted my review of ARTS on Goodreads and people came out of the woodwork to agree with me. 🙂 I guess us people who did not like it weren’t being as vocal as the people who did.

        Reply
  • Great Review Wave!
    You hit the nail on the head! I found the constant use of Pup very condescending and annoying, poor Seth, totally incapable of living his life without someone else helping him along! It’s horrible in m/f historicals, but why he was make so helpless in a contemporary paranormal is beyond me.
    And why were Kasey and his brother such bigots? Their parents didn’t seem to be.

    Reply
    • Some authors have heroes in their books who are fully functional and can live without constantly being “helped” by someone else when they get into trouble. I felt sorry for Seth having to deal with the people in his life.

      This author seems to love similar types of MCs like Seth.

      You’re right about Kasey’s parents — I quite liked them as I said in the review.

      Reply
  • Mostly like Issa I’ve wanted to buy this book several times, but everytime something I heard or read about the book put me off.

    A friend informed me that in ways it was very much like Loveless, the first book. Where the character was also seen a delicated a raped and abused by someone for several years.

    Maybe some day, but I think your review about sums up how I would feel like it.

    It’s too bad when a book sounds good in theory, but doesn’t work out.

    Reply
    • It seems that Loveless has a liking for raping men in her books and she likes “delicate” chicks with dicks.

      As you know I love paranormals but I didn’t like much of this book for the reasons in the review. There was lots more but I ran out of space. 😮

      Reply
      • Stories like this are always ‘easy’ to write, becausde drama is always easy. Humor on the other hand or a good adventure book…. 😛

        Reply
  • My feelings are the same as yours. I rated it 2 out of 5 on my personal scale. It wasn’t only that Seth was TSTL it was that the representation of his character was essentially misogynistic too it seemed to me. I also found Casey’s representation clumsy and disliked that so many people in Seth’s life had lied to him and through these lies made him vulnerable to be hurt. I agree about the innovative take on were culture but basically didn’t like any of the people in the story because of their actions and it is what people do that tells us who they really are.

    Reply
    • Merriam

      I felt that I had said enough negative things about the story, but you’re absolutely correct that everyone lied to Seth, even Nick.

      I love paranormal stories but this one was just not to my taste.

      Reply
  • Oh no, no matter how interesting plot could be, Seth sounds like chick with dick and thus so not my cup of tea :(. Too bad, but thanks for saving me some money Wave.

    Reply
  • This book was *hugely* disappointing to me. I had high hopes since it was available as a pre-order on ARe (apparently my thought process was that she must crank out consistently great stories!). I’ve said something similar at ARe and Goodreads – “are there no new ideas out there?” 😥 This story was like every other shifter story I had read and even less imaginative than many of them.

    I understand that writing is difficult and props to those who can do it because *I* can’t…. but this was just bad. :no:

    Reply
    • I too had high hopes for this book because the blurb sounded different, but ultimately I just couldn’t like it.

      You summed it up correctly – it was just bad. 🙁

      Reply
  • I’ve been going back and forth on this one. After reading your review I think I’m going to stay away. Among other things I hate when authors keep on using “older man”. I get it, there’s an age gap move on now.

    Reply
  • Thanks for the review. I’ve almost purchased this book two or three times but haven’t. I think I’ll skip this one based on the reasons you stated. I like some angst, but this seems like more than I’d want. It seems like the last few stories I’ve read contain one character that has been sexually abused. I’m getting kinda of sick of that plot line so for that alone I’d have to say no for this one right now.

    Reply
    • Hi Issa

      I really wanted to like this book but there was too much I couldn’t stomach and I felt that some of the violence was over the top. Viciously gutting dogs was too much for me in addition to the rapes. I love books about weres but it seems that recently most of them are too violent, and my stomach can take a lot. However a lot of readers seem to love the book so it’s a matter of different tastes I guess.

      Reply

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