Werewolf Fight League: Tor


Title: Werewolf Fight League: Tor
Author: Lynn Lorenz
Buy Link: Amazon.com
Genre: M/M fantasy paranormal
Length: Novella (156 pages)
Rating: 3 stars out of 5

A guest review by Leslie S

Review summary: Amazing concept, but poor writing and bland characterisation lets this book down.

Blurb
To the Werewolf Fight League, Tor is a champion fighter. To his master, he’s nothing more than a slave. When Tor’s mate Jin is killed in a brutal cage fight, Tor never wants to fight again. His master, Marrack has other plans for him.

Sky is a beautiful young sex slave, trained to perform sex on whoever buys him. But Sky is special; he’s a virgin and the man who owns him will be very lucky to be the first.

When Marrack buys Sky for Tor, his plan to get Tor back in the cage is set in motion. How could the big were resist mating the beautiful boy? Marrack has one month to get Tor back into shape and fighting again. Everything is riding on this –Tor’s reputation, Sky’s freedom, and Marrack’s money.

Will Tor find love again with a slave boy, or will Tor be betrayed by his new mate?

Publisher’s Note: This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that some readers may find objectionable: BDSM them and elements, exhibitionism, master/slave, violence (including rape).

Readers with a history of rape or sexual abuse may find elements of this story disturbing.

Review
The blurb does a great job at describing the events of this story. As soon as I read that blurb, I was eager to get my hands on the book. Unfortunately it’s like one of those trailers you see at the movies that makes the film look awesome, and then when you actually watch the film, all the good bits were in the trailer and there’s not much left in between.

The book starts with a gripping chapter. Tor, a werewolf cage fighter, is pitted against a deranged were challenger, Cosack. As in all of these popular televised matches, the champion has his mate in the cage with him. The champion fights to defend his mate from the challenger, and if the champion loses, the new victor can take the defeated champion’s mate in full view of the paying public.

Tor is in love with his mate, Jin. Together they’ve been an unbeatable pair, making lots of money for their owner Marrack. But this time, the challenger is out of control and in a frenzy of bloodlust, and when Tor gains the advantage, Cosack pulls a knife—an illegal move—and wounds Tor. Cosack then rapes and kills Jin (yes, that publisher’s warning is there for a reason).

Tor’s physical wounds take months to heal, but his emotional anguish is so great that he wants to die. Marrack doesn’t want to lose his champion—Tor is far too valuable—and so he gambles a large chunk of his money on buying Sky, a beautiful virgin harem boy. Tor won’t fight competitively without a mate, and Marrack is sure that Tor won’t be able to resist Sky’s beauty and skills in bed.

Tor is reluctant to get involved with Sky, not just because of his grief over Jin’s death but also because he fears that if he claims Sky and takes him as his mate, history will repeat itself and he won’t be able to protect Sky during a fight.

But Sky is determined to win his place in Tor’s bed and at his side in the fights, because Sky has his eyes on a bigger prize—his freedom. The only problem is, Sky didn’t take into account how his feelings might change…

This could have been a really good book, but it wasn’t. It’s an okay book, and fans of the author will probably enjoy it, but for me it didn’t live up to the promise of the blurb. The first couple of chapters held my interest, and the concept—wow, it’s brilliant, I *love* the concept! But sadly, the execution of the story doesn’t do it justice.

My main problem is with the writing. It’s pretty much all tell and no show, and after the first couple of chapters and when things had started to settle down for Tor and Sky, I lost interest. There’s a lot of sex scenes, but as with everything else in the book, it got kind of formulaic and I started skipping to the next part that moved the story along.

The plot itself holds no great surprises, and because everything is just presented to the reader almost pre-chewed, then you don’t really need to think as you read. Which is fine if you’re looking for that kind of escapism, but I did expect more based on the blurb and the first couple of chapters; and stronger writing (and stronger editing—I’m surprised at Loose-Id in this instance) would have solved many of the issues.

I didn’t really connect with any of the characters. I started off liking Sky—he’s sweet and naive, and I do have a weakness for this type of pleasure-slave character and he fits the role perfectly. But as the story went on, instead of gaining in confidence, he seemed to lose it, and in places he almost seemed to parody himself and go out of character, and instead of becoming smarter as he learned how to help Tor fight, he veered into TSTL territory. A lot of this was because Sky made assumptions and didn’t bother to actually ask Tor’s thoughts or opinions, and Tor is guilty of the same sin. Cue lots of misunderstandings that could easily have been avoided or resolved after a simple conversation. That doesn’t work for me at the best of times so it was annoying to see the trope played out on several occasions during the course of this story.

Many of the characters are sketchy and (I hate to say this) one-dimensional. Because the writing ‘tells’ us so much but doesn’t ‘show’ any of it, the story lacks any emotional resonance. As I keep saying, the best scene is the opening chapter, but the book doesn’t maintain that level of tension and couldn’t make me believe in the characters’ motivations or in their romance. I was more interested in a couple of minor characters, Stoltz and Ashland, than in the two heroes.

Also, there was very little attempt at world-building. There’s just enough to get the reader through the story, but it’s not immersive and again, it lacks any kind of resonance.

In the end, this book didn’t work for me at all, which is a great shame. If Ms Lorenz writes the next book in the series, I would pick it up because I’m interested in the relationship between Stolz and Ashland, and I really do love the whole idea of werewolf cage fighters. But for me, Tor is book with a lot of potential that, unfortunately, wasn’t fully realised.

9 comments

  • Hey you, great review, though, I like Jennifer, did think Sky grew in character throughout the story. Not in the strides I would have liked, but he seemed to grow more confident.

    But this story was just mediocre from what we’ve come to know from the author. The concept, I agree, is awesome, but there is no back story.

    It made no sense to me, whatsoever, as to why werewolves would fight for their mates in the ring.

    Another that bugged me was the concept of mates. It’s never really explained, but aren’t mates supposed to stay together? What is it with the openly taking of the loser’s mate? We never heard about Thor doing so at all even when he was with Jin… and they loved each other. I couldn’t see him cheating on either Jin or Sky.

    Then there was the fight at the beginning of the book. We learn that there are judges (or something similar, don’t remember) wouldn’t they have interfered the moment Cosack pulled a knife and stabbed Thor? It’s breaking the rules in a big way (according to the story) yet they only interfere after Jin was killed… made no sense to me

    *is slightly frustrated by this book*

    Reply
    • Hi Larissa, there was one point I remember that Sky really annoyed me – I can’t remember where now but it was after he’d started to gain in confidence and he was training hard to be a worthy mate, and then it seemed that he started doubting himself over things that had already been proven to him, and it was just frustrating for me 🙁

      And you’re totally right about the mates concept and the lack of backstory. The more I think about it, the more I wonder if this is one of the author’s early stories or something, because it definitely lacks the polish of what I’ve come to expect from her. Oh well, everyone has an off day!

      Reply
      • Ah yeah that is true, but i thought co sidering the situation he was doing okay. I would have been hiding under the covers!

        True. It’s very amateuristic. Not so long she released Duty Bound, that is pf the same caliber. No background and forced sex. Seems to have become an thing, i think.

        Reply
  • I could not disagree more.

    I read jessewave reviews and I’ve generally found they are there or thereabouts to my view, but this one is so far away from my reading I had to respond.

    Sky, naive as he may be has an agenda from the start, he grows through the story – I really do not understand how you read that he lost confidence; his development through the book is all about him learning and growing and gaining the confidence to make his own choices.
    Tor’s issues are explained and there is no insta love or ‘big misunderstanding(s)’.Both characters work to their own agenda/character and when love develops they don’t talk to each other. In the circumstances this makes complete sense – it isn’t a misunderstanding it’s the characters acting consistently. And it is well done.

    This is a 5/5 book.

    And yes, I’m interested in the Stolz and Ashland relationship. Given the quality of this story it will be an auto buy.

    Reply
    • Hi Jennifer, thanks for offering your opinion and stating what you enjoyed about the book. It’s always good to have another viewpoint and I appreciate you taking the time, even if we’re going to have to agree to disagree on this one 🙂

      Reply
  • I have to agree. I lost interest after the first few chapters (especially when they started having sex what seemed like every other paragraph), and haven’t gone back yet to finish it. Given all the time that he mourned over Jin and his vehement denials of not mating again, the two came together as a ‘couple’ a little too quickly for me. I would be interested in seeing the story between Stolz and Ashland, though.

    Reply
    • Hi Jb, yep I had a similar problem with how fast they fell in love. It’s odd because the book is full of rookie mistakes and this is an established author. But I’d like to see Stolz and Ashland’s story though.

      Reply
    • Hi Denni, yes, narrated stories like this tend to be something I associate with newer writers, so I was surprised to see it in a book by an established author. It’s also something I didn’t expect from this publisher since they’re usually so strong on editing 🙁 Oh well, maybe the second book will be better!

      Reply

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