Title: Moon Shadows
Author: Neena Jaydon
Cover Artist: Unknown
Publisher: Torquere Press
Amazon: Buy Link Moon Shadows
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance / Paranormal
Length: 276 pages
Rating: 4.75 out of 5 rating stars
A Guest Review by Raine
Summary Review: Stylish imaginative writing creates an exciting book with thoughtful characters who were vivid and believable both as paranormals and real people with everyday lives.
Blurb: Not every werewolf is leader of the pack. Theo Dimitriadis, games tester by profession and werewolf by nature, has built himself a quiet life. But he puts himself into the public spotlight after he pulls Anastasia Shevchenko out of a river. This brings him to the attention of Max, Anastasia’s brother. Max is a dog trainer who, like Theo, has a family secret. He’s a medium, able to communicate with ghosts and spirits.
When life-draining shadow spirits appear in Fort Rivers, Theo and Max take action together. Max starts wanting the gorgeous man he sees hidden behind Theo’s shyness. The more Theo retreats from his attention, the more Max goes on the chase. Theo loves to submit but fears that he’ll give up too much control to Max. They struggle to understand each other even as they zero in on the shadow spirits. But before they can reconcile their differences, an even darker threat comes along, intent on harming more than their relationship. If Theo and Max want to be together, first they have to get through this supernatural battle intact!
Moon Shadows is that rare thing, a genre novel that can stand up on it’s own outside the paranormal classification as a rounded and complete work. I didn’t have to suspend my disbelief here it all fell into place as an acceptable reality. This came from the balanced, accurate and imaginative language used by the writer to lift this work way out of the ordinary and stereotypical. I do get a touch over excited when I find someone who doesn’t use words that spring first to mind. Simple things as when in the fast paced first pages Theo doesn’t just stop the car suddenly, he is described as bullying the car to a stop.
The book moves between the points of view of werewolf Theo and medium Max. Theo’s thoughts often gently reinforce his difference, as they…… circle around in his head, chasing their tails…This also emphasizes how he experiences life through his senses, a whole symphony of scents as well, scents to the key of ” kennel “ . Neena Jaydon has managed to quietly impose a really nice and unusual take on “werewolves”. The underlying premise of which is, as Theo sharply explains, ” You think I’m a wolf. I’m never a wolf. I’m always a werewolf.”
Theo was easily the most appealing character for me, he was vulnerable, funny, brave confused and very much a misfit as the recognisable ‘ computer geek ‘, but had a strength of self that worked really well. In comparison Max is a harder character to unconditionally like, but this difficulty is part of what grounds the story in reality. We see the growing relationship through both character’s eyes. Max’s vision alternates between clear sight and myopia. It is also a slow growing, awkward and tentative getting together of very different people, and we hear Max’s honest but as is often real, self serving doubts. As his sister Anastasia says, ” Max, you know how sometimes you sound like a jerk? This is one of those times. This side of Max completely adds to him as a very human fallible character, far more interesting than the usual minor obligatory flaws found in the ‘ other ‘ main character. Many of his strengths are also very normal and always acceptable, including thoughtful kindness and compassion.
Moreover the relationship is not quite linear in its development there are offshoots of success and failure as it goes along. Sexually, the couple interact in a very hot, slightly off kilter way which was dealt with cleverly. Again as in keeping with much about this book it felt like an interesting little twist in an obvious sexual progression.
The secondary characters were another outstanding feature here. There are rather more of them than usual and even the very minor walk ons felt like real people. Max’s family are just described with such believable detail. There is no melodrama and these are a family of mediums with inescapable links with the spirit world. Max describes with lovely understated pathos how his father’s spirit stuck around for a while after he died to keep him company. Theo’s rather outrageous family and game playing friends are also well rounded and add yet another layer of depth and breadth to the concern.
The paranormal world of Moon Shadows is easily entrenched as part of the reality of a normal world. Nothing is over explained, for the most part it just appears as part of Theo and Max’s reality. The problems with the shadow spirits are frightening but never overplayed or over justified. It felt like a genuine and rather frightening situation, but not apocalyptic. The level of threat was purely and upsettingly personal.
This book gave me a great deal of pleasure; Theo joins my short list of favoured werewolves and complicated Max is an unforgettable character in his own right.