Title: Camp H.O.W.L.
Author: Bru Baker
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: November 1, 2017
Genre(s): Gay Shifter
Page Count: 238 Pages
Reviewed by: ColinJ
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Moonmates exist, but getting together is going to be a beast….
When Adrian Rothschild skipped his “werewolf puberty,” he assumed he was, somehow, human. But he was wrong, and he’s about to go through his Turn with a country between him and his Pack—scared, alone, and eight years late.
Dr. Tate Lewis’s werewolf supremacist father made his Turn miserable, and now Tate works for Camp H.O.W.L. to ease the transition for young werewolves. He isn’t expecting to offer guidance to a grown man—or find his moonmate in Adrian. Tate doesn’t even believe in the legendary bond; after all, his polygamist father claimed five. But it’s clear Adrian needs him, and if Tate can let his guard down, he might discover he needs Adrian too.
A moonmate is a wolf’s missing piece, and Tate is missing a lot of pieces. But is Adrian up to the challenge?
This was a nice balanced story. Character development was strong throughout with both lead characters demonstrating clear and unique differences. Their backgrounds were well articulated and understandable. In addition they were likeable without the need for sentimentality. The location provides the context for the story but does not form a major part of the plot. It is the interaction between the characters that is the strongest element and it is this that drives the story forwards. Secondary characters are interesting in that they are used to stimulate the growth of the relationship between the leads. A particular strength of the story is the storyline around the first ‘turning’. This is explained in detail both from a physical as well as an emotional perspective.
As this is a shifter story there is obviously a lot of discussion about the animal passions that drive the character interactions. Nevertheless, there are doubts and concerns that are purely human and this provides the tension in the growing relationship. The ‘should I…shouldn’t I’ storyline, so common a theme in such stories is here also but is tempered by the histories of the characters and how they are as much a product of these as their personal neuroses.
The pace is largely consistent throughout. The writing style is such that the reader is drawn into the tale and wants to know what happens next. As such it is a very quick read and an enjoyable one.
Towards the end of the story the plotlines open up with the opportunity and development of alternatives to the camp. This was well done and allowed for a resolution to the story that moves beyond its confines.