Title: Heartsong (Green Creek #3)
Author: T.J. Klune
Publisher: BOATK Books
Release Date: October 22, 2019
Genre(s): Shapeshifters, Paranormal
Page Count: 391 Pages
Reviewed by: ColinJ
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
All Robbie Fontaine ever wanted was a place to belong. After the death of his mother, he bounces around from pack to pack, forming temporary bonds to keep from turning feral. It’s enough—until he receives a summons from the wolf stronghold in Caswell, Maine.
Life as the trusted second to Michelle Hughes—the Alpha of all—and the cherished friend of a gentle old witch teaches Robbie what it means to be pack, to have a home.
But when a mission from Michelle sends Robbie into the field, he finds himself questioning where he belongs and everything he’s been told. Whispers of traitorous wolves and wild magic abound—but who are the traitors and who the betrayed?
More than anything, Robbie hungers for answers, because one of those alleged traitors is Kelly Bennett—the wolf who may be his mate.
The truth has a way of coming out. And when it does, everything will shatter.
Written in the first person from the perspective of the central character, this story presents a series of sequential scenes, these are introduced in the past tense before relating the action in the present tense. This unusual approach, allows the author to migrate the plot so that things up to date by the end of this book.
The book begins without a preamble and no effort is made to allow the reader to remember what has gone before. As there has been a natural delay between the release of this book and its predecessor, sufficient time has passed to allow the reader to forget details. This means that the reader is in a similar position to the central character, trying to make sense of what is going on. This seems to be a deliberate ploy of the author, as there is a point at which the past is articulated, but this is where it will help the character come to terms with his situation and make decisions rather than to help the reader.
The early part of the book involves a set of characters that are either new to the series or are seen in a different light. As such, this feels like a different story. Small echoes or glimpses of the earlier stories are provided but are described in a way that keeps them at arm’s length. When this story merges with the characters from the past, it is like a wave of recognition and there is a cognitive shift on the part of the reader and ultimately the central character that shifts the perspective dramatically. Characterisation throughout is very strong and there are clear and recognisable personalities that allow for reader empathy. The exception is the real baddy, who is painted in such a way that all of his voiced cares feel uncomfortable and are ultimately seen to be manipulative or questionable.
Worldbuilding is strong and the environmental descriptions enhance the story but are not as rich as they have been in earlier books. This is in line with the character’s experience and they are quite episodic in their description. Where the episodes are longer, it gives the opportunity to make better use of the environment.
The love interest for the central character is driven from outside, as such, there is little in terms of romance through much of the early part of the book. As with the earlier books, sex is just one of the components that build bonds. It is these bonds that are seen as important and sex and physicality is largely mentioned flippantly. Where it is central to the story, it is not related explicitly as the emphasis is on the emotions rather than the actions.
As noted, the book is episodic and these are of varying lengths. As such, there is not a smooth pace to the story, but there is a sense of growing tension and as such the pace increases throughout. Scenes of action effectively drive the story forward and there is no sense of it being stilted by its structure.
By the end of the book, the current situation is resolved and a relationship consolidated. There is change and growth in the surviving characters to allow for their strengths to be familiar moving forward into the next book. Actions of some of the good guys are predictable; whilst the baddy remains a bizarre and exceptional character who is a survivor despite significant collateral damage and his actions set up the need for the next book. However, his nature is such that it is not possible to predict how things will progress.