As an aside, I turned over the last page with a sigh and noticed that she’s in County Wicklow, working with rare books. Um, I’ve been trying to get someone in Wicklow to help me with my genealogy, cause that is where my Cullens are from. Guess it’s not that astounding a coincidence, but it felt like one of those magical moments.
Do read this book on a cold night with a blanket over your legs, your favorite beverage by your side, perhaps your own furry friend nearby. I’m a sucker for fantasy, and generally skeptical about novella length fantasy. In fact, the few things that bothered me about the Wolf’s Sister are probably more a function of the length of the book. This is another author who seems to want to write a fully fledged fantasy novel but has stopped short. Don’t get me wrong, the plot is great, the characterization complete, the HEA real in this short work. But there’s a lot of “fantasy stuff” going on, including legends, insane ancestors, totemic whatnots, magic, races, etc. It means there’s a lot of story to tell us, and a few times I was a bit confused. “Wait–is she a magician? Is he an elf? Is the brother good, evil (you figure that one out pretty quickly)? Who killed whom in the past?”
One tiny, tiny thing that might have helped me. Names. A lot of folks are on this fantasy naming bandwagon these days (they don’t like them). I got through all of Tolkein and Jordan, so I’m pretty immune to the stuff. But in Long’s case, she uses gender-blind names. I realized I count on name clues to remember if someone is a man or woman. Our heroine is Jeren, our hero is Shan. I kinda wanted to switch those two names.
Okay, so the good stuff: Romeo and Juliet with a happier ending–it has that epic quality. This books sails by so quickly (I had to finish this in one sitting because I loved it so much), you’re left with that “when’s the next installment coming” feeling. I think Long is a master at characterization. Deep characterization, in a short book. Madness, longing, love, desperation, motivation, hurt, betrayal–it’s all there for each primary character. Even Anala, my favorite character (a wolf). Sniff. Because the characters are so real, the relationships are believable. Somehow Long creates connections between her characters seemingly out of thin air. And then you connect–Shan is so loveable in a manly way that it’s heartbreaking when he gets into mortal danger.
I love her description–just enough to give you the sense of the cold fantasy world without boring you. I also loved the tone of this book–serious, a bit morose, deep, desperate. In contrast, the romance is uplifting and brings light to the story.
This book started a hair slowly for me, but by the end of Chapter one, I went to get my good glasses, curled up on the couch, and told my husband to pipe down. What a Monday night treat! Do yourself a favor and get this book when it comes out on November 11 at Samhain Publishing.
I’m giving it 4.5 out of 5 Woofs!
Woof Woof Woof Woof Wo
The official blurb:
A love transcending race and culture…a secret that could cost everything.
A Tale of the Holtlands, Book 1
Elite Fey’na warrior Shan is driven only by hatred for Gilliad, the Lord of River Holt, the human responsible for the brutal slaying of his innocent sister. Vengeance will be his as soon as he can find a way to confront his enemy. His mind is set; his path chosen. Then he meets Jeren…
Jeren of River Holt flees for her life, desperate to escape the clutches of her brother, Gilliad, before his misuse of magic consumes what remains of his sanity. She finds safety and protection with Shan…but only so long as she hides her kinship with the Lord of River Holt. As they are pursued across the northern snow plains, their deepening trust turns to love.
A love that could shatter when he learns who, and what, she is.
Warning: This title contains violence, torture, and a wolf-lover’s worst nightmare. Readers may find their imaginations hopelessly ensnared in a beautiful and terrible world of magic.