***copy provided via InstaFreebie***
No, just no.
It started off rather well, but quickly descended into chaos. And not the organized kind of chaos. The story was all over the place, the heroine was an idiot...And when the hero turned out to be sixteen, it all ended.
I like my shifters, especially if they're Alphas, much older than sixteen, thank you very much.
Combined with the first-person POV, which I dislike on principle, the rather idiotic plot and over-flowing world-building, and bland characters, this freebie will remain a DNF.
TAGS: GFY, mpreg last 5%.
I really enjoyed first 50% of the book, thinking giving it at least 4 stars.
However, after Bryce's bathroom window incident it started going downhill. Too much info dumping (pre-war, pre-academy life, constantly whining about wanting to die, then changing mind...) and too lovey-dovey bordering saccharine in the very end.
Jackson never made an impression on me as a big bad alpha. Omega Oliver had more guts, will and drive than him.
A few nice surprises in the second part of the book and one more closer to the end. 3.25 stars. Rounding down to 3 on GR and up to 3.5 on Booklikes.
Dr. Reed -ha-ha, that name, different spelling but still, I could not help it! =)
Monica, thank you for the rec. All in all, it was a very fun read :)
Want to mention: inconsistencies, contradictions, messed up narrative (not always sure in which timeline I was), cliches and various other wtf-ery waiting for you on every page and in every paragraph. But, yaoi novel, what did I expect. I went for something naive and low quality - a quicky, if you please - and I got it for about 60%.
And then BIG guns came out.
NOT A SPOILER, BUT A SERIOUS WARNING (this is all in the book, not my words, except for "wtf", so keep your finger off that "flag" button):
The book took a turn for pure brutality: brutal rape, brutal beatings, brutal murder, brutal zombies, brutal weres, brutal winter, just effing brutal all around with a bouquet of taboos thrown in just for the shocker. It includes consuming human flesh, tearing off limbs, sucking out brains and eyes, ripping out "bowels", fisting, tearing up assholes (literally, of course), dancing on the bloody floor and stomping through the guts, watersports, piss enemas, knotting, implied incest (why not go all the way, wtf?), bestiality and manimal sex/rape (shifted form). I am sure I missed a few juicy bits while rolling my eyes. Please, don't hold it against me.
1 star for the first 60-65%, which still contained a story. The rest - super-massive black hole.
Thank you for your time.
PS Must mention: one of the scenes in the book reminds me strongly ofPrisoner in the Viewfinder. Particularly the scene on the cruise ship with Michael Arbatov, his uncle Yuri and Akihito. A young blond photographer, a pure soul, raped and abused by bad Russian homophobic mobsters.
I am not sure why Roman had to be set on fire. Mary Calmes already set him up with such a tragic family history, you think "WTF? Give the kid a break." Right? NO - Off With His Face!
But what is the purpose of this ...exercise? Kids in college couldn't care less about his scars. Everyone in the state of Maine (and beyond) still wants Roman. His injured face does not pose any difficulties to him, once he stopped the surgeries. He himself sometimes uses it for 'shocking' purposes or excuses when he doesn't want to talk to people.
i dunno, i dunno.... will keep reading. maybe it will make sense somewhere down the road.
I get it now. The pack accepts you. YOU. Not what you look like. The appearances don't matter. You're not damaged unless you can't hunt or contribute in any other way.
So, what if we have an ex-marine (for example), big and strong in no way physically damaged, except for a severe PTSD? Let's put another character through hell, so we can learn the ways of the pack when someone looks perfect but can't contribute, shall we? We'll have a manual on jackal shifters in no time by dragging people through pain and suffering.
Don't get me wrong, I love most of Mary's books, it's just this one seems to me unusually cruel. She has this meaninglessly mean (a sad 'ha-ha') streak that pops up every once in a while in her fiction. As much as I loved the first two Change of Heart books, #3 & #4 got 2 stars from me for that same reason. Jin, a cute lovable boy, was turned into something hateful, fearful and highly unpleasant. No wonder he didn't want to get mated in book one, he knew. Look where it got him.
That said, I do read books where the characters are damaged physically or emotionally or both, that doesn't bother me. But I am uber cautious now when it comes to reading Mary Calmes. Sad days :(
PS Forgot to mention: it ticks me off that the tragedy (actually many tragedies) that befalls Roman serves a singular purpose - to support one and one character only, Quade, who did not have live through the horror of it personally or even deal with it much. At least not the way Mary Calmes describes it. We only have a couple of tiny little peeks of how boys dealt with it. A brush off, no more :/