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review 2018-09-11 17:14
A Wolf Apart by Maria Vale
A Wolf Apart - Maria do Vale Cartaxo

***copy provided by publisher through NetGalley***

Elijah Sorensson has spent over thirty years Offland, only returning home, to his Pack, once a month, during the Iron Moon. He's slowly losing touch with his wild and knows the only way to regain himself is by returning home. But his Alpha demands he stay among the humans, protecting the Pack's interests off Pack territory.

Almost at the end of his tether, utterly disgusted with himself and what he's become, Elijah meets his saving grace. A woman who calls to both halves of him, but mostly to his wild. A woman he can be himself with, a woman he can confide in...But not fully, since she's the biggest taboo of his Pack—she's human.

As its predecessor this story also moved rather slowly, but apart from a few slower than slow scenes, it wasn't boring. It wasn't as suspenseful as the first book in the series either, focusing more on the main character (hero), his inner struggles, and his environment, but it still worked.

At first, Elijah came across as a prick, one of those you meet on the street every day. The smooth operator with an overused pick-up line, but one the story really kicks in, the reader (and the hero himself) realizes Elijah Sorensson, the lawyer and player, is just a mask. A suit he pulls on for those days of the month he's not home, a suit that's become too tight, almost ingrown, until he hardly recognizes himself or knows who and what he really is.
It takes a woman, the right woman, a vegetarian loner with a passion for animals, someone rather similar to him, to bring him out of the thirty-year-old fugue state he's been living in. It takes the right woman to make him see what he's missing and what he's been losing. And it takes the right woman to make him see the true meaning of sacrifice, Pack, and home.

The story is once more told in first-person POV—Elijah's point of view. And once more, it didn't bother me at all. This was mostly a one-character show with the rest of the cast (Thea included) serving as backdrop, set design for Elijah and his character development and change.

I was happy to see more of Silver and Tiberius, discover just how Evie is taking on the Alpha duties...And in the end, I was more than glad to see the Pack would be fully reunited, since I didn't really appreciate how they behaved toward Elijah, almost judging him for his life in the Offland, while it was the Pack that sent him there in the first place.

The issues dealing with the suspense arc of the first story were only touched upon in this one, and since the main architect of evil is still loose, I'm looking forward to what the future might bring. The Pack is growing, and no matter what many of them think, to me having a Shifter and now a human in their midst, will only make them stronger.

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review 2018-01-07 08:34
The Last Wolf by Maria Vale
The Last Wolf (The Legend of All Wolves) - Maria Vale

***ARC provided by publisher through NetGalley***

Quicksilver Nilsdottir is the runt of the Great North Pack. With her last chance at achieving at least a decent rank in the Pack gone, and with her future looking bleak at the beck and call of her echelon's Alpha, Silver grabs the opportunity to bond her Fate to that of the mortally wounded man that has stumbled onto her Pack's territory. He might be a Shifter, an abomination to her kind, but all is better than being a lone wolf.

Little does she know Tiberius harbors a dark secret, a secret that may tear apart their fragile new bond, and the entire Pack...Forever.

Sometimes taking on an unknown author, especially in the paranormal genre, is quite a gamble. In this case, my gamble has paid off.

This is a timeless story of stereotypes—how you look like and where you come from—and our judgment of them and the primordial struggle between right and wrong, duty and devotion, roots and upbringing, all neatly packaged in an intense, edgy paranormal with a definite twist on the werewolf/shape-shifter genre.

It started off rather slowly, but there was no feeling of boredom or dullness, just the ever increasing flickers of excitement and anticipation, and speculation of what would happen next.
The world-building was superb, the narration, especially in the descriptions of the wild, evocative, and the pacing spot-on, deceptively slow, yet building momentum and anticipation.

I'm not a fan of first-person narration, finding it rather limiting both for the narrator as for the reader, but in this case it worked beautifully as we got to explore the Pack's territory, the woods, the animals, the secret places, and the Pack's relationships and hierarchy through Quicksilver's eyes. We got to experience everything as she did; the difficulties she faced due to her disability and status, the joy she felt in the wilderness, the budding emotions for Tiberius, and her devotion to both the man and her Pack causing the deep conflict inside her.

The first-person POV also served in heightening the suspense that blinked to life from the moment the stranger appeared on the Pack territory. With a third-person omniscient narrator it would not have worked as well, since everything would've been revealed early on; with looking merely through Silver's eyes, the reader learns the truth slowly, and it packs quite a punch.

This was truly an amazing story with a wonderful heroine that more than proved the old adage of never judging the book by its cover, a wonderful hero, especially in protective mode, evocative narration, amazing world-building, spot-on tempo, and loads of lessons to be learned.

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