Author: Tj Klune
Published: June 20th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
Genres: gay fiction // m/m romance // paranormal > shifters // fantasy > magic
| GOODREADS |
::CONTAINS SOME SEXUAL CONTENT (REALLY NOT BAD, THOUGH)::
Oh, my word, Klune knows how to write werewolves. I think it’s hilarious that, according to Klune, he told himself he’d never write a story with werewolves, but as he was writing this story, he looked down and saw what had happened. Hah! And he just went with it!
But this is wonderfully well written shifter story, let me tell you. I have several reasons why, all of which will be shared below. I’ve actually been struggling to find an m/m novel with shifters that I love and I found one!
Recommended if you like:
- gay werewolves
- friends-to-lovers (and it’s through several years!)
- stressing the bonds of family and friendships
- awkward adorable-ness or vice versa
Ox was twelve when his daddy taught him a very valuable lesson. He said that Ox wasn’t worth anything and people would never understand him. Then he left.
Ox was sixteen when he met the boy on the road, the boy who talked and talked and talked. Ox found out later the boy hadn’t spoken in almost two years before that day, and that the boy belonged to a family who had moved into the house at the end of the lane.
Ox was seventeen when he found out the boy’s secret, and it painted the world around him in colors of red and orange and violet, of Alpha and Beta and Omega.
Ox was twenty-three when murder came to town and tore a hole in his head and heart. The boy chased after the monster with revenge in his bloodred eyes, leaving Ox behind to pick up the pieces.
It’s been three years since that fateful day—and the boy is back. Except now he’s a man, and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them.
– Klune writes with a dramatic flair that, I feel, is hit or miss with readers. I don’t really have issues with it because it still emotionally charges the story, which is very important. It gets repetitive, it gets broken up, but it’s a mess like the mind. I can see how it may turn some readers off, so fair warning. But I like it! He repeats important lines and uses the repetition to build up emotions.
– And Klune also has some of the best humor! The Bennetts are hilarious, the group at Gordo’s shop are hilarious – this has the best mate discovery/acquisition scene I’ve ever read!
– Not to mention the unexpectedly brutal parts – I always love those. The plot in general was great. We have a pretty scary enemy and an enemy that we never got to meet. I liked the action and the dark vibes. And we see the effects of that darkness.
– Love the werewolf dynamics. The pack mentalities, the bonds, even the touching thing. I think it’s cute when they have to touch everything to add their scent. The alpha cares and isn’t the super aggressive type always making sure everyone knows their place. You can feel how much the alpha cares.
– Also love the importance of family/pack. The feelings being sent through everyone and making sure they know they are loved. The degree of love and caring is phenomenal. Not to mention, the importance of finding yourself and your place in the world. No matter how small that position may seem, no matter how insignificant you feel, you can find a place that you feel loved and can love.
– And it’s not the typical m/m romance werewolf books I see! It’s not some crazy alpha thing and instant lust – it’s a beautiful build up. Klune shows the love between these two instead of just telling.
You gotta smell him and then tell me why it’s all candy canes and pinecones and epic and awesome.
– And at times, the awkwardness is so adorable. Ox, when he finds someone attractive, Joe when he comes into himself and has these moments with Ox.
– If you are prone to a leaky face (Wookie Cry Face if we’re talkin’ Klune books), you may be in for some tears. A few scenes throughout may have you crying. I can’t say I cried, but I choked up those times.
– The idea with the magic is awesome, but I don’t want to tell you because it’s cool to find out on your own.
– Klune does not brush aside aspects of the story for the sake of the romance and I’m so glad. He keeps real human emotions, no matter if they seem petty. [spoiler] Like when Joe returns after 3 years – the pack doesn’t just suddenly come together, Ox isn’t immediately forgiving nor anyone else, really – there is pain and problems to work through and such love. So it was so refreshing to see how it was handled, how everyone would work things out. And then bonds are mended, even though it’ll take time to fully heal. [/spoiler]
Such great character development. EVERYONE IS SO SWEET. (Except the villains. Fuck them.)
– OX: I love Ox. He’s big and sweet and lost (at first). He doesn’t use lots of words, but he’s got a big heart. He just wants to find somewhere to fit in and be loved, especially after he dad left with parting words of discouragement. Such amazing growth as he gets closer to the Bennetts and learns their secrets. His love for his family/pack is powerful.
I may be human, but I run with wolves.
– JOE: Joe was freakin’ adorable as a kid, climbing all over Ox like that. A little tornado, a force of nature. Such love in his eyes for his big friend. And once he’s older, he becomes stronger, more protective, and deals with the responsibilities as an adult in the Bennett family. But he knows where his love lies.
– OX’S MOM: Ugh, she is so strong. After Ox’s dad left, trying to take care of her and Ox, and after she met the Bennetts, she became even stronger (and pretty badass). (Points that her favorite flower is an iris – me, too!)
– THE BENNETTS: This family. One of the best families I’ve ever come across. Such love and such humor. They’re always there for Ox. Carter and Kelly are hilarious. Kelly seems a bit more oblivious to things, but Carter is always ready to tease. Loved them. Elizabeth has a beautiful heart. And Thomas is just a strong, wonderful father (and alpha).
– GORDO: He’s gruff and tough. He’s the…broodier one of the whole gang. He isn’t as overt with his love, but you can see it in his actions. Even if Ox gets upset with him at times, Gordo has him in his best interests.
– GORDO’S GANG: Another hilarious group! When they’re picking on Ox – it’s the best. But you see how much they love Ox and will be there for him, especially as the story progresses.
– ROBBIE: He showed up later, but was adorable and awkward. Had to have some sense knocked into ‘im, but *shrugs* I liked him!
– JESSIE: I ended up quite enjoying her company. She’s blunt and grows to be really tough, herself!
This story will grab you by the heart and hold on. Happiness, sadness, laughter. The romance is definitely there, but it shares equal space with the plot – a nice balance.
I think I rambled too much.
Ta-ta for now!
Did you read this book? What’d you think of the character dynamics? Comment below! (Careful of spoilers, though)
~Cover photo from Goodreads~
~Review also posted on Goodreads~