Rating: 2. 75 stars
Luuk, the Anax Alpha of Europe and his American mate, Jameson have been on the run for three years. His brother Luther staged a coop and has been hunting the pair since. Luther’s reign has been one of terror, killing hundreds of shifters loyal to Luuk, wiping out whole villages of every man, woman, and child. The years have taken their toll on Luuk and Jameson, especially Jameson, who was forced to become a shifter to protect his mate.
Spending most of their time in wolf form is making them more feral as they start to lose contact with their human sides. Now Luuk realizes that they can’t go on running indefinitely, that they have to make a stand. Then help comes from a most unlikely source, and Luuk must face down his most dangerous adversary, his own brother to regain his rightful throne.
It has been some time since the last Southwestern Shifter book came out, so I had to go back to refresh all the characters and relationships in my mind before this story made any sense. Bradford expects her readers to bring knowledge of the series backstories with them when starting a new addition to the series and that very omission makes for some very confused reading for those new to the series or those just unable to remember her cast of many shifters and mates.
However, my main issue with this story is it’s unevenness of narrative. At times it feels as though it was written was several different authors given the changes in tone and attitudes of the characters. The first part of Revolution is probably my favorite. The first chapter starts with Luuk and Jameson on the run, their endurance fading under a relentless onslaught of assassins sent to kill them. Constantly moving, never with enough food or rest, Bradford gives us a startling realistic portrait of two men so stripped down, so depressed that they are becoming immobilized by their circumstances. Jameson’s fear is palpable, so is Luuk’s guilt over bringing this disaster upon his mate. Desperation is leaking out of every pour and when yet another killer finds them, the scene is fraught with tension and fear. Really, this part of the book is so well done that it had me on a white knuckle ride.
And then the ride is over and it dissolves into some kind of demented Three Stooges act, with the comedy being supplied by other shifters. I know we are meant to take this as lightening the mood of the story but it just is so jarring that it takes away from everything that has gone on before. Plus we have to listen to Luuk whining about having to kill his brother when we have been repeatedly told that this monster has killed hundreds of innocent men, women and children. Not buying it for a second. Luuk is supposed to be this tough Alpha wolf but I never believed that either, especially after the first part of the book. All the believability, all the good will gained is slowly tossed away until the end which continues on its downward path of “duoh, he didn’t” sort of comeuppance. Really they all act like they are dealing with someone stealing PB&J’s instead of a murdering dictator.
And since this is a Bailey Bradford book, there is tons of sex, just not very sexy sex. Loads of mate sex, everyone is horny even with killers on the doorstep. Just one head slap moment after another.
I don’t know what to say. This series started out very strong but with each succeeding story, the characters, their relationships have gotten so watered down, the “cutsey” behavior of some of the mates so indigestible, that I think I would tell people to give this series a pass. And that’s a shame because it really does have some wonderful components to it but in the end, like this story, not enough to save it from itself.
Here is the books in the series in the order they were written and must be read to understand anything that is going on:
Southwestern Shifters: Rescued
Southwestern Shifters: Relentless
Southwestern Shifters: Reckless
Southwestern Shifters: Rendered
Southwestern Shifters: Resilience
Southwestern Shifters: Reverence
Southwestern Shifters: Revolution
Cover art by Posh Gosh is nice but that hair on the model? Awful in every respect.