A Free Dreamer Review: Strength To Let Go (Tales of the Werewolf Tribes #1) by Alina Popescu


Rating: 2 stars out of 5

Strength to Let Go coverAfter being abandoned by his mates, Shiki Kirishima, beta of the Dragons of the Fang werewolf tribe, returns to his home in Tokyo.

Crippled by grief, Shiki decides to end it all by going into the territory of the Siberian Killers tribe and challenging them to a battle to the death.

His death.

Ganzorig, beta of the Siberian Killers, however, sees the potentially disastrous consequences of having Shiki die in battle.

Instead, he saves him.

Having suffered loss himself, Ganz takes it upon himself to help Shiki deal with his pain.

Blake, Shiki’s best friend since childhood, is as determined to show him there is life after a wolf’s ultimate loss.

Could there also be something ‘more’ for them after friendship?  I was looking forward to this so very much. Shifters in Tokyo? Abandoned by his mates? That sounded like it could be truly amazing. Sadly, it truly wasn’t.

I had a lot of issues with this book. First of all: Shiki. I did not like him the least bit. He was whiny, annoying and stupid. Yes, he was dumped by his mates, which simply doesn’t happen in werewolf culture. Yes, I know that hurts. But he has two toddlers that need looking after. And what does Shiki do? Well, the sensible thing of course. NOT. Instead of taking care of his children and slowly patching up his life, he leaves his children in the care of his brother and his mates and goes off to kill himself.

Of course since he’s Japanese, he can’t just hang himself or something equally simple. No, he’s determined to go down like a true samurai. Never mind that it’s the 21st century. He’s still determined to kill innocent werewolves who never hurt him, only to make his death “honourable”. But then Ganz swoops in to save the day. Of course he’s not angry at Shiki for killing men from his tribe. Instead, he takes it upon himself to make sure Shiki stays alive. So of course Shiki is pissed. But it’s okay, they become best friends and fuck buddies after a while. Because while Shiki is apparently still crushed and suicidal, his libido works perfectly fine.

Oh yeah, and then the best friend shows up. Shiki’s been hiding from the world for two months and keeps hiding with said best friend for several more months. All this time, he doesn’t once call his children. Or talk about them. Or somehow maybe miss them. No, he’s busy throwing himself a pity party and generally making an ass of himself.

Then there was the non-existent world building. We learn that there are several werewolf tribes all over the world. There’s Fae too, and they have their own world. And of course we have humans as well. I still don’t know if humans know about those supernatural beings or not, whether the werewolves suppress the humans or vice versa, and I’m still wondering if there are other beings as well. If you can’t be bothered to do any world building, then don’t write fantasy! And it’s no excuse that this is a romance novel, first and foremost. I need at least some very basic world building to be able to enjoy a fantasy setting. And the author didn’t do any of that. . It was maddening.

One of the reasons why I wanted to read this book so badly was the setting. I love reading about Japan. But the setting was utterly generic. It was mentioned that it’s set in Tokyo, but it didn’t feel like it. It might as well have been set in an unnamed city in America. Aside from his ridiculous notions about an honourable suicide, Shiki wasn’t very Japanese either. He constantly makes reference along the lines of “feeling like a stuffed Thanksgiving turkey”. Celebrating Thanksgiving with a turkey is such a very North-American thing, it was very jarring to hear it from a Japanese. And it’s not like Shiki grew up in the USA either.

The plot was sadly lacking as well. Nothing much happens, other than Shiki whining and Shiki fucking. There are no details, no explanations, for anything. We never learn why Shiki’s mates left him and their children. We never learn who killed Shiki’s parents. We never learn why Blake was sent to Japan to learn how to fight. We never learn where Shiki grew up and why he was separated from his siblings.

The sex scenes were nice enough the first few times. Then they got kind of boring and repetitive and finally they became annoying. The sex was never hot. Actually, it sounded rather painful. With descriptions like “my now reddened and sensitive head”, it sounded like Shiki should have that looked at by a doctor. All those swollen, red, sensitive cocks eventually made me roll my eyes.

And let’s not even talk about how Shiki kept coming up with ridiculous pet names like “Blakey” and how everybody loved him and forgave him and pitied him.

To sum it up, I really didn’t like this book. I hated Shiki, the setting was generic, there was no world building and the sex was badly written. Add to that a few too many typos and you have yourself one very annoyed and disappointed reader. Not going to continue this series and will stay far, far away from this author in the future.

Cover art by Jay’s Covers by Design. The cover is very pretty. It shows Shiki forlornly staring off into nothingness. The colours match beautifully and the Japanese character looks great too.

Sales Links:   Waywark Ink Publishing | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details: 

eBook,Published June 24th 2015 by Wayward Ink Publishing
original title Strength To Let Go
edition language English


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