Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5
Rolly has waited ten years to claim his mate. Now the wait is over, and he’s coming home. When he first met Erdwin, the boy was still a child. Rolly felt nothing but compassion for him back then, but Erdwin came of age five years ago, and Rolly’s stayed out of his life in order to give Erdwin time to experience life.
Erdwin never fit right in his skin. He didn’t like what he saw in the mirror. It didn’t match how he felt inside. As a shifter, he was stuck with the body he had. Surgery wasn’t an option for him. But Erdwin found a way to accept himself—by embracing the part of herself that felt like her true nature. She struggled with it, but with her family’s support, she became Edie, the young lady she was meant to be. She stopped worrying about her parts, and concentrated on her heart.
When Rolly, a powerful shaman, moves back home to the pack, Edie is transfixed. He makes her nervous—and arouses her. But what would a man like him think of a woman liker her? Edie’s about to find out, and she will have to be stronger than ever to help fight off a threat to her pack, to her mate, and to her family.
I chose this book because of the trans* element among shifters and the kinky tags, hoping that although it was part of a series that I would still be able to enjoy it as a standalone. I based this hope on the fact the main characters did not appear to be love interests in any of the prior books. However, I could tell very early on that my experience of the story would have been different had I read the other books. It was obvious that I’d missed a lot of the background story by skipping ahead. That that was my bad and has no doubt tainted my view of the story. Please understand that before reading my review.
This is my first story by the author, so I had no idea of what to expect. The first third of this book read slow and a bit tedious for me. Erdwin, now Edie, was prim and proper, hesitant and insecure, wanting acceptance but scared to show her true self to get it. Rolly was strong, self-sacrificing and noble. Neither were capturing my attention when apart, so it took me a while to get into the story. Once the two characters were finally united, both of them changed dramatically. Like almost a one-eighty.
Edie went from shy virgin to on fire aggressor within minutes, which was quite jarring. But I wrote it off as a shifter mates thing and read on. Then Rolly nearly right off mentions enjoying pain and the BDSM elements jumped in out of seemingly nowhere (may have been mentioned in another story, not sure?). The fisting scene also seemed to come out of nowhere and was unsettling to me. Because, well, the guy had been abstaining for fifteen years and this happened after he’d only with someone again just a few times. I had to remind myself again that they were shifters in order to accept that and move on.
The dynamic between the couple was not the usual and that part was refreshing. Rolly was older, larger, more experienced, a super powerful shaman and a wolf, yet he mostly a submissive bottom who enjoyed pain. Edie was smaller, MTF and she morphs from being very unsure of herself and just wanting to be accepted for who she is into a person secure with her physical equipment and willing and eager to take control. Once they’re together, it’s Rolly who often came across as insecure and in need of assurance from Edie. While I did find the dynamic of the relationship refreshing; the changes in did still came across as abrupt for me.
Besides the relationship, there is a more complex plot revolving around mysterious events that threaten the pack. As the story wore on, there were so many characters that I couldn’t always keep them straight, but again that was likely partly due to trying to read the story out of order.
I found the dialogue often felt stilted to me, or well, not natural sounding anyway. And the transitions from scene to scene didn’t always read smooth, in fact, sometimes they were quite abrupt. For example, most of the sex scenes are either interrupted or immediately followed by sudden crisis.
Overall, I recommend reading this book in order within the series rather than as a first book as I did. I firmly believe that had I done that, how I perceived the book would be somewhat different. So I can only rate based on what I read, but it will probably not be the same as the book experienced read in order.
The cover is quite lovely and drags my eyes to it. Definite eye candy. However, given that the trans* element among shifters is so unique and what drew me to the story, I think it could have been even better if it showed Erwdin/Edie.
ebook, 154 pages
Published August 18th 2015 by Pride Publishing