When the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy ended, I was dissatisfied and I wanted more. I was eager to grab this one up because the author did the unexpected and despite feeling she was done with the wolves, she came back and gave more. Thank you so much, Ms. Stiefvater! This was a follow-up story that turned away from Sam and Grace to take up Cole and Isabel’s story. And knowing that was enough to have me eagerly cracking open this story and diving right in.
Cole is making his comeback after two years of being off the scene when most people thought he was dead. He has chosen to make that comeback in a spectacular way by appearing on a reality show that will follow him through his first six weeks back into the music industry. But the choice of LA? Easy. That’s where Isabel is. Cole wants it all his career and Isabel.
Isabel is going through the motions after moving with her mom into her aunt and cousin’s LA home. Pre-med college work and moonlighting as an assistant to a fashion designer is how she spends her days. Then Cole St. Clair bursts back into her life and makes her feel and live again. Feeling and living are not good because falling for Cole is the worst thing she could do since he’s a dangerous bet on a good day. She decides to try to straddle the line by being around Cole, but remaining aloof. And that turned out soooo well
Cole picks his way around Isabel’s trust issues and her poised and ready to run behavior even while realizing that being up to the schemes of the producer of the reality show whose goal seems to see him break and fall apart for all the viewers. He is determined that he’s clean and he’s changed, but nobody seems to believe him. And then there is the guilt over Viktor and the past. Cole faces so many challenges with most of them being internal, but the biggest one is still busting through Isabel’s hard shell.
The story is one big long piece of the feels. Cole acts like a druggie swinging from highs to lows as he attempts to put the pieces of his life back together. Isabel goes for the ‘avoid life’ strategy that only works for so long. The two of them swap the first person narration back and forth with much of the story spent caught in their own heads. It gets pretty angsty and I confess that even though I was rooting hard for them to find a way to fight through their issues and make a go of it together; I was also pretty close to done with the ‘woe is me’ stuff. Granted they had tough rows to hoe, no doubt, but the downer ‘tudes were just not something I was in the mood for I guess. The end came fast and I would have liked some stuff that was probably assumed to be verbalized particularly since Isabel spent a good portion of the book getting the wrong idea about Cole.
The character development, dialogue, the general plot and world of music setting were all really strong components to the story and really helped to make it shine. The romance is mostly spent apart and tentative two steps forward and one step back stuff so the reader definitely has to be patient for that to work through. The only sexy scene is fade to black so I suppose this would fall more into the sweeter end of the romance spectrum and appropriate for most YA age readers as well as adults.
I probably should point out that this book should be read in order with the Wolves of Mercy Falls series for the back history of Isabel and Cole.
To wrap it up, I thought it engaging and just what I needed for closure. It was just as difficult a romance as I imagined for these two though a bit more angsty than I care for. The book would fit for a YA audience, but the characters are NA age so its versatile. Fans of YA Paranormal romance should try this series.
My thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this one in exchange for an honest review.
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