Review: Compelled by Shawntelle Madison

Review: Compelled by Shawntelle MadisonCompelled by Shawntelle Madison

Series: #3 Coveted
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Indie/Self Published on May 3, 2014
Pages: 278
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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three-half-stars  

I love the Coveted series about Natalya, an OCD werewolf ‘ultimate underdog’ heroine, who fights through panic attacks, lack of confidence, universal disapproval and truly scare-worthy enemies to get the job done.  This is the final story in the Coveted trilogy and I was sad to see it come yet I was eager to see what Nat’s last paranormal adventure would be.

This is very much a series that needs to be read in order as it is mostly a continuation of one story broken into three parts.  In fact, be warned that there will be a bit of series spoilerage to books one and two if you continue reading my story summary.

The last book left off on a high note for Nat.  She has achieved more than she could possibly imagine by competing in the pack trials to be restored to the pack and prove she is worthy of being Thorn’s mate.  Her win removed the shame she brought on her family and gave her a huge boost in confidence in regard to her mental health issues.  Having Thorn is a huge balm too.  But all is not quite smelling of roses.  Her position of pack female alpha is precarious and some of her old enemies are aware that she’s faking it until she makes it.  And Thorn is still dying from the warlock’s curse.  Thorn is her everything and Nat will do anything to get rid of the curse even going on a dangerous journey right into the middle of a wizard and warlock war zone to hunt down a spell that will reverse the curse even if it means going to a werewolf spell caster who has reason to wish Nat a whole lot of ill will.  But with the help of a couple of her trusty therapy group friends, she gets where she needs to be and survives by the seat of her pants as she goes about her quest.  If only she can find what she needs on time to beat the progression of Thorn’s curse.

I wasn’t aware this was the finale story until after I started reading it so this didn’t play into my expectations not quite being met when I got into the book, but it did as things progressed.  The second book was a strong story and I guess I was looking for more of the same.  While there were many things I really enjoyed in this one, there were just as many things to disappoint.

First off, I felt a bit lost when this book opened and I wondered if I missed something the way Nat and Thorn’s relationship was described.  It was like they were this old married couple that had been together for years and everything had mellowed.  I know the poor guy is sickening from the curse eating him alive, but snikeys!  There was no real feeling of romance or spark between the two even if the point of Nat’s journey is to save him.

And that was another thing, I felt like Thorn should have had a bigger presence in the book.  He was there a in a minor way, but he played no significant role other than figurehead.  Nat has come into her own and it was all about her personal journey to learn magic, save a group of magic using werewolves and then help rescue some wizards.  I liked this Nat, but I was struck by the feeling that this personal journey suited an earlier segment and not a grand finale adventure.

And if Thorn was absent, Nick and several other loveable characters were truly AWOL.  All those wonderful characters that really made the previous stories sparkle weren’t present at all or were barely there.  To be fair, Tyler the dwarf had a big role as did Dr. Frank.  Her few scenes with the pack wolves, at the store and with her family were rushed and crammed in here and there.  The story took place far from Nat’s home and the setting of her work, her family and her therapy group.  Not that the new setting in Russia was bad, it was fab even just as the big wizards and warlocks battle she was in was fab, but I guess for the finale I wanted her last big adventure to be amongst those I had come to love.

As to what I loved, I loved seeing Nat finally arrive.  She is bold.  She is prepared to get dirty if that’s what it takes.  Her vulnerabilities were still there though not as crippling.  She doesn’t give up when most would.  I loved the scenes she shared with her friends, Tyler and Raj.  I loved the close up with the wizards and warlocks battle which was some exciting stuff.  And while some things wrapped up in this one, I liked that its not truly good-bye to the wonderful paranormal world the author created letting other characters get their stories told now.  I know there are other stories in the Coveted universe including a spin-off with Nick’s story and some more with Aggie to which I really look forward.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that if this hadn’t been the finale, I would have been pleased and probably more, but because it was, I felt disappointed to have it end with this storyline.  I didn’t hate this story, far from it.  I just had a stronger opinion about what elements were lacking.  Others might not feel this strongly about some of this stuff and I suppose in a way what I felt is a compliment to the writing because I was so vested in Nat’s story.  Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance fans should definitely include these books in their reading list.

My thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to read this story in exchange for my honest review.

About Shawntelle Madison

Shawntelle Madison is a web developer who loves to weave words as well as code. She’d never admit it, but if asked she’d say she covets and collects source code. After losing her first summer job detassling corn, Shawntelle performed various jobs—from fast-food clerk to grunt programmer to university webmaster. Writing eccentric characters is her most favorite job of them all. On any particular day when she’s not surgically attached to her computer, she can be found watching cheesy horror movies or the latest action-packed anime. She lives in Missouri with her husband and children.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • I’m so disappointed with this one, I felt there’s a big chunk of development that was cut off. I think coz the pub dropped the series after book 2 so maybe that’s why she rushed the ending. Happy to see you liked this better than I did though, I missed Thorn and Nick, they’re major characters in the first two and it’s not the same with them gone-ish here.

    • I was disappointed too. I felt jipped by this finale and I definitely missed some Thorne and Nick time. Wish she wouldn’t have rushed it.

  • Book Swagger

    I loved this series as well. had no idea it was ending and small amounts of Thorn. I felt like I spent the first two books trying to see some progression in their relationship and how they interact with each other. But I will always have found memories of this series, it was so different… Cool review will have to check out the final installment.

    • Yeah, I didn’t know it was the end either until I’d already started reading. I definitely thought there would be more Thorn after the end of book two when I thought stuff was settled. I think there is a spin-off planned for Nick and I know there is another Aggie book.