Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Ballantine Books
Released on April 24, 2012
Werewolves, Wizards, Nymphs and everything else that goes bump in the night appeared in this story. It was an amazing ride from start to finish. This was a rare story where the main character had a mental health disorder and I thought it was the most fascinating part of the story.
Natalya is a werewolf, but she is not just any werewolf. She is OCD and she is a hoarder. Natalya has always struggled with the OCD, but heartbreak in her past causes her to slip over the brink with the hoarding. Natalya is now just a shadow of her former self as she is a wolf that has been put aside by her pack and family, she works a flea market job for a goblin and she continues to accumulate holiday ornaments. All this changes when Thorne, the guy who did the loving and leaving, returns. He is the alpha’s son from her former pack and now he is promised to another- a mating of convenience to strengthen the pack.
With Thorne’s return come many changes. Natalya’s friend Aggie descends on her trying to hide out from her dad, an ambitious wolf pack leader and his pack are planning to take over her pack’s territory and that same pack wants her dead. Natalya decides it’s more than enough to send her back to therapy in which she meets a handful of other supernatural misfits with their own mental health troubles. Natalya starts performing her own version of therapy by trying to get over Thorne by getting back into the swing of things by getting new clothes, getting back into the dating scene and making good with her family.
But things go from bad to worse. Natalya discovers what she is truly made of and also discovers that she may not be as isolated as she thinks.
The general plot was not that complex, but all the little things are what made this story a good read. It got off to a slower start as the author acquainted us with the world building of her urban fantasy and took the time to really give an understanding what it is like to be in a person with OCD’s head. The story is told from Natalya’s point of view and her dialogue both internal and external gave me some LOL moments. But once it got going, I really enjoyed the scenes with Aggie, Natalya’s down home and quirky Russian family and with her therapy group. I was only slightly interested in the scenes with Thorne, but Nick- now Nick did take my fancy.
The character of Natalya was very well done. She’s got all these strikes against her and she does get down on herself, but she manages to pull through. There was a ‘woe as me’ thread, but hey, she has a tough row to hoe. She starts coming into her own though as the story progresses- love this slower story arc that urban fantasies are know for. Now as to the other characters and there are plenty of them, they were pretty well drawn too. I got confused sometimes as to who was who, but it all untangled for me without messing the story up.
I gotta say that I’m a big fan of Nick the wizard. This guy’s got a thing for Nat though he doesn’t let on to her about it, he’s got an issue of his own that makes him very understanding of what Nat goes through and he’s just something else with the powerful mysterious wizard in black. Looking forward to seeing more of him.
But the one, I didn’t really connect with was Thorne. There was that passionate prologue scene between him and Nat, but then he disappears. Four years later in the present day, he tries to re-enter her life as a disinterested friend. He kept claiming that they couldn’t be together, but he wouldn’t stay away. And then there was that promised thing between he and Erica. I realize he was a bit unsure of himself as a future leader of the pack and it’s his responsibility to keep the pack strong, but tossing aside the woman he wants just to make a political match didn’t strike me as Alpha decision-making. I’m really hoping book two gets more into what’s up with Thorne and maybe shows some growth with him.
All in all, it was a solid start to a series and a new to me author. I’ll definitely be continuing on with Natalya’s story. If you like the challenge of a heroine with flaws in a creative Urban Fantasy, give this one a try.