This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Alas, I must say that I enjoyed this sequel because I was past the ‘introductory’ material and partly because much of what I wanted to get answered from the first one was answered though in a way that left the door wide open still.
In this installment, things don’t slow down for Natalya in the slightest. There are a lot of brands in the fire for her. At the beginning, Nat is still getting used to being back into the bosom of her family with the addition of a great-aunt from up north on a long term visit who makes her life miserable. Alex is now adjusting to marriage and pending fatherhood, but he takes the time to arrange for her to personally train for the upcoming pack entrance trials. Nat observes that something is off with her parents, but until her dad disappears she wasn’t aware of how bad the issue was. Her dad owes a blood debt that has been called in full. He either achieves whatever task is set for him or forfeits his life. So when he is gone too long, off to the rescue go Nat, Alex and Thorn who Nat is still breaking her heart over. When they track down her dad, Alex has to leave them because his wife goes into labor so it is up to Nat and Thorn to complete the first task in her father’s stead. The first task offers some difficulty, but then there is worse to come that results in Natalya off on a mission to fulfill the debt and she can only call upon Nick and her resourceful therapy group friends to help her see it through.
The plot was tighter in this one since there wasn’t as much world building required- though there was the introduction of the fae- and it was a direct continuation of what had gone on before in the first book with the addition of her father’s debt. There was excitement, danger and light amounts of romance. The exciting moments when Nick and the gang joined her were my favorite parts and I was thrilled to finally read Thorn confess what happened five years ago when with no explanation, he left Natalya. I’m not big on love triangles and so the whole Nick-Natalya-Thorn thing was not quite something I fancied. To be honest, there’s not much chance for a romance because she spends so much time getting out of bad situations with the help of one or the other of the men and her friends and she has an obvious preference. I have to admit that for the most part Nat tries really hard not to use anyone and goes for honesty in her dealings with both men. I think for me its just that I have a decided preference too, but I don’t want to see the other one hurt because they’re both hero types. The last portion of the story gets back to the pack trial and I didn’t see the result of that turning out the way it did. Nat’s one of those heroines that gets through on a lot of guts and luck.
As to characters, Natalya is still struggling with her hang-ups, but there is an obvious growth as she learns to deal and show a core of strength. Nick proved himself loyal, worthy and allowed his feelings to finally surface, but in one action he does something that Nat finds difficult to get past. Thorn was still the conflicted man who knows what he wants, but duty is always there to pull him back. Aggie gets some scenes, but for me I just adore Nat’s grandmother who is the fount of wisdom and some humor. And yes, Evil Erica with all her envy and jealousy is back and in rare form.
It was an entertaining read. I look forward to seeing what is going to happen next for Nat and the gang.
Thanks to Net Galley for the ARC copy for review purposes.