It's been a week or so since I finished this book after reading the three that proceed it. I still think about the Great Northern Pack, the society of wolves that feature in Maria Vale's uncommon shapeshifter series. (If you'd like to know more about this world in detail, Vale spoke to AAR about it recently.)
(This review has spoilers for earlier books in the series.)
In this installation--there are to be at least two more--the lovers are Evie Kitwansadottir, the Pack's Alpha (leader) and Constantine, a Shifter who's the Pack's prisoner and sworn enemy. When the series began--book one is The Last Wolf--Evie was mated with John, the Pack's Alpha. John is murdered at the end of that book by men employed by a minacious group of Shifters. Since then Evie has become the Pack's Alpha, given birth to two pups (pregnancies are rare in the Pack), and mourned the loss of her mate while successfully managing the Pack and its diverse demands. With all she has to oversee, she's unhappy she's suddenly burdened with four prisoners, Shifters from the aforementioned group, three of whom she sees as no threat. But one, a tall, broad shouldered man, he, he is dangerous.
The Season of the Wolf is the first book in the series to have two POVs, Evie's and Constantine's, and that's a fine thing. Constantine--whom we've seen as a killer in earlier books--is a creature whose history's made his life one of almost utter emptiness. As he sees the Pack and Evie, he glimpses a meaningful future, as a wolf and with Evie, and he finds himself yearning for both.
But the Pack and Evie--whose Pack of origin was murdered by Shifters--shun outsiders. They are sure there is no place in their world for Constantine. A credible HEA seems unworkable and it is to Vale's great credit that the reader--and the lovers--remain hesitant, until the book's unerring end, whether or not Constantine will earn the place he hungers to have.
Vale's love story is sensual both in its depiction of the keen desire shared by Evie and Constantine and in the absolute joy the wolves feel for the wild. And though the quandaries they face are somber, this story--and series--brims with whimsey and hope.
If this intrigues you, I strongly recommend beginning with book one and reading the series as a whole. Vale's world building and the Pack itself are riveting, singular, and damn worth your time.
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