A well written, well plotted, werewolf story – what a pleasant surprise this novel was. Before I read Wolf en Garde I bought and read Wolf WY, the opener for this series. I really liked the writing and enjoyed the romance and love story.
Although much of this novel is set in Washington DC, the family home in Wolf, Wyoming still features largely in the climax of this novel. Three years ago, Lyle, a young new werewolf shifter, made a mistake by challenging his father’s dominance, and by trying to steal his father’s new partner Randy. This cost Lyle his freedom, and almost his life, as he had to be ‘taught’ to behave by the mysterious Committee that governs werewolves and their behaviour.
Now reunited with his family, Lyle is sick to death of watching his father love the man that he had wanted. So, while on a family trip to D.C. to see Randy’s wealthy family, Lyle accepts an offer to leave Wolf, WY behind and see what life in Washington, D.C. can do for him instead. Before his family returns to Wolf, Lyle takes several night runs as a wolf, against his father’s explicit orders. During his first run, Lyle comes across a seductive, attractive stranger, Arius, with a fascinating yet terrifying view of humanity. Lyle knows this is against all he’s been taught, which makes him even more intrigued.
Arius manages to hold such sway over Lyle so easily because the latter is acting out against parental authority and rebelling. He has this amazing power, and yet his father and a committee’s rules and regulations restrict him. Additionally, Lyle considers himself in love, and yet Randy, the object of his affections, chooses his father over him. The humiliation is too much for Lyle’s youthful view of himself.
My main complaint about this novel would be that the scene setting and motivational exposition goes on too long. I was a quarter of the way through the book and I still had no idea where it was going, and I had an intense dislike for Lyle. However, after a very hot sex scene, and several nights of Arius expounding on his fascist ideals, he eventually realises that Arius isn’t just playing games. When Lyle runs across a secret in Arius’ lair it changes Lyle and his life radically and leaves him no choice but to flee, even knowing his actions will enrage Arius.
On the run, with only a psychic’s second sight and his own instinct to help him, Lyle has nowhere to go but home – to Wolf. Behind him, he leaves Randy’s parents and a situation that will bring sadness and danger to not only his family, but Randy’s as well. I have to mention here that rarely have I disliked a character as much as I disliked Randy’s mother.
Apart from my concerns regarding the first part of the novel, I really liked this take on the werewolf and paranormal myths. I haven’t expounded too much on the backstory regarding the committee and Arius’ hatred of humans because this novel progresses that story very little. Anything new the reader can glean comes from dialogue and half-heard conversations. I hope there is more to come in this series because the author has set up an intriguing world to explore.
There is a strong romantic element in the story, but it is difficult to go into it without introducing spoilers that might ruin a new reader’s enjoyment. The romance is sweet and sexy; it also transforms Lyle and makes him realise that he has been acting like a sulky boy, but more importantly, it teaches him that what he felt for Randy was not love. Lyle does became a worthy hero once the story really gets going. He shows bravery, caring and family commitment during some fairly dramatic, violent events. I would have enjoyed a little more emphasis on the romance and a little less scene setting at the beginning, but overall, Wolf, en Garde is an enjoyable read that I recommend to lovers of werewolves and things that go bump in the night.