Shifter Julia Martel has been spoiled and pampered by all the alpha males around her whose urge to protect her have left her uninformed and vulnerable. Now the Great North Pack has relegated Julia to the care of the wolf at the very bottom of the Pack hierarchy, Arthur Graysson. Julia wants nothing to do with the Pack, except to escape back to her life of luxury and idleness, but the more time she spends with Arthur, the more she learns about the Pack, the dark secrets Arthur carries with him, and the fierceness within herself that could save them all…
Maria Rose and Dabney are here to discuss Wolf in the Shadows, the fifth book in the Legend of All Wolves series.
Maria Rose: I confess I was really excited when I heard there was going to be a new book in this series! I thought Evie’s book (Season of the Wolf) was going to be the last of the set. So I had high expectations for this one and I’m happy to say they’ve been met. How about you Dabney?
Dabney: I’m glad there were more books in the series and I enjoyed this one. But. I had several significant issues with it that made me like it but not love it.
Maria Rose: Well, now I’m curious! Can you elaborate?
Dabney: I found the way the story was told very disorienting–I’ve read all the books but I still had a hard time figuring out where we were in the Great North Pack storyline. At about the 25% mark, I found my footing but, prior to that, I was a bit lost.
Julia and Arthur as a couple didn’t wow me in the way the earlier couples have–I wanted Arthur to be a bit less laid back as a wolf in love and Julia was all over the map about what she wanted in a way that made me want better for Arthur.
Maria Rose: This story had similarities for me with a mafia themed romance. Julia is the spoiled Mafia Princess who is really in a prison of mob ‘family’, with the mob boss (her uncle) getting taken out and her ending up a prisoner of the Great North Pack. But unlike those stories, she doesn’t end up with the Alpha of another family – she ends up with a beta (or Gamma? Delta? Is there a romance cheat sheet for hero types with Greek letter designations?) The point being that Arthur is at the bottom of the Great North Pack, so far out of Julia’s normal contacts yet the only one who tries to be nice to her (and pays for it, at the beginning of the story). But this also means Julia has to buck up and face some uncomfortable truths, and she really comes into her own as an individual as the story progresses. It’s also been a while for me since I read the previous book and truthfully, plot details often don’t stick with me for long from any story unless it’s one I’ve read multiple times. Thus, I’d also forgotten the end of the previous book and had to figure out what was going on. But it didn’t bother me to do that (it’s an experience I constantly have LOL).
Dabney: It wasn’t just remembering the past–the way the story was told was hard to follow. I’ve read other reviews on GR that had that problem too. I almost feel as though Vale was trying to do something new and it just… didn’t quite work.
Maria Rose: Well then I don’t feel so bad about not remembering! I think once you get past that first part, it does smooth out and as always, the uniqueness of Vale’s worldbuilding, including the more visceral (and probably more accurate) depiction of life in the wolfpack is what makes the series in general stand out in my mind, though perhaps this particular entry a bit less than the others. Are we ready for a grade or do you have any other thoughts?
Dabney I’ll just add that I thought Vale had done a great job in the last book, Season of the Wolf, and indeed in all the preceding books showing how great a threat humans are to the Great North Pack. The series has been filled with suspense and tragedies, yes, but it’s also had humor and hope. This book seemed toned down and sadder. The Pack’s future is grim simply because of how the world is. This book is a more depressing read than the others in the series.
Maria Rose: Yes, I can see how one could feel that way. I still enjoyed this entry in the series though, and I’m rating it a B+ (a bit lower than other entries for me, but still a gripping read). How about you?
Dabney: It’s a B- for me. I love the series but in some ways, after reading this book, I sort of wish Vale had stopped with Season of the Wolf. Wolf in the Shadows’ love story was too hard to follow, the romance too pale, and the overall vibe too sad for me.
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