Thursday, February 18, 2021

A Wolf After My Own Heart by MaryJanice Davidson: review

4/5 stars on Goodreads

A Wolf after My Own Heart by MaryJanice Davidson

A Wolf After My Own Heart is the second book in BeWere My Heart urban fantasy series by MaryJanice Davidson. I haven’t read the first book, but it didn’t matter at all, as this one had a unique plot and plenty of references to the previous book and characters.

The book is set in a small town outside St. Paul, Minnesota, and the world is mostly like ours, but populated with various weres ranging from wolves and bears to kangaroos and Tasmanian devils. They go under human radar, but with their own social organisations like child services and fire brigades.

Lila, a human—or Stable, though she doesn’t know that word yet—has just moved into a huge old house in a quiet neighbourhood. Her very first night, she runs over a wolf and finds an injured bear cub. The first disappears before she has a chance to do anything, but the cub she takes home. Only for it to shift into a little girl. This plunges her into a strange new world of weres, including Oz, the sexy social worker werewolf who’s supposed to look after the bear cub now that her parents are dead.

There’s instant attraction between Lila and Oz, but it doesn’t really go anywhere fast. For all that this is advertised as a sexy romance, anything romantic is pretty much in a backburner, and sexy things happen behind closed doors and only at the very end. This is more of a paranormal mystery, where the characters are trying to find out what happened to the cub’s parents and who is trying to kill her. The mystery unfolds in a fairly haphazard way, with everything happening in the last chapters of the book. The ending is satisfying, but not exactly a happily ever after kind of affair.

I liked the book, but I had some issues. The two point of view characters, Lila and Oz, had similar inner monologues that made them seem like ADDs off their meds; a stream of consciousness with many tangents that were supposed to be quirky and funny, but were only exhausting. It was difficult to tell them apart at times and more annoyingly, the inner monologues were in contrast with their actions. Oz was an accountant turned social worker, reliable but yearning for some action, and Lila was a survival who was prepared for everything life could throw at her. I haven’t read other books from Davidson, but I suspect this is her writing style that trumps the characters’ own voices. This stretched to other characters too, who only communicated with snarky, often really mean comments, which made them fairly unlikeable.

I’m also not a fan of a writing style where a scene starts in the middle, with nothing to indicate who is talking, where, when and why, with the POV character explaining the scene later. It made the narrative very clunky, and required a lot of backtracking. There were also footnotes from the author that constantly yanked me off the narrative and the world. Towards the end, a new point of view character was added to explain the plot, which confused the matters further. If it hadn’t been for the really sweet child characters and some funny moments, this would have been a three star book. But there was something compelling about the setting and the mystery, if not the romance, which left me happy with the book in the end, so it gets four stars.

I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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