Book Review: Wolf’s Bane by Julie Midnight

Wolf’s Bane is the second book in the Monstrous Hearts series by Julie Midnight

Quick Review:

This series isn’t the usual type of werewolf story, making it a refreshing read, and the prose is almost lyrical in places, making it a beautiful read as well. 4 / 5

Summary from Goodreads:

In the months since escaping an abusive relationship, Alice has sought peace living in the wilderness with Colton, her mysterious lover who shifts from man to wolf at will. There in the shadows of the woods, she hopes to lick her wounds and rebuild her life. But ghosts have a way of stirring from their graves, and Alice is about to learn that one can never hide from the past for long. Sometimes, the past can come back to life, and when it does, it has teeth sharper than any wolf’s…

Favourite Quote:

“Far above them hangs the moon, returned to its usual ivory glow that brings to mind wedding lace dulled with dust and bones bared of their flesh.”

(From Wolf’s Bane by Julie Midnight, chapter 15)

Review:

I read the first book in this series, Wolf’s Wife, back in 2018 (see my review for that here). Before I go any further with my review, it might be worthwhile sharing the opening of my review for the first book:

“…this isn’t the usual type of paranormal book I read.  There is a lot of mature content to be found in the story – so should you go off and read it yourself, you’ve been warned…  Neither is it full of the usual werewolf fare.”

All three points remain true this time round. One: this isn’t the usual type of paranormal book I read. Two: there is a lot of mature content to be found in the story – a lot more than I recall for the first book. Three: this story isn’t full of the usual werewolf fare.

It’s the characters which again make the story. Alice is growing, transitioning from the breakable woman we meet in Wolf’s Wife into a stronger, empowered woman who owns who she is. We also get to see a different side to Colton in this instalment as he helps Alice navigate an existence between the remnants of her old life and the unusual path they have ahead of them.

The story was well-written and the dark horror and fantastical elements blend seamlessly with the more realistic passages. And the author’s writing style gives a poetical, lyrical feel to the prose. Some of the sentences and paragraphs (like my favourite quote above) are simply beautiful.

I read Wolf’s Bane for free via Wattpad. I’m hoping to get around to reading the third and final book in the series, Wolf’s Kin soon, maybe even by the end of the month, so I can include my review with this year’s Indie Only reads…

Rating:

Book Review: Wolf’s Wife by Julie Midnight

Summary (from Goodreads)

Alice is twenty-four, far old enough to know that a change of scenery can’t repair the cracks in a relationship long strained. But when her lover insists on a trip to a remote cabin to get away and recharge, Alice agrees…and soon discovers that among the beasts of the forest, there is one that shouldn’t exist and yet does: a wolf that changes into a man and a man who changes into a wolf. He’s savage, suspicious, and feral. And he’s as undeniably interested in her as she is in him…

Wolf’s Wife is an erotic paranormal romance and the first book in the Monstrous Hearts series.

Favourite Quote

Even in a mind worn into paths of silence and appeasement, the urge to snap and claw and kick burns like an ember hidden in the ashes.

Review

Like my previous review, this isn’t the usual type of paranormal book I read.  There is a lot of mature content to be found in the story – so should you go off and read it yourself, you’ve been warned…  Neither is it full of the usual werewolf fare.

I loved the story, but more than that, I loved the characters.  I warmed to Alice very quickly; her relationship with Magdalene was hard to read, so tipped were the scales.  Colton, the werewolf, with his aloofness, his wariness, was very realistic.  He’s gruff and rough and suspicious, almost animal traits that he brings with him into his human form rather than leaving behind with the wolf.  And that makes this werewolf more lifelike than what is usually depicted in supernaturally-themed tales.

There is a complexness in this story that makes this paranormal romance so believable.  The characters are well-crafted and the story well-thought out and well-written.  The author knows how to build atmosphere and tension, and as the quote above shows, there is a beauty to the prose.

There’s also a rawness about this tale.  Colton, as a man/wolf between worlds has to decide whether he can trust this stranger.  And as for Alice, who also finds herself “in between”, between her world and his, between her relationship with Magdalene and her feelings, she’s trying to navigate her way through some pretty difficult territory.

I will certainly be reading the sequel, Wolf’s Bane to find out how the story continues to unfold.

Rating

Short Story Review: Seeing Eye by Patricia Briggs

Moira Keller is a blind, hereditary witch who hires her witchy services out in the city she lives in, Seattle.  Amongst the supernatural community she is well-known for her abilities.

The night before Samhain, Moira receives an unexpected visitor in the middle of the night.  His name is Tom Franklin, a werewolf, whose brother, Jon, is a cop.  Tom has sought Moira out because he believes that while his brother was working undercover he was kidnapped by a group called Samhain.

The group is one Moira has come across before.  Samhain is lead by a man named Kouros, who Moira has a little unfinished business with.  It is because of this that Moira decides to help Tom find his brother, before it is too late, and regardless of the danger involved.  And there is a lot of it.

I enjoyed reading this paranormal short story; it offered something different to other paranormal shorts that I have read.

I liked the two main characters – Moira and Jon.  Their personalities were strong and independent and yet they interacted very well together.  They – especially Moira – also had enough of a back story to make the characters, and the story itself, interesting.

The characters were well-supported by the setting of the story and the locations visited, as well as the depth of detail that the author managed to work into the narrative with regards to supernatural background.

I recommend this short stort to those who enjoy paranormal fiction.  It is definitely worth a read for those who like the genre.

This short story was found in Strange Brew, ed. P.N. Elrod.