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Shana, an assassin for the Beo pack, has been taken hostage by her foster brother, Caleb, after he kills her father, the alpha. By pack law, Caleb is now the alpha of the pack, but Shana and her brothers are a threat to his leadership and he’ll do what he can to force Shana into submission with the lives of her brothers.
Can Shana fake submission long enough to turn the tables on Caleb and take her pack back? Or will the human mercenary Caleb’s brought in be too much of a distraction that she’ll lose it all?
The book starts off right in the thick of everything. We don’t start before Shana’s capture to get to know any of the characters, but with Shana already captured, trapped in the manor she called home. Caleb, her foster-brother turned captor wants her to submit to him and be his mate, but naturally Shana doesn’t want to mate to the man who had killed her father and put her essentially in a cage, even if her wolf thinks the idea of mating to such a powerful wolf isn’t a terrible idea.
A lot of the backstory about Shana and Caleb comes to us through Shana reflecting back on the past and both who she thought people were coupled with what Shana has gone through to make her the woman she is today. She thinks several times that she’s not sure who this Caleb is, because he wasn’t the man she’d grown up with, trained with, and knew as a brother. Though short of those comments we aren’t ever shown that juxtaposition against the Caleb we see keeping her captor and wanting her to be his. It’s a lot of telling in that respect.
Throughout the book, we’re teased back and forth with Jeb, the human mercenary that helped Caleb take over the pack and had been helping keep Shana captive. He seems cold and calculating, but then there are glimpses where we think we can maybe trust him, that he’ll be there and come through to help Shana take Caleb down and free her pack from his influence.
The worldbuilding that exists is good, because we’re mostly kept at Shana’s manor and the surrounding woods and ravine around it there isn’t too much to have Shana describe or see to us. But the descriptions of the old trees, the roots that in some scenes are large enough for Shana to duck under or around, the bramble bushes with their pricklers are described nicely to be able to visually see what Shana is going through. Even the description of the halls of the large manor as we’re taken through it in the different scenes left me fairly confident I knew about where things were from walking the halls with Shana.
The characters are mostly well thought out. Shana, being the main character feels the most alive, and her inner thoughts, motivations, and drive are well written. She’s very much a well flushed out character. As were the others over all. I don’t know if I’m over thinking it too much, but the only piece of the puzzle I feel like I’m missing is Caleb’s motivation for killing Shana’s father and taking over the pack.
Throughout the book Shana’s telling us that this isn’t the man she grew up with, and yet Jeb mentions at one point that this had been years in the planning. And Caleb didn’t take the pack over by way of the normal trial by combat normally associated with an alpha battle but crept in the shadows and took the wolves he knew he couldn’t beat fairly by deception and blind surprise. It leads well to why some of the pack wouldn’t follow him because it reeks of cowardliness despite the strength Shana’s wolf tells us Caleb has.
While I liked the book over all, it’s the lack of understanding Caleb’s motivation for turning on the people that had welcomed him in as a family for centuries if Shana’s offer of growing up with him is caught correctly is what leaves this more at a four star read. The story does hook you, and I followed it happily. I am also considering picking up the next book to see where Shana goes. However, even after I read it, I still have the serious, but why did he do it, nagging at the back of my head. There were also quite a few noticeable errors in spelling and punctuation being funky that while it didn’t completely pull me out of the story, were distracting.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion. All thoughts are my own, and were not colored for receiving a free copy.