My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Actual rating of 4.5
Terra is a wolf alone, something that is not encouraged. The pang for a pack leaves her feeling melancholy and ill. Until she discovers that a local young alpha has noticed her existence and is not ordering her to join his pack or die. She’s intrigued by this as the pack she was raised in saw the females as a necessity, breeding and domestic chore machines, nothing more. Her father is a ruthless alpha male that never showed compassion or love, not even when she was struggling during her most hormonal times when her changes were out of control. Not to worry though, she left that life and that pack 10 years ago, she’s been living a life of solitude and shiftlessness since then. Until one day, while trekking through the woods to do maintenance she runs into the one wolf she hoped never to see again. Her father has found her. Giving her an ultimatum and a time limit, he throws Terra’s world into turmoil. But maybe upheaval is just what she needed in order to make peace with who and what she is.
I was super pleasantly surprised by this story. I enjoyed it SO much!! I loved the story of Terra, a lone wolf who escaped an abusive village, as well as an abusive father in order to live her own life and not just become a wife and mother. I love how Easterling was able to portray a character who is so strong and able to stand on her own, yet is so scared and cannot accept herself for who she is. I felt that this story really showed the reader how growing up in a toxic family or household can affect a person’s world view. We’re shown this right from the word go. Terra is reading a book in a bookshop, when a large wolf-like dog drags it’s walker to her. Obviously, and as we quickly find out, this is no average dog, it’s an alpha. Terra is instantly terrified because the only alpha that she’s ever interacted with was her father, and he was an incredibly mentally abusive man. So her perception of alpha wolves is coloured by this, she believes that ALL alphas must be ruthless, careless, and rule with an iron fist. She is terrified that this alpha will force her into things like her father did. When you think about it, people experience this kind of stuff every day. There are people living in abusive households, families, and relationships who struggle to trust anyone else because of what they experienced. So I felt that Easterling did a fantastic job by including this aspect into Terra’s personality and character. Whether or not this was her intention, it doesn’t matter, it really added another dimension to the story for me.
The story itself is great and is wonderfully executed. Not only do we have the aspect mentioned above about learning to live after escaping toxicity, we also have a story about a woman who is finding out more about herself, the world she is apart of, and the family she never knew existed. There is a sense of morality here, while she wants to follow her father’s orders, she also knows what it’s like to live under the man. I definitely loved that Wolfie never gives up, he can see that she’s been battered and bruised and hurt before, so he goes out of his way to make her feel comfortable and to understand that he’s not what she thinks he is. It’s a story of growth, morality, and strength.
I found the way that Easterling used the lore and changed it to suit her story worked wonderfully. It really makes it more likely that the world of werewolves would be a patriarchy. I also loved that she didn’t completely write off the female of the species either, if anything, I saw the females as being even stronger than the males BECAUSE of what they have to deal with and how they have to learn to control their changes. I absolutely loved the contrast between the two packs that we meet as well.
This story was incredibly fast paced and definitely kept me glued to the page. I found myself sneaking in little bouts of reading when I was meant to be doing other things. I absolutely flew through this story and was so excited to see that it was book 1 in a series! I cannot WAIT to get into the rest of the series!! I need to start making notes of which ones I loved so I can get onto them once I open up some space in my TBR.