Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: Low Kink
Genre: Shifter, menage
Series: Spirit Wild #1
Reviewed by Anne
Lily is a successful leader in her community of Chanku (shifters). They are known in the human world and she's sort of an unofficial princess and official representative of her people. Sebastian is the son of the Chanku's most outspoken opponent. Lily's Chanku heritage allows her to shift into a wolf, and she has magic as well. Sebastian uses magic alone to shift into wolf form. Sebastian grew up separated from his father, only discovering his existence when his mother was dying. Despite her objections, Sebastian sought out his father and is now regretting his actions.
Recently a serial rapist and killer has been attacking human women. The women are raped and then savaged by wolves, which points to a Chanku killer. However, Sebastian also has weird things going on in his life that make him wonder if he or his father are somehow involved.
This book really worked for me! Though it's listed as first in a series on Goodreads, I could tell as I read that there had been books before it. A little research shows that this Spirit Wild series is a spin off or next generation series from the Wolf Tales (and other books) the author has written. Still, I read Dark Wolf with no problems keeping up with the many characters. I also thought the world building was done well. It came in little pieces as I read, and again, I had no problems keeping up.
The book reminded me of Lora Leigh's Breeds series and Kit Rocha's O'Kane books. Lora Leigh because of the animalistic, even in human form, characters as well as their highly sexual nature. The Kit Rocha comparison comes because of the multi partner accepting and sexually open society the Chanku have. Initially that caught me off guard, but I liked the community the author created. I was a bit surprised at how accepting Sebastian was of this when he learned of it. That was a bit unrealistic for me. I did like their society/pack and enjoyed reading about it.
Another small weakness to me was in the secondary storyline between Annie and Alex. Annie pops on the scene with no mention her beforehand around page 100. She's been out of the country and mostly out of touch for years, but suddenly she and Lily are best friends. I also thought the Annie and Alex story arc felt a bit rushed, but that was just a minor quibble for me.
The sex scenes were very well done and hot. I enjoyed them! Lily and Sebastian were great characters and I could really understand where they were coming from. I liked the world the book took place in a lot. I've already mentioned the sexually accepting society, but I also liked the pack and mate telepathy as well as the mate bonding. The women were strong and essential parts of their pack, which I appreciated. Lily even came across as stronger and more sure of herself than Sebastian, and it's rare to see something like that in a romance, and especially to have it work so well!
Sometimes the things going on seemed a little over the top, but I liked it overall enough to set aside those moments. I'm putting this book on my Best of 2013 list and I really look forward to reading another book in this series!