appeal: werewolfish Guardians, romance, love-triangle (maybe that's a turn-off?), adventure, action, cool magical world
content: a lot of loving
I almost bought this book the moment it came out. I'm really glad I didn't.
the non-spoiled (slightly rambling) review:
I really loved the first two books of this trilogy, Nightshade and Wolfsbane. I didn't necessarily love the characters, not a big fan of Shay or Ren (though I was rooting for Ren through the first two books just because he was less dislikable than Shay), and was disappointed in how Calla handled herself at times. But the side characters where wonderful. I loved the Guardian packs and Searchers. They were fun to read.
But the big draw for me was the cool world building. It was so fun and original and interesting. The shift of perspective from the first and second book was awesome. And then there was the adventure and action of the plot. Just a cool series overall.
Seriously, so excited for this third book. But since I decided I was broke and didn't buy it, I had to wait for it at the library. It arrived almost three weeks ago, and I began reading it right away. I finished it last night.
Yes, It took me almost three weeks to finish it. Which is bad. On average, I finish books I like in two days. Which means I didn't like this one so much...
On the plus side, this book's world building was steller. The action (once it got started) was great. Fun, witty dialog between characters. I thought it ended the story arch of all three books pretty well.
My problem came with Calla. The first eight chapters or so are all about her and her boys in their epic, stupid love triangle. Have I ever mentioned how much I HATE love triangles? Well, I also discovered that I HATE Calla. She's a liar, she's manipulative, and she's an idiot. Those first two weeks I was stuck in those first eight chapters and didn't seem to make much progress because every three pages I
Once the triangle was no longer the focus of the book and the Searchers actually went out to search for something, it got much better, I enjoyed the story, and I finished the rest of the book rather quickly.
I probably would have been upset about the ending if I had cared more. But the anger and resentment I felt towards Calla in the beginning distanced me from the rest of the book and I didn't care all that much. So o'well.
the spoiled (also rambling) review:
I mean it guys! I'm not even going to try to make this spoiler free. I will not only be spoiling Bloodrose, I will be spoiling the whole trilogy.
Also, this isn't so much a review as a RANT. More detailed thoughts about the whole triangle that I mentioned above. You'll probably want to skip this part. Just sayin...
You've been warned.
I got through chapter one and was pretty pissed off (excuse the language). Calla is such an idiot. She just slept with Shay one day ago at the end of Wolfsbane, and now she meets up with Ren and things get steamy really quick. She's trying to help Ren, because she knows best and all (ha!), so she manipulates him into believing what he wants to believe about their relationship so that he will go with her. I HATE MANIPULATION!!! Manipulation is used by bad guys, not the main character who I am supposed to like! And at that moment, I started to hate Calla.
The hate deepened as I read on.
A friend who I recommended the series to got the book from the library at the same time, so over the next week she started texting me about her impressions of the book. I forced myself to keep going because of this, yet for over a week I just kept responding, "still on chapter five," because I was so annoyed with Calla. Finally, when my friend had finished the book and liked it, I made myself push past chapter five, where Calla has a second night with Shay, because she just can't refrain from ripping off his clothes.
It was rather tedious reading in the beginning because EVERY PAGE of Calla's internal dialog was this back-and-forth, "I love Shay so much! He helped me find myself! Yet I'm so drawn to Ren! We have a past together and we work well and make sense. But I love Shay! Everytime Ren isn't around I can't stop myself from kissing Shay and sharing secret looks with him. But Ren can't know about it!"
This is what I hate about love-triangles: The indecision, the manipulation of two boys, the need for attention and power. Calla had it down to an art form.
My favorite was when Calla and Ren met up in the showers, both wrapped in towels, and Ren confronts Calla about Shay. Ren says, "I know you slept with Shay because our packmate told me." Calla responds, "She had no right!" I just groaned. Ren had a right to know what was going on, to know that Calla was playing a game, it's just Calla is an idiot. Her reasoning being if Ren knew the truth, he'd throw a tantrum and storm off and Calla couldn't let that happen because they needed him in this battle. And guess what...when Ren knew the truth he didn't throw a tantrum and he didn't storm off. He acted like a mature, reasoning human. And then he proceeds to seduce Calla, which worked since Calla seems only to think of her body and was soon trying to drop his towel--with no resistance from Ren, of course.
And Calla's insistence that she wasn't going to make up her mind on which boy to have as her alpha was just ridiculous. As far as I was concerned, she'd decided that the moment she went to bed with Shay. The first time.
After all that, Calla keeps drawing Ren behind her, unwilling to tell him that he was out for good and Shay was in forever. Not until after the battle was won. Not sure exactly why...because she loved having power over him? I think her reasoning, if I remember right, was so that they weren't distracted from their goal. Because she still sees Ren as a baby who can't handle the truth.
And then Calla realizes that Shay's responsibilities in the war might take him away from her. But at least Ren is there in the background. Just in case she loses Shay, she'll still have another boy-toy. (I must put in here that I got the pack dynamic that made Calla's behavior "understandable." She needed an Alpha. She was half animal so it was part of her identity to have the urge to mate. I just didn't care.)
It got even better when about about 3/4 the way through Calla's talking with someone and says how much she respects honesty. And expects it. I laughed out loud. I returned the book to the library already, or I would quote the passage. It was so ridiculous and hypocritical.
So it was such a relief when things outside of the messed up romance happened and I could read something else. I was still anti-Calla and everytime any of the romance flared up again I groaned. I love romance in my books. Really, I do. But in this book, it just made me hate the main character more and distanced me from the story.
I decided Ren was too good for Calla, and was rather relieved when he died. Especially in the context of the story, where as a wolf he would've been an Alpha with no pack.
And the ending...like I said before, I would've been so sad if I cared. They were always more human to me than wolf, so when they became wolf for good and forever, it was as if they were dead. Gone for good. There was no Calla or Shay or Ansel or Brynn...there was just a pack of wolves on the mountain. So I'm actually kind of glad I don't care. And really, I think I like Calla better as a wolf (how manipulative and conniving can a wolf be?), so that kind of made me happy.
*as a side note, please treat library books with respect. Don't follow my example and throw them across the room.
Calla has always welcomed war.
But now that the final battle is upon her, there's more at stake than fighting. There's saving Ren, even if it incurs Shay's wrath. There's keeping Ansel safe, even if he's been branded a traitor. There's proving herself as the pack's alpha, facing unnamable horrors, and ridding the world of the Keepers' magic once and for all. And then there's deciding what to do when the war ends. If Calla makes it out alive, that is.