Early Joint Review: The Thing About Weres by Leigh Evans ★★★★★

The Thing About Weres by Leigh Evans
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Mystwalker #2
Publication Date: July 30th 2013
ISBN: 9781250006417
Page Count: 464
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Copy: ARC
Reviewed by: Lynsey/Janice
Synopsis: THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER

In the never-ending saga that is my love-hate relationship with Robson Trowbridge, I, half-Were Hedi Peacock, have had a change of heart. Ever since I shoved Trowbridge through the Gates of Merenwyn, I’ve been the leader of the pack—hard to believe, right? The thing is: I’m half-Fae. So even though my Were side is ready to heed the call of the wild, the other part of me is desperate to take flight. And much as it pains me to admit it, life without Trowbridge is really starting to were me down…

I AM WERE, HEAR ME ROAR.

To make matters worse, the wolves of Creemore want my blood—and the North American Council of Weres wants me dead. So I’m just counting the days until Trowbridge returns from the other realm…and comes to my brave rescue…and becomes my alpha mate. Wishful thinking? Of course it is. But given all the mess I’ve been through already, what’s the harm in doing a little bit of daisy-plucking? Besides, Trowbridge owes me bigtime. A girl can dream.
 

LYNSEY'S REVIEW


One true thing.

I don’t know if you know this about me, but I’m a bit of an Urban Fantasy fanatic.

You’re deeply shocked, I can tell.

Yes, I confess, I’ve read a lot of UF series. Or more specifically, I’ve read book one of a lot of UF series. And generally I always find at least something to enjoy in each one, but in many cases, not enough to entice me into reaching for book two.

Then of course I have my FAVOURITE UF AUTHORS OF ALL-TIME. The frontrunners. The trailblazers. The Big Cheeses. The Top Dogs. The—okay, you get it. Those select few authors whose imagination and creativity I find infinitely superior. Authors like Kim Harrison, Patricia Briggs, Karen Chance, Ilona Andrews...the list goes on. And here’s the point I’m trying to make: I see Leigh Evans joining that latter group of all-time favourite UF authors. In fact, at times during THE THING ABOUT WERES, I already found myself finishing a scene and thinking to myself, “Wow, that could have easily been written by Author X”, it was that good.

If you’re not familiar with the authors I’m referencing above (and you really, really should be), you might not realise what a ginormic compliment it is to be lumped (even if only in my mind) into that elite group, or just how happy it makes me to have discovered a potential new member. Because the really great writers of UF are so few and far between, it makes it ridiculously exciting to find one with something new to bring to the buffet, rather than just handing out the same tired old sausage rolls as everyone else. And new ideas is something Leigh Evans apparently has in spades. Whether it be her fantastically imagined realm of Threall, her new take on both the Fae and Were races, or her most awesome creation of all: Merry, the tiny-Fae-soul-trapped-inside-an-enchanted-amulet character. A character that is a necklace. A necklace character. I can’t even...

Okay. Moving swiftly on lest I make another food analogy.

Oh! Speaking of food and delicious things one might like to eat—and I have no idea how my brain made that leap of topic, honest—we have the equally gorgeous, equally irritating, Alpha of Creemore himself, Mr Robson Trowbridge. And I have to say, it’s a very different Robson Trowbridge that we meet in THE THING ABOUT WERES, compared to the man we met in THE TROUBLE WITH FATE. I just love how many risks Evans has taken with her characters in this series, and how fearless she seems to be when it comes to torturing them. Sometimes literally.

Well, when I say I love it... For entertainment purposes, I love it. But for the sake of my poor, wee heart and my overtaxed tear ducts, I guess shouldn't be quite so encouraging. I find myself actually wondering what else she can possibly do to these two characters to complicate things further. It’s only been two books and I already feel like they've run the gauntlet. There were some extremely emotionally fraught scenes in TTAW. Some chest-squeezing, heart-dropping, ouch-that-freakin’-hurts scenes. As well as some absolutely humdinger plot twists. (Actually, there was this one particular section—I think I updated my Goodreads status about 12 times during it— that made me absolutely frantic because I had to stop reading right at the point when everything was still all up in the air because it was daft o’clock in the morning and I had to be up for work the next day, and it was all I could think about at work. I practically raced home to finish it, not actually convinced I even wanted to know what was about to happen next!)

Of course, all of this heartache and drama is lived vicariously through our wonderful protagonist Hedi—we couldn't very well have a review without mentioning her, now could we? Hedi has progressed a lot as a character over the course of the series so far, and she's been faced with some pretty tough challenges, to say the very least. Sure, her age sometimes shows in her behaviour (she’s only 22), and her insecurities can affect her thought processes at times. But it’s because of these flaws that the growth we’re seeing, and her gradual evolution from timid introvert to... to whatever she’ll end up as, is so very enjoyable. I’m highly anticipating finishing the series and looking back on Hedi’s journey and just being like, “Woah. You freakin’ go, girlfriend”.

And finally. To sum up my thoughts, on the slight chance I haven’t made it completely clear yet in my seven-page review, let me state explicitly: I really enjoyed THE THING ABOUT WERES. The Mystwalker series is shaping up to be truly fantastic UF, with a great romantic backbone, wonderful secondary characters, well-thought-out back stories, and the worldbuilding? In a word: Phenomenal.

Now go check it out.

5 Stars ★★★★★
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

JANICE'S REVIEW

My Favorite Werewolf

You've all seen Stars Wars, right? (The original Star Wars, not the newer ones - they don't count as far as I'm concerned.) The first movie introduced us to the world, the characters, and got us all excited and shouting "OMG, this is awesome!" from every available rooftop. Then BAM, along comes The Empire Strikes Back, where everything that can go wrong, does. It's a fantastic film, but oh man, did our heroes ever get put to the test! It was just one thing after another, right to the end.

That's a bit what THE THING ABOUT WERES is like. It's a trial by fire, especially for our spunky heroine, Hedi Peacock. Trowbridge has been gone for six months now, and as his mate, Hedi has been thrown into the Alpha role, leading a pack of werewolves who don't fully accept her and are quick to challenge her at every turn. As if that isn't enough, Hedi is without her friend and companion Merry, she's still trying to figure out the whole Mystwalker thing, she's plagued by nightmares about Trowbridge, AND her two natures (Fae and werewolf) are constantly in conflict with each other. She's doing her best to hold her head above water, but every day, it feels like she sinks a little further. And the icing on her craptastic cake? The North American Council of Weres is now involved, and they prepared to remove her...permanently.

In THE THING ABOUT WERES, Hedi is really put through the wringer - physically and emotionally - and unfortunately, she doesn't pass every test with flying colors. Her guilt, fear and insecurities trip her up A LOT - more so than in the book one, and yes, as a reader, I wrestled with that a bit. I understood it, though. The phrase "darkest before the dawn" very much applies to Hedi's storyline. She has to be down before she can be up, and this is definitely a down book for her. I spent a lot of time biting my nails and worrying my head off, because I wasn't sure she would be able to survive the extreme dangers and challenges she faced. It was just too much. But Hedi is a kickbutt character and a lot tougher than she gives herself credit for. In the end, adversity really did make her stronger. Of course, having Trowbridge back may have had something to do with that...maybe ;)

Oh, did I forget to mention that? Yes, my lovelies, TROWBRIDGE RETURNS! *fist pumps*

....and this is the point where my review devolves from a semi-intelligent analysis into fangirl gushing. I can't help it. Robson Trowbridge is my favorite alpha male werewolf of all time. That's right, OF ALL TIME. Why, you ask? Aside from the fact that he's off-the-charts sexy and I swoon every time I see his name? Well, for starters, he doesn't run around beating his chest and shouting "I AM THE MAN!" to prove his alpha-ness. Nor is he an overly sensitive pushover. He is a strong, well-balanced character who can comfortably (and believably!) alternate between toughness and gentleness. He isn't perfect, by any means, but when it's time to step up, he does. No fanfare, no need for thanks or praise - he just does it. If that doesn't make him a hero worth drooling over, I don't know what does! He is simply amazeballs and I seriously cannot sing his praises enough.

I could go on and on about how remarkable this series is and all the jaw-dropping, heart-stopping things that happened in THE THING ABOUT WERES - and believe me, there is plenty of awesomeness to choose from - but if you asked me to pick my absolute favorite thing about TTAW, it would have to be NAKED TROWBRIDGE. Perhaps that makes me shallow but c'mon, when a naked werewolf strolls repeatedly across the page and is described in such vivid and loving detail (ahem!), it makes an impression! And let me tell you, Naked Trowbridge, as seen through the eyes of Hedi, is a sight to behold. As in, stop the presses, drop everything, and ogle for DAYS.

I also am completely in love with the Hedi/Trowbridge relationship. We all have book couples we rant and rave about, characters we declare are perfect for each other, and if you're anything like me, that list of favorite couples is quite long. But every once in a while, a couple comes along and knocks the ball so far out of the park, they shoot right onto your Top 10 list, because they are JUST SO AMAZING. Hedi and Trowbridge did that for me. It isn't easy bringing together two people with such different backgrounds and personalities, but Leigh Evans pulls it off beautifully. She doesn't just tell me Hedi and Trowbridge work as a couple - she shows me, over and over again, throughout the course of the story. In book one, Hedi was the shining star, and in TTAW, it's Trowbridge. He was the rock Hedi desperately needed, and his devotion to her didn't waver for a single second. He's 100% there for her, believing in her even when she doesn't believe in herself, and he proves, repeatedly, that he is willing to fight for their future together. (Honestly, could the guy be any more swoonworthy? I am in total lust/love with him.)

Supporting character Cordelia deserves a special mention for being such a faithful friend and ally, and for just being all-around awesome. He/She rocks in every way. Sadly, the rest of the Pack did not impress me and they've got a lot of work to do to redeem themselves in my eyes. I don't expect everyone to hold hands and sing Kumbayah together, but I would like to see a healthy, functioning Pack in the future.

As you can probably tell by now, I heart the heck out of this series. It's one of the best urban fantasies I've ever had the pleasure of reading and I cannot recommend it highly or strongly enough. There are a total of 4 books planned, with book #3, The Problem With Promises, releasing in February 2014, so there's plenty of time for you to discover and fall in love with the Mystwalker books. Get to it! 

5 Stars ★★★★★
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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