Tuesday, September 1, 2015

WA Hoffman - Wolves

Wolves is a romantic gay historical novel and the fourth and final volume of the Raised By Wolves series. Raised By Wolves chronicles the relationship between buccaneers Will and his beloved matelot, Gaston, during the infamous Henry Morgan raids against the Spanish Main in the late 1660's. In this volume, the men are challenged by Churches, buccaneer greed and ambition, wives and babies, and a king, while trying to resolve matters with Will's father.

Comment: This is the final volume in the Raised by Wolves saga written by author WA Hoffman. The story is divided into four volumes and this is the final part. Overall, I liked it but now that I've read everything there's a clear change in the tone and goal of each volume.
In this last volume, Will and Gaston face the final obstacle to their happiness, meaning, Will's father and influence. They have to find a way to protect their family and friends, run from enemies that only intend to capture no matter the price and hey also need to plan ahead what they have to do and how can they all live together in peace.
While facing challenges with people they thought were away for good returning, babies, women and friends doing things they never expected, can the guys live as peacefully as they wanted?
I had a great time reading this huge adventure. However, I can't help but notice the change from book to book, in particular from book #1 to the others. The first volume was carefree, was all about the main character's relationship and their friends. The rest of the story features family members, social expectations and rule the happenings in a way that the characters can't avoid completely. No one is truly ever free of all bonds...
In this final book the characters have concluded that the only for them all to live together in peace was to leave Jamaica where most of the action took place. Their destination was France, now that Gaston's father had forgiven him and vice-versa. But some issues with the Church made certain conflicts that prevented them to travel there. The goal was now to solve the problem that was Will's father in order for Will and Gaston not to have the weight of responsibility and fear for the family running after them. I understand this plot move and how that could have been possible then.
The fact this is set in the 17th century forbids them to do things any way they wanted and the biggest part of the conflicts come precisely from the historical setting issues. Nevertheless many situations seemed pretty contemporary if one thinks about it. I mean the relationships between many characters and how they had to shock social conventions.
At the same time my biggest personal issue with the story is how some things seemed impulsive, reckless and even made unimportant. It felt weird to read about certain social situations and not to think they should act differently. I think part of my problem is how free they seemed in the first book and then comparing to the other three books, despite the liberty they had in some things, it was harder to accept all the necessary demands of society in their lives. I'm sure it must have been almost impossible to live the kind of situations these characters went through as easily as they made look. Sure this is fiction in part but the author uses many bibliographic references to base her story in. This means there are many things that have to be close to real.
Part of the problem with this way of presenting a story is that when the fictional parts happen we always wonder how real and how unlikely they had to be.
Personally, it was more difficult to accept they could change ideas so quickly, namely when it came to love and relationships. This is a gay historical novel and many gay couples are sort of established in the beginning. In this book there are some changes in that area. Some seemed too radical and it makes me think how wrong or how unimportant they must have been when this started and that kind of makes me feel deceived because I wanted to believe in them, I wanted to see how honest they were to each other. I totally understand why change happened and why it went that path but at the same time, the romantic in me feels this side of fiction could have been different.
In the end, there's closure for Will and Gaston. they remain amazing characters, with a fantastic relationship based on conversation, honest feelings and understanding. I love them and I will miss reading more about them. The HEA seems a little too unlikely when one thinks about the social conventions and the political aspect, but thankfully they end up together and happy. I'm just glad they could win over all the problems and were allowed to keep their friends and family close. It does make me feel good they managed that even if unrealistically.
This book is a good finish but honestly some things are too in our face to be conveniently forgotten. I really hoped some characters would have different endings. Well, after all that has happened, they deserve their HEAs even if not like I would write them. Still, a great adventure, very complete in terms of historical data and costumes and something I'll cherish and re-read my favorite parts.
Grade: 8/10

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