Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Sherrill Quinn - Daring the Moon

Sexy. Primal. Irresistibly male. Sherrill Quinn's breathtaking new novel introduces heroes who are definitely in a pack of their own...It takes a lot to ruffle Taite Gibson, investigator with the ima County Attorney's Office. But the enormous, snarling werewolf that's stalking her through the streets of Tucson? Yeah, that oughta do it. Those terrifying attacks convince Taite to seek out Ryder Merrick, a reclusive British horror writer reputed to know everything about werewolves, including how to kill them. Turns out he also knows how to leave her shaking with desire. . .On his remote private island, Ryder can live safely with the beast inside him, unable to harm others or himself. Then Taite arrives, her lush, sweet scent and gorgeous curves tempting him to give in to every wicked hunger. And as a full moon rises, the only way to keep Taite safe from the evil that's followed her here is to convince her to trust in an attraction that's deeply dangerous, and wilder than she ever guessed.

Comment: This is the first book in the Moon series by author Sherril Quinn, published in 2009 but that after years of having it, only now I finally got to it...

The story begins with Taite Gibson, a young investigator, traveling with her friend Declan to Ryder Merrick's private island so that they can talk to him and learn what there is to know about werewolves and how to get rid of them. Taite has been seeing a werewolf stalking her and she believes Ryder, a reclusive horror writer might know something more, since he did research for his books. Of course, Ryder knows more than the average person because he is a werewolf himself but he wished he weren't and being away from others is his only way of being certain he wouldn't hurt anyone. However, with Taite and Declan, the strange werewolf also comes to the island and Ryder can't tell what is more dangerous to him, this new enemy or how he feels about Taite...

This is one of the books which has languished a long time in the pile. It's another of those I think of as "first in a series", meaning I got many books which were the first in a series, hoping that when I got to them I'd be so marveled I'd get the remaining ones too, thus ensuring a prolonged affair with multiple series.

I also remember that when I got many of these books (between 2010 and beyond) the paperback editions were much cheaper than nowadays and many easier to find. There were many deals in ebooks as well... currently, many are out of print, unavailable...so, delaying reading these first books has gotten two main consequences: if I like the, the following books might be much more difficult to get and also, I feel their "momentum" has passed and while it's true a piece of art/book should be timeless if good, it's also true some books just don't have the same impact after too long...

Say, this book, for instance, reading it now hasn't changed its value nor the effort the author put into writing it. However, I'd say that the biggest reason why it probably wasn't better for me or why it didn't feel such a strong book is because I've read many other books in the genre until now and many have felt better done, better thought and more compelling. Yes, this book isn't bad, but picking all the elements usually found in shape shifter stories and in PNR stories, this has certainly felt like it lacked the great elements that others, so far, have manged to convey, namely, dynamics and world building.

I was moderately interested in the characters and what they went though. But the truth is that Ryder, as a werewolf, felt like his was cursed and he lived alone in an island with a sort of butler. This means he is quite isolated and the werewolf culture is seen as something mostly negative. I could understand why Ryder felt he wasn't safe to be around others but then, after a few pages on him, it became clear that this was pretty much the total of his character's development. His goal in the story would be to accept his fate and realize he was no danger to others. I felt this was too limited to what his evolution could be and there was nothing about werewolves here that made me eager to read more about the world they live in.

Taite is a curious but wary character, she wants to learn more about werewolves because she doesn't want to be attacked. Ok, this is acceptable but then she keeps being distracted by her reaction to Ryder and even allowing for the weird hormonal attraction that usually is seen in werewolf stories with mates ("mine!"), I felt she wasn't someone I got to know that well. I realized there were no deep layers to these characters, no real dimension besides the obvious... even the villain was so cliché and caricatural that I saw him more as a silly obstacle than any real part of this plot.

The romance was rather weak except, perhaps, the fact Taite was not immediately comfortable with Ryder being a wolf, after all that was to be expected since she went there to be away from one. This meant she would end up being ok with Ryder being who he is but she would not turn into someone totally different from who she was at first...

The plot development was as one would expect from a book like this (the main characters join forces, the villain attacks, the good guys defend themselves, the hero feels he has to reveal himself, there's fighting, there's the reveal, there's forgiveness) but nothing truly special happens. I can assume the other books will develop in the same way, following the same basic rules. I was reading this and thinking about what I liked (still love!) about other werewolf stories, comparing this with how well structured those worlds were, how fascinating the rules of their culture and the dynamics between characters and this book came out weaker.

All things considered, yes, this isn't a bad book. But or I read it way out of time, or it simply doesn't have what it takes to elevate it to what my standards/expectations are now when it comes to PNR focused on werewolves.

Grade: 6/10

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