Thursday, November 17, 2022

Joanna Chambers - Capital Wolves duet

Comment: I had originally programmed to read only the first book in this duet and leave the second one for next month. However, the stories individually weren't too big, I had time and I also just couldn't wait to read what came next. I wouldn't say the end of the first book is a classic cliffhanger, but knowing the sequel was that close, I thought why wait and just jumped into it.

As per the author's website, this duology is described as "Capital Wolves is an historical paranormal series, following the adventures of a small pack of werewolves in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries. Gentleman Wolf, set in 1788, and Master Wolf, set in 1820, are primarily set in Edinburgh and Paris and tell the story of Lindsay Somerville and Drew Nicol."

Summarizing, therefore, we have a story which is divided into two volumes, following the events of when the main characters meet and get to start having feelings for one another and, in the second volume, when their story is concluded after some heartbreaking scenes at the end of the first book. Each book has structure to be read independently but, of course, the aim was for this to be a story divided in two, and the reading experience is so much richer when one reads them both.

In Gentleman Wolf, the first volume, the narrator Lindsey is on a mission in Edinburgh and that is where he meets Drew and starts falling for him, but Lindsey's past is still haunting and hunting him, even though he is at a point of his life where he is happy enough with whom he is. We learn Lindsey was turned into a werewolf for a terrible reason and his life wasn't easy until Marguerite and Francis, other members of his pack, helped him. He is mostly content now, but meeting Drew changes his perspective and he starts wondering if at some point his feelings could be reciprocated. However, as the book is reaching the end, some events take a turn which can't be changed and Lindsey faces the consequence of his decision.

In Master Wolf the narrator is Drew and the action starts decades after what had happened in the other story. Drew has not yet come to terms to his change in life, despite his adaptation to it and the apologies Lindsey had made. But now things are different. Lindsey has embarked on a path which he hopes will help them all, especially Drew, who has always felt he has no control in what he is and how he feels because of it. The problem is that the price seems too high and when the time comes for the issues which have plagued Lindsey in his life as a werewolf to finally be over, can Drew life with himself knowing he is responsible?

Overall, I liked the books and the characters and the situations they faced. There are tasks the main characters do and there's a main course they all follow - to look for Alys, the missing werewolf which turned Marguerite (who is their alpha) - but to me the real winning aspect is the relationships between characters. Lindsey and Drew are opposites in looks and personality but it becomes clear to the reader from the start that they will be compatible and a pair. As soon as they meet we realize, though Lindsey's eyes, where this is going.

The path is complicated because of assumptions, of lack of communication in key moments and circumstances which carry on happening, even though it could be possible to solve them earlier. I guess the idea is to fully highlight the power of the pair's connection and how so much better they are for having it but I must say I hoped the romantic aspect would had been much more obvious. I also think the solving of the main problem took too long in the second book, and when the HEA finally happens, I felt it wasn't enough.

I liked the werewolf content, it's nothing new but I liked how the author used it and how the characters dealt with that part of themselves. The two stories are consistent in terms of writing and tone and I liked to spend time with the characters when they weren't facing terrible things. I understand the idea but I wish the romance had had sweeter moments too, throughout the book and not just when things went well or when Drew finally had an epiphany.

The author's work tends to be one I like and this is yet another proof of her talent. Sure, I'd change a dew details but for the most part I was engrossed in this and couldn't wait to see what would happen and how things would be solved.
Grade on the two books: 8/10

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