Friday, April 19, 2024

Terry Spear - Heart of the Wolf

Bella, a female red werewolf, was adopted by a pack of gray wolves as a pup. Now grown up, the alpha of the pack tries to make her his mate against her will--Bella knows she has no choice but to run away.
She makes her way as a lone wolf until childhood friend, Devlyn, comes to bring her home. On their journey back, they get tangled in up in unimaginable danger and must apprehend a werewolf murderer while keeping their identity secret from humans. The chemistry between them sizzles like never before...but they both know if they mate, Devlyn will have to fight the pack's wicked alpha...and it's a fight to the death.

Comment: According to my notes, I purchased this paperback in April of 2010. That means it's been in the shelf for 14 years! Sadly to me, it didn't end up being one of those gems one would think was a missed chance in all those years...

In this PNR story we meet Bella, a red werewolf in a pack of grey ones and the alpha Volan wants her to be his mate. The problem is that Bella believes her mate is beta Devlyn and he, of course, wants Bella too, but the pack dynamics aren't that easy to avoid. When she can, Bella runs away, so that she doesn't have to be forced to mate Volan, which means she needs to be away from Devlyn too, and that way Volan doesn't feel he has to challenge and kill him. Years later, Bella is investigating the murders of other wolves, when she is captured and taken into a zoo, and then rescued by Devlyn. This time, she is convinced nothing can separate them, but Volan is still out there... will they have any chance to be happy as mates, just like they have always wanted?

◾There will be some spoilers included.

On the cover of the paperback edition I own, there is this accolade by Publishers Weekly stating "The couple's chemistry crackles off the page." I have no knowledge on how these statements are decided, who actually writes them and such, but it's obvious that whatever sentence is used, has to be positive and alluring, so that a reader might feel more confidence in buying or choosing that book. Unfortunately, I cannot agree and, in fact, I'd say instead that I missed all clues of the couple's chemistry in this story.

The story begins well enough, with a prologue where we are told how much Bella wants to be with Devlyn but he doesn't want to risk the alpha's ire, and she turns her interest to a possible human mate. But that man runs away when Volan arrives and after that Bella makes the decision to disappear. Then comes chapter 1 and if I had thought the prologue had been lacking in structure, what to say about a new chapter which was set more than 100 years later, but no worries because the author informs us that werewolves don't age the same way as humans, so Bella looks only 21. I confess: the author lost me right there.

From this moment on, the story simply stopped being interesting to me, because I could tell, and the following pages proved it to me, that it doesn't really have any kind of appealing werewolf society nor compelling world building and the existence of grey and red wolves who might mix or might not mix was not enough to convince me these werewolves were special enough for me to root for them or for what was happening. Then, Bella is also investigating the disappearance and death of other red female werewolves, and Devlyn helps her. But before this, Bella is captured and taken to a zoo, from which Devlyn has to rescue her... does this sound as ridiculous out loud as it does if I only write it down?

Sadly, there isn't much information I can share about the plot development, because I've skimmed the rest of the novel. Let it be said that everything is solved, and in the meantime Bella and Devlyn finally become mates and in the very end they become alphas of their pack. It is a pity this story wasn't done better, because the concept isn't bad and I do like werewolf stories, but this "world" was not appealing and the main characters had no real depth nor did they captivate me to want to know what would happen to them next.

Protagonist Bella was a confusing character. I can accept her wanting to be with Devlyn if she liked him, if she had a connection with him and vice versa, but her personality just didn't convince me and I did not sympathize with her. The fact that there is also a big part of the story set on the whole mating and sex thing for her, made her seem too focused on those things and not on the emotional/psychological/intellectual side of her character, and I didn't like her much.

As for Devlyn, he seems a relatable enough guy, but I didn't pay enough attention to him in general. I can wonder, though, if the end of the story is what it is, him challenging the alpha, why not do it sooner? Of course because that was the climax of the story, but I found no valid reason to delay this, nothing in the plot or in their lives was vital on the postponing of this fight and change in status, which means the secondary situations, such as the murder investigations, felt incredible flimsy and made Devlyn seem rather pointless until then.

All things considered, not a great story for me, but it's off the TBR at last. I saw the average ratings for the following books in the series are much higher, and I suppose that it has to mean something, but I don't think I'll read them. I have way too much to dedicate myself to as it is.
Grade: 3/10


  1. I have struggled with Ms Spear's books myself; the premises are almost always really appealing, but the execution just doesn't quite gel. Sometimes it's the worldbuilding, sometimes the characterizations, sometimes the supposed emotional bond doesn't translate to me.

    1. It's an experience and an experiment at the same time, to try on a new author, or even a new book... and sometimes the result isn't great.
      Happy weekend!