Saturday, September 3, 2011

Review of Cindy Spencer Pape's Motor City Wolf

I’m continuing to feature a rescue dog a day as part of the “Write a Post, Save a Dog” bloghop. Today’s pooch is my sister’s pit bull, Dittany. Dittany was a real pistol when my sister adopted her 10 years ago, but with lots of training and love, she’s made a great pet!

Title: Motor City Wolf (Urban Arcana #3)
Author: Cindy Spencer Pape
Publisher: Carina Press
Formats: Ebook
Source: NetGalley
Publication Date: August 29, 2011
Rating: 4 out of 5

This was the first book I’d read by Cindy Spencer Pape, but as soon as I finished it I went online and purchased the first two books in her Urban Arcana series. Motor City Wolf is a short read (only about 64,000 words), but it’s action packed, and the romance skillfully developed. I read it while reading several other books for review, and once I started it I couldn’t put it down. Ms. Pape writes in several genres, and I’m looking forward to reading more of her books in the future.
Detroit is one of my favorite settings for paranormal romance, and Ms. Pape does the Motor City right in her Urban Arcana series. Motor City Wolf is the third book in the series, but I had no problems entering her world and meeting characters new to me but familiar to fans of the series. Fianna Meadows is an exiled Fae who’s been turned mortal and forced to work at manual labor as punishment for her involvement in a Fae racial purity movement. She’s working as a waitress at werewolf Greg Novak’s bar, but from the first she is a much more sympathetic character than one would think. It’s made clear that her role in the racial purity movement stemmed from misplaced family loyalty rather than any belief in the movement’s principles. Greg is attracted to Fianna and is impressed with her strength of character, but he’s reluctant to act upon that attraction since he’s her supervisor. When Greg’s grandfather, the Prime Alpha Werewolf, demands that Greg marry by the end of the year, Greg seizes the moment and declares his intention to marry the now-human fae. But when werewolves start dying in mysterious attacks, Greg and Fianna must face the threat together while dealing with opposition to their upcoming marriage.
There are many things to like about this novel, but the strength of the characters is what really sold me on it. You really like Fianna. She made some bad decisions in the past by trusting the wrong people, but her regret over those decisions is palpable. She’s vulnerable without being weak, and it’s entertaining to see how she’s adapted to living as a human. By learning her own strength, she becomes all the more attractive to Greg, which in turn makes the hero all the more appealing to us. Greg has befriended Fianna while fighting his feelings for her, because he believes that it would be inappropriate for him to act on those feelings since she has no choice about being his employee. It would be so easy for the book to get bogged down in Greg’s fighting this attraction, but Pape has written Greg as a reasonable, mature adult male, and quite frankly it was a relief to see the two characters interact without big misunderstandings. Despite the sparks that fly when they first meet, their relationship develops over time, and it’s a pleasure to read.
The book is action-packed as well, and I enjoyed how the mystery behind the violence facing the werewolves is resolved. When I went back and caught up on the first two books in the series, I realized that even though the story arc is completed within the book, it also fits well within the overarching arc of the series. My only complaint is that I was able to identify the villain fairly early on. I was also bothered by the overly sexualized and negative portrayal of Sofia Bartok, something aggravated when compared with Fianna’s innocence, fair skin and blue eyes, but this is a minor complaint.
It was a pleasure to read this paranormal romance by Ms. Pape, and I can’t wait to read more of her books. My only regret is that it was so short, but fortunately I can look forward to future books in the series.  

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