Title: Lord of the Wolfyn (Royal House of Shadows #3)
Author: Jessica Andersen
Publisher: Harlequin Nocturne
Formats: Mass Market Paperback & Ebook
Publication Date: October 18, 2011
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Gena Showalter and Nalini Singh are two of my favorite authors, so when Harlequin announced that they would be releasing a series of paranormal romances with the first and last books written by Showalter and Singh, I was thrilled. I was really disappointed in the first book of the series by Showalter, Lord of the Vampires, because it felt disjointed and rushed, but Lord of the Wolfyn was much better. Before reading the third installment of the series, I had never read anything by Jessica Andersen, but I’ll be looking for more of her books in the future, because this was a fun read, even if the phrase “wolfyn” had me cringing every time I read it.
If you haven’t read any of the other books in the series, you’ll be able to follow along with ease, as there’s a short prologue that sets up the back story. Also, each of the books is based on a fairy tale, with Lord of the Wolfyn based on the story of Little Red Riding Hood. In all of the books, the Blood Sorcerer (whom we have yet to meet) attacks the Royal Castle of Elden, killing the king and queen. The parents manage to protect their four children by using the last of their powers to send the children to different dimensions. Prince Dayn, the second son, finds himself in the realm of the Wolfyn, shapeshifters who are hunted in his realm of vampires. (Quick side note – I cringe every time I write the word wolfyn – surely there was a better name for the werewolves?) One of Dayn’s father’s last acts was to tell his son that when the time was right, they would send a guide to lead him back to the Castle of Elden. Once the guide arrived, Dayn would have four days to return to Elden and join his siblings against the Blood Sorcerer.
We then flash forward 20 years to the present in the Human realm where we meet Alfreda (Reda) Weston, red-headed cop. Reda’s in a bit of funk, because she froze when her partner was killed and has had problems with her self-confidence ever since. When she finally is able to recover a copy of an old version of Little Red Riding Hood that her mother gave her years ago, she purchases the book, little realizing that reading it would send her into the Wolfyn realm. And luckily for her, Dayn happens to be observing the portal that day, and he immediately recognizes her as his guide. Not surprisingly, Reda is more than a little freaked out at her new surroundings. Who wouldn’t be? First you’re reading a book, then POOF! you find yourself in another realm with some hottie telling you what to do. Happens to me ALL the time. Since Dayn desperately wants to be reunited with his family, he has to find a way to convince Reda to help him and in so doing give her confidence she’s lost since her partner’s death.
My absolute favorite aspect of this novel is that it is action-packed. The four day deadline adds suspense to the drama, since you’re wondering if Dayn will be able to convince Reda to help him in time to make it home before the four days are up. Additionally, there’s the concern that when he does arrive, he’ll be the only one of his siblings to have made it. We don’t witness any family reunions in the book, but the ending implies that the others are in fact in other parts of Elden, if not there during Dayn’s battles. I like that there was a resolution to the book, even if the overarching storyline about the Blood Sorcerer won’t be resolved until Nalini Singh’s book is released next month.
I also liked how the fairy tale was tied in with the story. The connection Reda feels with her dead mother and the book of Rutakoppchen with its wood carvings nicely tie the original tale of the wolf and the hunter in with the current plot. Andersen adds a nice twist to the legend by making the wolf in the novel a werewolf (or wolfyn), and Dayn’s connection to the wolfyn realm is an interesting one, especially since he’s hunting wolfyn in the prologue before being sent to the other realm.
Unfortunately Reda is not a strong heroine. I think that we’re supposed to sympathize with her because she’s experienced so much tragedy, but her actions at the beginning of the novel make her come across as really weak. When she does become more assertive, the change is abrupt, and I found it a little disconcerting. I enjoy reading novels that show a weaker heroine finding her own strength, but Reda’s change from wimp to warrior woman occurred during her transition from one realm to the other, which left her almost unrecognizable even to the hero when they met up again.
I think the book suffers a bit from its shorter length as well, because Reda’s character issues could have been resolved if they had been spread out over more of the book. Also, there’s a period when Dayn and Reda are separated, and I would have liked to have seen Reda’s actions during that time. When the two meet up again, she’s suddenly the more confident guardswoman that you would have thought a cop would be anyway. Since this change seems to occur while she’s ‘off-screen,’ I think including that time they’re apart would have tempered some of the issues I had with her character development.
However, I very much enjoyed the book. It was a fun, quick read, and the romance between Dayn and Reda was sizzling. I’m looking forward of the conclusion to the series, and I’ll definitely be checking out more of Ms. Andersen’s books.