I’ve had a thing for werewolves since Joe Manganiello in True Blood. (How many of you could also say the same? The broad shoulders. The speed. The protective nature. The tank tops.)
Maria Vale takes on the wolf in her haunting A Wolf Apart, part of her The Legend of All Wolves series and the sequel to The Last Wolf. Wolf Elijah Sorensson has the broad shoulders, the speed, and the protectiveness, but he also lives Offland in a suit, separated from the rest of his pack so that he can protect their interests in an outside society that is for the large part unaware of their existence. Living Offland means wearing the clothes, eating the food, and seducing the women that a very wealthy human man would wear/eat/and seduce. It also means performing a role and living apart from his wolf in way that makes him feel like he’s dying.
He meets Thea Villalobos, an environmental conservation officer, and she speaks to his wolf because she’s nothing like the posturing world he lives in. She dresses, eats, and lives for herself; she craves her solitude and independence; she refuses to compromise who she is.
He’s drawn to her in a way that he’s never been before, but she’s human, and their relationship is forbidden by the pack that’s been part of him since birth.
Who will he choose? Himself—the man who lives in a city that’s killing him so that he can protect his fellow wolves, the man who loves someone who would be killed by the pack if their love was discovered—or the pack that’s been part of him and that he is?
There are no easy answers in Vale’s book. In this dynamic world that she’s created, wolves are secret, known only to the wolves and their shifter enemies, and they’ll do anything to protect themselves. This isn’t a lighthearted paranormal romance. It’s a darker romance that takes on the heavy work—what happens to someone who is forced to perform in order to protect, and how love—that beautiful, terrifying force—can change someone and make living a lie no longer possible.
I loved Elijah’s transformation throughout A Wolf Apart and how it was brought about by his relationship with Thea, even while I hoped for more of the romance between the two. The love between Elijah and Thea is critical to the plot even while at times the romance itself seemed underrepresented.
With A Wolf Apart, Maria Vale offers more proof that she’s a mesmerizing, thoughtful writer. Her characters are fully fleshed; you can tell that she knows every part of them and the world that they inhabit. This world that she’s beautifully and tenderly rendered is oftentimes grim, but it’s also one where loyalty, community, and above all, love are possible. They’re more than possible. They’re necessary, and they’re life-changing.
Pssst! If You Like This Book, Try: Nalini Singh's Psy-Changelings series.
**I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley, but all opinions provided are my own.
About the Author
When my toddler and infant sleep--or are otherwise engaged--I write, read, and eat lots of chocolate.