Thursday, 30 November 2017

Mated to the Werewolf King

As war looms between the two species, the Demon Lord is determined to find Annabelle – little does she know, the truth behind his sinister actions is about to unravel. When Annabelle discovers that she is not the true daughter of the Alpha in her pack, her world, as she knows it, comes crashing down and she finds herself running to hide from the tyrannical Demon Lord who is hell-bent on finding her.

Despite her objections, she is taken to the court of the Werewolf King. He’s arrogant, stubborn and discerning of her very being, but willing to defend her… for now.

Will the Werewolf King yield to the Demon Lord’s ultimatum and give her to the enemy or will she be the cause of a looming war between the two species? More importantly, what does the Demon Lord want with Belle? She’s only a werewolf… isn’t she? 

Disclaimer; I was provided with a free copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

DNF 70%

I try to be positive with book reviews, and that goes double for first in a series and/or indie published books, but I just couldn't find much to like here. The blurb above had potential but there wasn't as much inter-species politics and worldbuilding as I'd hoped. The supposed looming war is barely mentioned and there's no real sense of scale outside Belle and whoever is trying to sleep with her in that partiular chapter. I was hoping for armies and scheming and twisted history, but unfortunately there wasn't much to be found outside the so-called love story. Well, unless your a fan of misogyny, toxic masulinity and hugely unlikable "heroines".

The writing style wasn't my cup of tea. Characters literally announced how they felt and a lot of plot elements were thrown in as the story required them rather than being woven through the story to establish the world. This book was very much a character and relationship-driven story, and unfortunately is where it fell apart in a major way for me.

Protagonist Belle is a brat, an idiot and a misogynist. She stomps her feet, sulks and frequently refers to other (pretty and blonde - of course!) female characters as bitches for no other reason than the fact they've slept with the guy she has the hots for. That's pretty much the extent of their characteristation, but what more reason do we need to hate each other, amiright ladies? She had zero autonomy in what was supposedly her own story, however her internal monologue had her seemingly believing she was a genuine, no-nonsense badass. If this was intentional, it could have been downright brilliant, but I suspect it wasn't. Belle is certainly written like whiny teenager, but I don't know if that was intentional or not, because werewolf king Keith is written in much the same way.

Keith (yes, that's right. The big sexy of this novel is called Keith) is a possessive, aggressive asshole who treats Belle like property and/or baggage. He stomps around declaring Belle "mine, mine, mine" like a petulant toddler who's had his favourite toy taken away, shags around behind her back (but it's okay though, because he was thinking of her the whole time!) and abuses and assaults her on the regular. At one point, he forcibly kisses her against her will, then throws her against a wall and blames her for his inability to control himself. And it's passed of as being romantic.

Seriously, HOW CAN THAT BE PUBLISHED IN 2017!? Perhaps it's just bad timing, but given the current climate and discussions around consent and women's rights, this book is downright nauseating. Add in the fact that several Big Bads all want Belle as their mate because she's so super-special, and you've got a recipe for pure rage fuel. The idea that Keith has to "mark" Belle as his before anyone can claim her, at which point all the other guys will lose interest in her, is so disgusting that it makes reading the book about as erotic as being rubbed down with a raw chicken. Their relationship, such as it is, is a mess of toxic masculinity and horrendously outdated romance tropes. The hate-love relationship switched in literally one scene which robbed the story of any anticipation and blew any attempts at making it anything more than story-ordained instalove. Some of my personal highlights of their relationships came in the following quotes;

"You do not touch anybody but me, and nobody touches you." Keith to Belle.
"Why didn't he want me?" Belle, in the middle of a life-threatening trial to discover who or what she really is, when Keith says he wants to get rid of their mate-pull
"Mine," he growled. "You are mine." Keith, channelling hs inner Christian Grey
"I will kill them all. She is mine. Only mine." Keith, on any guy who tries to get close to his property his mate.

I personally found all this revolting and outside it there's not a lot else going on in the book. I should have known what I was letting myself in for with that title. If you're looking for a straight up romance book with a bit of a paranormal twist, you may love it, but my expectations were the other way around, which meant I was often reading bored or angry. Your mileage may vary.

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