Monday, March 18, 2013

Pride's Run (Cat Kalen)

Pride's Run
(The Wolf's Pride series, Book 1)
Cat Kalen
Cat Kalen, publisher
Fiction, YA Fantasy
***+ (Okay/Good)

DESCRIPTION: Born a runt, Pride was the sole survivor of her litter, too stubborn and scrappy to give in... traits that make her one of the top trackers for her master. A werewolf enslaved by a Californian drug lord, Pride learned early on to trust nobody but family, and count on nothing but her own wits and grit to keep her alive. While the other wolves around her are broken and, eventually, killed, she holds onto a fierce independence, determined to escape someday - though even freedom would likely mean death at the hands of paranormal agents trained to detect and exterminate her kind. The one thing she could count on, though, was that at least she'd never be bred: no pack would perpetuate a genetic mistake like a runt, and no master would be fool enough to want pups from her.
At least, that is what she hoped.
When she learns she is to be given to an alpha named Stone, a former playmate turned cruel bully after he was broken by the master, Pride determines to flee. She'd rather die than bring more pups into a life of slavery. When the master sends her on a mission six days before the full moon - when her wolf is at its strongest and least tractable, and when she's due to be sent to Stone's cell - she gets her chance at freedom. But Pride knows little about the ways of the wild, and less about her unexpected companion, an escaped alpha male named Logan. Who can she trust? Where can she turn? And can she ever live up to her vow to free her packmates from the master?

REVIEW: This starts on a promising note, establishing a world of werewolves torn between their gentler pack instincts and their primal bloodlust. As a reader, I could sympathize with their plight, even as I understood why humans consider them a threat worthy of being hunted: a werewolf's craving for human blood cannot always be restrained, as their wolf-selves grow stronger with the call of the moon. Pride starts off as a bright, if emotionally and physically abused, heroine, clinging to her independence in the face of overwhelming odds. Unfortunately, at some point, she passes from being bright to being obtuse; other characters even remark that she's too smart to be so dumb about some things. Despite being a runt, pretty much every male who sets eyes on Pride instantly desires her... and here, the story really derails, as Pride proves impossibly dim-witted about alphas lusting over her. Even Logan decides she's an ideal mate on first sight: he has to earn her trust, but not once does Pride have to do the same, from Logan or Stone or anyone. Who is she, to command such loyalty? And how did she reach the age of seventeen without figuring out that she, evidently, is the center of the werewolf universe?
The writing itself is good - far better than many self-published titles I've downloaded - and it kept me reading. In the end, though, too much of the story focuses not on escaping danger or avenging years of slavery but the long, tedious seduction of an oblivious she-wolf.

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