Abandoned Darkness by Kate Wendley
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Abandoned Darkness is the second book in the series and it is recommended to read the books in order. That being said, I did read this as a standalone. After a couple of chapters, I quickly caught up to the world, characters and the paranormal mythos. This book did start out very slow for me. The first third of the book moved at a snail's pace. Sebastian is the much trampled upon werewolf. Young, strong and gifted with the ability to read minds, he is the outcast from his pack. Ironically he is also the alpha because he physically beat the original alpha who treated him poorly. For Sebastian, this is a journey towards acceptance.
For me, this is a character driving story. I really enjoyed it starting about half way through the book. All the characters are set up and none of them are looking that good. Between the vampires and shifters, there isn't a single one in here who is perfect. Every character, even the secondary ones have their personal traumas. The interesting one for me is the secondary character, Torin. This guy is an asshat who was a terrible leader. He is a queen bee of the mean girls. In this case, the mean werewolves. Forced into seeing some hard facts and dispelling of his own made up stories, Torin realizes he made a grave mistake. In fact, he made serious mistakes and realizes that the power and title of an alpha was completely abused by him. He didn't do what a good alpha should do. With this realization, Torin tries to fix it but it may be too late.
I really felt bad for Sebastian. What he suffered at the hands of Torrin, his pack and his family is abhorrent. The dichotomy of his lack of caring for the pack to his actions in keeping the pack safe is well written. It also undercuts to Torin just how badly he has bungled things up. This tension filled relationship fraught with conflict between two stubborn males is what made the book good for me. The additional elements with Anthony, the master vampire are a nice touch. It adds another layer to Sebastian's complexity. What detracted for me was Sebastian's girlfriend, Jade. I could have done without her. Her incessant inner whining monologue and "I'm not worthy" became old quite quick. It isn't that I need a strong kick butt female to partner with Sebastian. It is more I wish the girlfriend talked less in her head and showed more. I understand being weak and fearful. If Ms. Wendley showed Jade's insecurities through actions and dialogue that would have helped.
There are a couple of threads left at the end of this book left hanging. These seem to be a nice set up for the next book in this series. It does lure a reader into reading the next book. This slow to start tale morphs into a nicely action packed story with multiple events going on in parallel. The character development is nicely done and the paranormal world is familiar.
* Review copy provided via Reading Alley in exchange for an honest review.