There were a lot of reasons that I thought that I would love this series. There are strongly written heroines in each story, it has a variety of paranormal characters; werewolves, Fae, druids, and vampires are all featured in the stories. However, this wasn't a complete home run for me and I am chalking it up purely to a matter of my personal taste in the dynamics between heroines and their alphas. Rivers has developed an interesting world and the stories are well written and as a whole flowed fairly well and kept me as a reader following through each book relatively easily. Yet, I still wasn't able to love the alpha until the very last book in the set, Shadows of the Past.
The first book in this set is the prequel to In Too Deep. In New Beginnings we get to follow Jess's move to Edenton from San Francisco in order to escape her awful alpha, Gregory, and his self indulgent rule of her local pack. Jess is a werewolf with a difference, she also has psychic abilities that allow her to see snapshots of the future and they always happen. Jess walks into her new pack where there is already a volatile situation brewing between the alpha, Slater, his longtime friend and enforcer Liam, and Liam's jealousy of Brody, a newly made werewolf who has proven his strength and reliability to the pack. This story line makes for a good read except that I did not like Jess much at all. I like a strong and decisive female character, but the way that Jess is written seems to give her strength and the alphas made to seem weak. There's a difference between being assertive and aggressive and that's a distinction that I don't think was made for Jess's character. Maybe it's me and I just like my alpha characters to be stronger, less apologetic, and yes, maybe even have a little bit of arrogance to them. Slater has absolutely none of these characteristics. He capitulates way too much to Jess and what she deems appropriate. What Jess wants she must have even if it is not in her best interest. Jess holds the power in their relationship as it should be, but her overt aggressiveness just doesn't sit well with me and it definitely tainted my view of the story. The San Francisco alpha Gregory has got to be the most annoying and ridiculous alpha that I have ever read and wins the wuss of the paranormal world award for sure.
In In Too Deep we get the story of Brody and Fallon and true to form Rivers gives Fallon an over the top "I can take care of myself" personality. Why oh why can I not like these strong female characters that are being written? Why do they have to be strong at the expense of their alpha counter parts? I love the idea of Fallon being a Harley riding, druid tattoo artist, but does she have to be annoying too? I liked Brody and I loved the fact that he truly loved and mourned the wife that he lost, but again, the chemistry between me and the characters was not there and although the story is basically good there were some oddities that I did't quite get. Dacia seems like she will be an interesting addition, but some of the dialogue between her and Fallon is just odd. I understand opening up and being comfortable with someone, but jeez. Another irritant is that everyone had the need to say over and over again how hot and desirable Fallon is, I got it, and heaven knows she got it. I was irritated with the fact that Fallon held on to Isaac so fiercely and for so long despite what her best friend Jessie who is psychic told her. Sometimes stubborn and determined just shows up as stupid.
Shadows Fall is a very short prequel into Shadows of the Past and introduces us to Amethyst who is a water nymph moving to Edenton in order to get away from an overly enthusiastic Carl who wants nothing more in life than to possess her.
FINALLY! I enjoyed Shadows of the Past the most and again, this may speak mostly to my preference in characters. Hayden is a stronger alpha with a more overt sense of protectiveness when it comes to the women in his life. I like that he's unapologetic in his role as protector and leader. Amethyst is reeling from the suicide of Carl and her role in it and when the past impacts her in a dramatic way Hayden does not hesitate to do what needs to be done. And Preston! Oh, someone please come along to love and cherish this man! If you had asked me before this book if I would keep reading this series I would have said no, but if Preston gets his own book I may have to pick it up! I just hope his HEA doesn't involve an aggressive, smart mouthed woman looking to run all over him to get her way...
I will admit it took me longer than normal for me to get through this set and I had to prod myself to keep going, but I am glad that I did in the end. It's good to get different perspectives on how a strong female character is portrayed even if it's not one that follows exactly what you are normally attracted to.
*I received a copy of this set through the LoP group on Goodreads in exchange for an honest review*
Box Set of the first four titles. Come get lost in Edenton
- New Beginnings -
Jess was tired of being under appreciated in her old pack. She took a chance and moved to Edenton. Slater is her new Alpha. He can't seem to stay away. Neither were looking for someone, but they both found what they needed in each other. There's just one problem. Someone wants control of the pack and he'll stop at nothing to get it. Sassy psychic werewolf, hot Alpha, crazy second
- In Too Deep -
Fallon is a brilliant tattoo artist with inherent magic. Tired of men and their games, she climbs onto her Harley and leaves her old life behind. Brody is a talented motorcycle mechanic and werewolf stuck in his painful past. It’s just another depressing night until he’s attacked by vampires. Thinking he killed them, he runs into the night and crashes into Fallon. Sparks fly.
- Shadows Fall -
Amethyst Lakes is a nymph with a problem. She left her ex-boyfriend when he started to smother her. Nothing she says seems to keep him away. Carl needs Amethyst more than he needs to breathe, but she just doesn’t get it. He’ll stop at nothing to make her stay. An old friend and teenage crush will keep her safe until Amethyst can decide how to deal with Carl once and for all.
- Shadows of the Past -
Amethyst is a nymph with regrets. She moves to Edenton to start over. Hayden is a suspicious Sheriff who hasn't been interested in women in ages. That all changes when one of his officers drags Amethyst into his life. An old Fae nightmare is after Amethyst, he needs her to take his old form. Hayden will stop at nothing to protect Amethyst, but she may be the only one who can stop the Shadow.