Tuesday, October 26, 2010
BOOK REVIEW: Luck of the Wolf by Susan Krinard
HQN Books November 2010
384 pages by Susan Krinard
BLURB ON BACK OF BOOK:
Branded an outcast by the noble branch of his werewolf clan, Cort Renier had come to San Francisco seeking fortune—and revenge. What he found was a mysterious beauty who could not—or would not—reveal who she truly was. At first glance she seemed vulnerable and afraid, like so many girls caught up in the debauchery of the city's whiskey-soaked gambling dens. But one look into her stunning turquoise eyes and he knew he'd found the winning hand.
Aria di Reinardus had reasons of her own for concealing her identity, but Cort's kisses were more than enough to convince her to go along with his plan to transform her into a missing heiress and return her to her "family." But they were not the only ones with secrets to keep and vengeance in mind, and they were about to discover that some destinies couldn't be outrun….
I have read a few Susan Krinard before, to me they have been hit and miss, I find her plotting way too dense and at times, hard to follow. And I pride myself on being able to follow even the most complicated plot. But this seemed to be many books/storylines all thrown haphazardly into a blender, it's a historical, its a paranormal, It's 'My Fair Lady', it's a suspense. You think that would be a good thing, but not really, all those great genres do not gel here to form a cohesive narrative.
One thing I did like about this book was the hero, Beauregard Cortland Renier, or Cort. For a werewolf he is gentlemanly and elegant and honorable. The book opens at a card game in 1882 San Francisco, the prize is a young, nubile virgin. Cort's sense of honor is outraged, and he wins the game. Little did he know that after cleaning off the white make-up, this young girl is actually a young woman, and one of his kind! And a young woman he is immediately attracted to.
Aria is the young woman in question. She feigns amnesia, as she feels she can trust no one. Aria is alone, as her protector Franz, who kept her isolated from society, is killed in New York. Remembering that she may have family in San Fransisco, Aria heads west, and that explains her drugged presence at the card game. Interesting premise that soon got bogged down by a lot of characters, conflicting plots, double crosses, and unsatisfying conclusions to certain plot threads.
Cort's roommate, a Russian called Yuri, seems to know a great deal about Aria, and begins to fill her in, turns out, she is from the same New Orleans family of werewolves as Cort is, the Renier's. But she and Cort are only related by the barest of threads. It seems, Aria is a touch feral, so an ex-madam is brought in to be Professor Higgins to Aria's Eliza Doolittle, to make her presentable to The New Orleans Renier's.
Cort is fascinating, a gentleman on the surface, he is a werewolf, but he finds changing barbaric and primitive, he does it as seldom as he can. But he can be fierce when he goes into protect mode. Aria on the other hand, loves to change, run wild. Interesting dynamic between the two. But not as fully explored as it could have been. I found Aria too pliant and naive.
The secondary characters are numerous, and all the double crossing makes them all unsavory and unlikable. And all the double crossing made me start to lose interest, my mind began to wander as I was reading.
Turns out Cort has a past humiliation at the hands of the main branch of the Renier's, and is out for revenge, he was not always a gentleman, seems he too, was made over. Presenting Aria as some long lost were-princess, will ensure his revenge.
I found this tough going, but, I finished the book. At 384 pages, it went on far too long. It all culminated with a showdown with a villainous Duke, and even more twists and turns, is Aria really the long lost princess? Bu the end of the book, I hardly cared.
This is one book in a continuing series, but it stands on its own. I would have to think long and hard before considering reading any more in this series.
RATING: 2 out of 4 for the book
KOVER KUDOS: Nice touch with the wolf, and the New Orleans back drop, and I am always a fan of male, muscular backs.
RATING: 3 out of 4 for the cover