To be honest, I didn't have high expectations for this book. One of the main reasons I bought it was because one of my favorite reviewers had read the latest one in the series and stated it basically rocked. Still leery I decided to check on it while I was in the book store. It was only 2 cents to buy, definitely worth the price to see if I liked it.
Even pressed for time I almost finished the whole book in one day. Spear writes a romance with characters I can connect with. Even if I didn't agree with the main character Bella running away and living in fear all the time, I enjoyed it. I understood why the characters did what they did and how certain characters actions affected them. The story is mainly told from Bella's point, but Devlyn also gets turns narrating. Which I loved the two are so witty—plus when you've got a character as hot as Devlyn you wanna get inside his head.
The plot was more complex then most PNR. Not only was Bella running from Volan, the evil Alpha who wants to posses her, but she gets herself caught and put in a zoo. Now not only does Volan know where she is, but the local red werewolf pack knows she exists. Females are hard to find, so everybody wants a little action from her. While balancing all of that out, there's a serial killer amongst the red pack. Really I thought Spear handled mixing all of those story lines together well. Nothing seemed to be rushed or push one thing off to the side.
At times I felt like there was just one to many romance scenes. Plus I didn't think the scenes where that great, I felt they could have been alluded to, or just skipped completely. However, the author sums it up in her own words:
"Pleasure before business."
Another thing I loved about this book was the sassy humor. Whether it was the pillow talk, or just any old conversation, I was cracking a smile quite frequently with this book. Spear has wit, I'll give her that. One of my favorite lines:
" . . . Devlyn mused that folks in Oregon couldn't ever tan-they just rusted."
Even though Bella isn't part of a pack for pretty much the majority of the book, Spear does an excellent job of showing us the world of her werewolves. It's easy to catch on to the pack politics. Females in the pack really don't get a say, the alpha gets first pick of the bitches. If the female likes, or even loves, another wolf it's not even taken into consideration. Even Devlyn has that mind set . At the first of the book he's ready to hull Bella back to Valon because that would be safer for Bella, because she clearly can't take care of herself. When Bella for the last 150 years has been able to take care of herself and evade Vallon. Yeah, the girl can not be left alone, clearly one slip up in 150 years proves she's one week and feeble female. Next thing you know she's going to be running around with scissors!! (Even if most of the time I wanted to scream about woman's rights and stuff, I got over it.)
Besides the sexism, there was one thing that really stopped me from enjoying the book. Bella ran away to protect the man she loved so that Valon wouldn't kill him with is apparent superior strength. Bella spends most of the the book thinking how week her ALPHA lover and how she needs to protect him. After Devlyn basically kills 4 competitors of the red clan, she still thinks he's weak and ponders running away to protect him. Sure there's being worried, then there's being stupid. They're freaking werewolves, she knows the dangers.
The cast of characters in HotW was really awesome. From Bella's one-woman-neighborhood-watch friend, Chrissie, who's shopping for husband number 2. To the “wolf” man who caught Bella and put her in the zoo—really he was awesome. Other wolves were fun to learn about, and what made them dominate or not. I'm hoping that Devlyn's cousins will be making some appearances in later books. Another character I really want to see from this book is the allusive Red rogue that helps out Bella and Devlyn. Bottom line:
HotW goes outside of the normal for PNR, it's refreshing seeing the long line of warrior-seeking-life mate series out there. Spear actually does a lot with plots outside the bedroom and pulls it off nicely. PNR fans are going to like the change, UF fans may find this one a little dull. In the end I could look past the sexism.(Really, I think these werewolves skipped the whole woman's rights part of history.) Looking forward to seeing some of the side cast in the next books, even if they can't be the main characters. Bella may not be warrior wolf, but she's still a fun and clever leading lady and I really loved her. Devlyn is a gentleman, who will leave the ladies swooning.
These are very tame sex scenes. (I didn't feel the sizzle.)