My Rating: 3 stars: Liked it, but I had some issues - recommend (B)
Originally posted at That's What I'm Talking About
I received an e-ARC from the publisher for review
Nexi has lived her whole life unaware of the supernatural that surrounds her, that is until the day a rogue werewolf attacked and killed her adoptive parents in front of her. Nexi is rescued by half-naked warriors dressed in leather kilts (Guardians) who whisk her off to the Otherworld. It is there that she discovers her birth father is a Guardian and her birth mother was a witch. It was after her mother’s brutal death by a sadistic vampire that Nexi’s father placed her in hiding on Earth.
After a period of mourning, Nexi begins her journey of self-discovery. To help guide her are a handful of friends such as her “witch soul sister” BFF Haven, her birth father Drake, and a hunky Guardian, Kyden, who, we learn thanks to multiple POVs, has a major thing for Nexi. On a path to become a Guardian, Nexi’s sole motivation is revenge against the werewolf who killed her adoptive parents.
Werewolves Be Damned is an exciting new urban fantasy romance set in a unique world. Ms. Kennedy has created a distinctive new mythology, borrowing bits and pieces from traditional settings. There is a lot to digest (I had to take notes), but since Nexi is a new-comer to the Otherworld, we are given the chance to learn many of the details through her experiences. While most of the time the learning curve is smooth, at times I found myself a little confused and had to re-read small sections. In addition, the sheer volume of information eventually became overwhelming, and after a while I felt burned out.
Critical to the enjoyment of this novel is the understanding that supernaturals (witches, werewolves and vampires) all reside in a parallel realm known as the Otherworld. There is a primary ruling council, and in order to protect their secret way of life, there is a Guard. The Guard is comprised of a warrior paranormal race known as Guardians, who have increased strength and fighting abilities.
The story follows Nexi’s journey of self-discovery. She’s been thrust into a new life she didn’t even know existed, and she’s learning how to fit in. Her new role as a Guardian sends her off following clues of mysterious mortal deaths caused by rogue supernaturals which may be linked to her parents’ murders. The book reads like a mystery, with Nexi learning the rules on the job. The details spent into describing their investigation procedures is extremely interesting. There is quite an elaborate set up that begs you suspend reality for complete enjoyment.
Nexi starts out fairly immature, and I had to cringe a few times when she’d make silly mistakes or rookie errors. Her lust for Kyden also tends to preoccupy her brain during extremely inappropriate times. I also felt that she was a little too insecure, especially in her feelings/relationship with Kyden; however, that may be a reflection on the fact that with Kyden’s POV, I know she has nothing to worry about.
With that said, I enjoyed Nexi and Kyden together, both as friends and later as a couple. Even though I wanted to kick Kyden a few times for his caveman behavior, he genuinely cares about Nexi, which makes him all the more sexy. Near the climax of the book, they have some extremely touching moments that cemented their romance in my heart and mind.
The biggest issue I had with Werewolves Be Damned is that although there are some very dark moments, the whole mythology is very light and easy, and this juxtaposition bothered me. For example, Nexi had minimal training, including none with a sword, yet once she puts on her Xena uniform and handed a weapon, she can fight and move with natural grace. I can go with it because it’s fun and light and consistent with the story thus far. However, when the story attempts to turn somber and create moments that weigh heavy on your heart long after the title is over, I couldn’t connect with the gravity and magnitude of the situation. I wanted to care more about what was happening to Nexi, but I found that I wasn’t able.
The climatic scene is tense and exciting, bringing forth new information about Nexi and her heritage. I enjoyed the battle and its outcome. Not to mention I’m curiously interested as to where this series is headed. Nexi still has a lot to learn about her self, and I bet it will be interesting and action-packed.
Overall, I felt Werewolves Be Damned was entertaining and interesting, and I enjoyed the new mythology. I think I will like Nexi more and more as she develops and matures. While I enjoyed the themes and world-building, I felt it wasn't developed with enough seriousness to balance the intense, darker moments. However, I am curious to know what will happen next with Nexi and her companions.