Friday, March 10, 2017

Loveblood by MJ O'Shea Review

Max Appleton and his mother Celia are are on the run, hiding from an abusive father and husband who’s also a notoriously bad pack leader. When Max hit puberty and it became obvious he’d never make an alpha wolf, his father turned the brunt of his anger toward his inferior son and his beta wolf wife for producing him. Max and Celia find sanctuary in a garden cottage at Holly Court, the sprawling estate where Celia's oldest friend lives with her pack alpha husband, three daughters, and teenaged son Jonah.

Jonah Spellman has what seems like the perfect life. His family is close, his dad is respected by their whole pack, and he's been groomed to take over for as long as he can remember. Everything is set, his whole life planned, and Jonah works hard to be exactly what everyone expects. He's under enough pressure without a runaway from a bad pack complicating his life.

When two teenaged werewolves from very different worlds meet one snowy January day, both of their worlds get turned inside out. From the moment they meet, nothing will be the same for Jonah or Max ever again.

My Review:
3.5 stars

I had conflicting feelings regarding this book. On the one hand, the plot was unique and different from most werewolf stories, which I loved. And it answered a question that I’ve wished an author would write about: What would you do if your fated mate was already mated to someone else when you met them? On the other, there were several things that annoyed me in the book.

This is the case here with Jonah. His life is planned out for him, including an arranged mating to another wolf. Jonah is going about his life as planned until meeting Max changes everything. I liked that this book turned the trope of fated mates on its head. While both Jonah and Max realized that they had a connection right away, they weren’t able to act on it due to an arranged mate. Que all the teenage angst. There was a lot of character exploration and emotions flying around. I really liked how the author explored the different struggles that Jonah and Max faced as well as exploring the results and aftermath of the decisions they made. I also liked several of the secondary characters such as Max’s mom, Celia. She was amazing and I would have loved to see more of her. However, I did not like Jonah’s parents for most of the book, and I mostly just tolerated them at the end. Zoe was also really annoying, which kind of irritated me because it felt a bit like the evil female trying to break up a gay couple that I’ve seen a lot in books. Though by the end of the book, I did have a slightly better opinion about her.

And while I did like the in-depth character study, especially as it was about a topic that I’ve wanted to see written many times, it could have been cut back a bit as it became a bit repetitive at times.

Another issue I had with the story is that I thought the whole soulbonding reveal took way too long. Max and Celia knew for most of the book, but Jonah and his parents didn’t until most of the way through? A little hard to believe, especially considering that Jonah and his parents are all alphas and are supposed to be role models for the pack. If anyone would recognize this, it should have been them. Plus, after everything that Max and Jonah were going through, they should have figured it out sooner.

My other big issue was how the story ended. The ending was abrupt and a bit anti-climatic. The story seemed to just be quickly wrapped up without really touching on the aftermath of what happened at the end. I found this weird because throughout the book, a large part of the story at times was spent dealing with the aftermath of different actions and decisions, which I’d liked. So I found it really weird that a rather huge event like this went down and then was barely dealt with before the book ended. I don’t know if this is supposed to be a set up for a sequel or not, but I did not like how the book ended.

Overall, this is a great idea, and one that I’ve wanted someone to write about for a long time now. Also, though I’m not usually a YA fan, I greatly enjoyed the characters and the overall story here, even if the execution wasn’t as great. I would love to see more of this world and these characters, either set right after the end of Loveblood or set several years in the future, maybe when Jonah takes over. Either way, I recommend giving Loveblood a shot if you are looking for a shifter story with a different twist.

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