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Series: Celtic Wolves #2
Author: Jan DeLima
Published on: September 30, 2014
Genre: Fantasy, Werewolves
Format: 304 pages, ARC
Provided by: Publisher
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She won’t be ruled again…
Rosa Alban has been obedient her entire life. But when her alpha husband dies, she seizes the opportunity to flee the oppressive Guardians—the rulers of the secret shapeshifter world. Her flight instantly brands her as a pack traitor, and she has no choice but to seek protection from a neighboring tribe by marrying one of their sons.
Known as the Beast of Merin, Luc Black loyally plays the part of unwanted son and devoted brother. He realizes marrying Rosa will strengthen his tribe’s territory, but he has no intention of loving ever again. Still, he’s unprepared for the intense physical need the wild she-wolf awakens in him.
When the Guardians hone in on Rosa, Luc must fight to protect his new bride. And as war descends, the unlikely allies discover their destinies are irrevocably entwined…
The sequel in Jan DeLima’s CELTIC WOLVES series has been one of my most anticipated reads of 2014 because I really liked the groundwork she laid in book 1, and fully expected this second installment to make my werewolf top 10 list once again this year. It only took a couple of chapters for me to fall in love with this author’s rich mythology, gripping characters, and captivating storytelling all over again, and to realize that CELTIC MOON barely even scratched the surface of this writer’s vast fictional universe.
One of the things that I enjoyed the most about the first novel was that the protagonists were older, so I was pleased that DeLima continued along that same path in SUMMER MOON. Rosa and Richard have both previously been married, are several centuries old on account of their shifter blood, and that maturity really shined through in both their personalities and actions. Their previous relationships were vastly different with one not being able to escape hers soon enough, while as the other is still lamenting over his loss some seventy years later. I loved the way that the author demonstrated how their past loves shaped their futures because getting readers to sympathize with a character who can’t let go of his long deceased wife while being married to another is no easy task. I never resented Richard, and I think the inclusion of Koko’s journal entries and artwork played a large role in that.
Rosa’s courage, strong protective streak, and loyalty made her the ideal wolf queen. I liked that rather than being cowed by years of abuse and neglect, she instead bided her time, and waited for an opportune moment to strike. Once her inner alpha was unleashed there was no stopping her forward march to free her people, even if it meant tying herself to yet another man. However, from her perspective, marrying Luke was indeed better than being raped by eight Guardians because of the council’s horrendous idea to revive an archaic fertility ritual in order to keep their blood ‘pure.’ The CELTIC WOLVES world is definitely not a kind one, but I appreciated that the author took the time to show Rosa what true love is supposed to feel like. The sex scenes were few in number, yet the steam factor was through the roof. This story sucked me right in with its mesmerizing mix of ugly and beautiful.
I’m grateful that this installment came with a glossary of terms because between the Celtic vocabulary and Fantasy writing style, it’s obvious that DeLima’s first career was as a researcher / librarian. As much as I enjoy this author’s way with words, it’s also her downfall at times. Now, her world-building on the other hand is absolutely phenomenal! I enjoyed learning more about the Guardians, who were only mentioned in passing in CELTIC MOON, and the lore surrounding the Beddestyr (Walkers), Bleidd (shifters born wolf), and Hen Was (slaves) was downright fascinating. There’s even a bit of Fae mythology which I suspect will come into play later down the line on account of the ending. I’m hoping for Elen and Cormack’s story next, but really there are so many great secondary characters to choose from that I’m sure I’ll be happy no matter which couple shows up in book 3.
SUMMER MOON is proof that Jan DeLima’s writing debut was no fluke—there’s a new werewolf queen in town (and I don’t mean Rosa)!
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