Feral by Joely Skye

 Feral by Joely Skye

Blurb:

Even among shifters, Ethan is a rare breed. So rare, he’s spent the last eight years in hiding from the werewolves who once captured and tortured him. Now a tranq dart has cut short his feral existence. Waking in human form in a locked room is more than a living nightmare … it’s reliving his worst one.

Yet in the troubled eyes of one of his captors, he senses a weak link. One he can use to escape ~ by seducing his jailer.

Bram’s life as pack omega isn’t easy. As long as he obeys his alpha he is protected. However, there are some things he just can’t bring himself to do. Keeping a precious cougar shifter prisoner is one of them, especially one who has somehow managed to capture his heart.

Setting Ethan free could be a death sentence for both of them, for Bram’s pack doesn’t take betrayal lightly. And the alpha is set on revenge.


Review:

Having read several of the author’s books, I can say Feral is one of the better offerings. The engaging and sympathetic characters are the focus while the action taking place is a distant second to the growing relationship and emotional connection. This is definitely a character driven story and allows easy resolution to the various problems that come up, keeping the focus on Ethan and Bram. The writing is thankfully concise without much exaggeration or embellishment keeping the drama and angst to a very relatable and believable level, even considering the paranormal setting.

The plot is interesting in that the capture and eventual escape of Ethan takes the first third of the book, even though the escape is actually simple and very easy. The story focuses on Bram and Ethan’s connection and interaction, creating a strong dynamic between the men which survives their time apart after Ethan’s escape with Bram’s help. The next part of the story focuses on Ethan’s new life and finding Bram then as the two adjusts to each other, while worrying about outside forces. The actual time Bram and Ethan are together is very minimal – one week while Ethan is captive and one week when Ethan finds Bram after being apart for several months. Yet the story focuses on those short times making them seem longer than they actually are.

Ethan is an appealing character with his yearning for companionship yet knowledge of betrayal every time he gives in. Ethan’s mind refers to himself in two unique and distinct parts talking about “his human self” and “his cat”. It’s not until the second half of the book when Ethan is readjusting to being a human again that he blends to two parts of himself and simply is Ethan again. Ethan struggles not only with awkward interaction with other people but also with the knowledge he has very few skills and is illiterate. Combined with eight years living as a cougar, Ethan has some adjustment issues. He attaches to Bram perhaps as the first kind human and perhaps due to the common ground of feeling lost and betrayed.

Bram is a similar figure with his struggles within his pack and need for companionship. Bram is the pack omega, which in this particular world is an appointed position of weakness rather than an inherent personality type. Bram has a lot of anger that he suppresses and accepts abuse and negligence as his due. Bram’s actions in helping Ethan escape are a rare show of strength from the usually obedient man, even knowing it means he must live without the pack he needs and wants no matter how badly he is treated. Bram’s slow acceptance of Ethan once they are reunited is lovely as any fans of angst driven characters will sympathize with Bram’s internal conflicts.

Their relationship is an interesting one without either man really emerging as dominant. Both men have fears, problems, unexpected strengths and weaknesses. Each had subtly and complexity to their characters which kept either man from becoming a stereotype or typical. Their connection was sweet, slightly dramatic and angst filled but never too outrageous or over the top. The action scenes were thrown in to keep the conflict from being solely between the men but each external problem was handled very simply from the escape to Ethan’s new life and even the end resolution was over in a blink.

There are some secondary characters, some that appear from other books in this same world and some that are supposed to be a main influence, such as Trey and Doug. However, no character eclipses Bram and Ethan and the other characters are not given any weight except to progress the external drama. Due to the ease and simplicity of the conflict, this story could have been better by focusing on what the author really wanted – the main characters and their relationship.  The writing was tight and although the pace was not even with several jarring moments (such as the first penetration scene which came out of nowhere); the book was an easy and quick read. Not the best book ever but certainly not the worst.

 Get it HERE!

 


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5 thoughts on “Feral by Joely Skye

  1. Thank you for the review! I’ve got a much better idea of what this is about now. The “omega” as an appointed position sounds like an unusual idea, and I can imagine it would bring up a lot of issues. The conflict sounds intense as well — them having to escape with the entire pack after them for the omega guy’s betrayal. I might have to get this! Thanks, Kassa.

    • Hey Val, it was a decent book so that’s good. However, I dont want to give the wrong opinion. The conflict with the pack is really weak and almost non-existent. I dont want to give too much away except to say there just isn’t conflict about that almost at all. A quick scene at the end really easily resolved.
      95% is about the two men and their dance around each other… so if you like character driven stories, this might do it. I love some good angsty men.

      • Hi, Kassa, uh, oh, I might have jumped to the conclusion of what I hoped to read, ha, ha! Thanks for clarifying it. The book might in fact be a bit of a bummer for me in that I’d rather see them running and fighting than crying and casting doe-eyed glances at each other. Blame it on my formative years reading epic fantasy and mysteries. However, I think I’ll try it anyway, but I’ll keep an open mind and take it on its own terms. I’ll let you know how it goes (though it might be awhile — I’m starting to build up a bit of a backlog). Thanks again!

        • Hehe, sorry to burst your bubble! I just wanted to clarify or you might have been disappointed. I enjoy angsty men (le sigh) and tend to gravitate towards character stories in this genre because action stories are rarely well done. Generalization but usually there are just way too many simple solutions offered in that “duh” moment.
          In other genres of fiction I *love* epic action scenes. I’ve read LoTR too many times to count and sci-fi/fantasy has broken more than one bookshelf with so many. For some reason romance just doesn’t pull it off as well. Not sure why..

          • You said: “For some reason romance just doesn’t pull it off as well. Not sure why.. ”
            Gosh, there’s an interesting question for either one of us or both to write up on our blogs. I wouldn’t want to accidentally be insulting to the writers in our genre but it’s true that they’re often a bit lacking on the action scenes.
            Sometimes, it’s a fight scene and I can clearly see that the author, usually a gal I hate to say, has written it in such a way that I can tell she’s never been in a fistfight in her life. Or watched boxing on tv or got her friends to re-enact a fight for her in slow motion.
            And then you get your epic action scenes, like you’re mentioning — cavalry charges and seiges and stuff. Good thing they aren’t called for all that often in our m/m genre because they’d be really hard to re-enact and figure out!

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