Rogue Wolf by Violet Hilton
Captain Trent Rolston knows his space pirate crew isn’t the biggest or the best, but that doesn’t keep him from diligently finding new targets to pillage. He also has a more personal mission: to discover what’s been haunting his mechanic, Vince, and convince him they could be more than friends.
But Vince is harboring deep secrets. He’s living his life on the run as a human, hiding his alien heritage, hunted by his own tribe for daring to love an enemy. Despite his fidelity to his deceased partner, Vince realizes he’s still affected by the mating cycle, and the drive to claim Trent is too powerful to avoid for long… and Trent isn’t helping, despite the danger as Vince’s tribe tracks him down and marks the lovers for death.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
[No problem with the cover. It’s sci-fi so that works. What’s weird is that one of the characters, the dark haired one, is described as tan so much I think he was hispanic. So why is he so pale on the cover? I think thats a big misstep to get the skin color wrong of one of your characters on the cover.]
Rogue Wolf is a pretty bland and predictable sci-fi offering. There are no book throwing moments or fatal flaws but the classic plot is one often used and nothing especially original about it. The writing tends to be ok but for a short novella, I found my attention wandering frequently and couldn’t connect with any of the characters. The world building is sparse and incomplete with some plot holes and predictable resolutions so this may not appeal to all readers. It’s not horrible and if you’re looking for a middle of the road sci-fi offering, this could potentially appeal.
Trent and Vince are the main couple and work together on Trent’s space cruiser as pirates. Vince is a type of werewolf, a species that can appear human or wolf. Supposedly they are more at home with their animal side as the human shifting is more of a disguise. The plot revolves around the classic exiled leader’s son, Vince, who was thrown out of the family and clan for being gay, yet must return to face their condemnation to move forward. As this theme moves forward some pretty big holes start to appear. First Vince is exposed to his clan as gay, branded as a traitor, and exiled. Yet years later for no apparently reason his abusive father decides that Vince has to die and sets about hunting him vigorously.
This point made little sense since his father could have killed him when he had the chance instead of branding and exiling. So why would there be some sudden big push to hunt/kill Vince now years later? The further move for Vince to return home and face his father also didn’t make much sense either. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but the ending is as predictable as it is silly. Additionally why the werewolf clans are homophobic is never really explained. I guess it’s assumed that wolves wouldn’t accept gay wolves among them but it is never explained. So there are a lot of unanswered questions regarding the world building and plot that leave the driving force of the story weak.
The characters also supposedly have this deep, intense passion and electric chemistry. That unfortunately never quite came across the page as Trent seems to be more curious about Vince and willing to take easy, convenient sex between friends while Vince is still mourning his dead life mate. Their chemistry feels forced many times or the product of too much alcohol. Vince especially spends most of the story ruminating in his head about his past, his failure, his dead lover, and his sudden insistence on keeping his new “family” safe. He says over and over how important family is – never mind his own family exiled him and never really liked him to begin with – but yet this sense of family isn’t there at the beginning of the novel. It’s only after they are attacked for the second or third time that Vince suddenly decides he must protect his fellow crew mates.
While the plot and main characters are not perfect, the writing is ok and lacks any outrageously bad book throwing moments. The dialogue at times is pretty humorous and the secondary female characters are a great touch. They remind of me a more upbeat and perky Spock. Any scenes they are in elevate the book and inject a fresh feeling to the story and writing. There are a couple sex scenes between Vince and Trent, but not too many and thankfully no wolf/human sex. It’s all Vince in human form so no worries on that score. There is some internal whining on Vince’s part with quite a bit of emotional flip flopping which left him as a less appealing character. Overall there is nothing horribly wrong with the book but neither is that good. It’s a decent sci-fi offering with some plot holes and a pairing that is not as intense as meant to be, but if you think this sounds like something you’d enjoy give it a try. Reader preference varies.
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