The more I read Merrow’s work the more I quite like her voice. Her latest, Camwolf, is an entertaining and enjoyable werewolf romance. The story takes a chance with a prominent female narrator but for the most part this works very well. The typical werewolf fight for dominance and animalistic behavior is handled well, contrasted beautifully against a mild mannered college of intelligent but reserved occupants. Some of this shift feels jarring and never quite hits an easy pace but the writing and deft characterization help overcome any qualms. I think most readers will find the story engaging and enjoyable to read.
The story revolves around two werewolves, Nick and Julian. The narrator alternates third person perspective between Nick and Tiffany, Julian’s best friend. Julian is a first year student at the college where Nick is a fellow. Nick has a crush on Julian but doesn’t think the younger man would give him a chance. When they discover their shared secret, Nick and Julian waste no time getting together. However Julian’s painful past comes rearing back with a vengeance forcing Nick to confront his animal instincts.
The plot is well written and moves at a good pace. The basic themes are familiar as are the various elements, but the style of writing and voice elevate the story making it feel fresh and interesting. The prose can be wordy sometimes, loquacious, and keeps the story from a quick pace. It moves well from scene to scene but the writing has a British flair to the style, fitting well with the setting. It’s definitely engaging and keeps your attention from start to finish but it’s not a book where you race to the end. Instead you almost want to savor it. The college setting and various characters are well crafted with great subtly. The near uptight manner of the college is offset with quiet humor, sly glances, and witty dialogue.
This is especially evident with Tiffany, Julian’s best friend and prominent narrator in the story. She’s sympathetic, interesting, and likable as a friend that’s invested in Julian without being overbearing. She’s a good contrast to the violence and emotional whirlwind that Nick presents. Nick is an interesting character but I couldn’t quite feel comfortable with him. He initially comes across as mild manner and quiet, just a nice guy. Yet this contrasts with the near violent possessiveness he feels towards Julian and the very real animalistic urges Nick experiences through his wolf side. Nick is often domineering and quite frankly, sometimes a real ass. He remains interesting and likable through it all, just the back and forth kept me on edge and couldn’t quite settle into his character.
Likewise Julian is a complete enigma. He’s only seen through the eyes of those that love him – Tiffany and Nick – and the reader never gets more insight into his personality and thought process. His choices and desires are suspect, especially given his abusive past, but the reader has to trust that what Nick thinks is true actually is true. This is frustrating sometimes since Julian is intriguing and seems to have a lot of hidden depth. The lack of his perspective and POV is a startling and rather obvious omission. The story overcomes this anyway but the character definitely suffers from that choice. Julian is a lovely young man but he’s more of a plot piece everyone revolves around than a fully realized character you can connect to.
Fans of werewolf books should definitely enjoy this and I think the story will appeal to even non paranormal readers. The werewolf themes are used very well without overwhelming the story. The main couple is romantic while the sex scenes contain some very nice variety and stay fun and interesting. This is an easy book to read in one sitting and probably one I’d read again. Camwolf stands above most of the werewolf stories in the genre and is easy to recommend.