Review: Prodigal Wolf — by LE Franks and Sara York

Prod_WolfOther Reviewers: Goodreads

For full disclosure this novel was given to me for review by the authors, LE Franks and Sara York.  However, my review is unbiased and based on my opinion only.

Basic Plot:

This book is divided into two parts:  Angelo and his struggle to get Carlo back into the pack as the new returning Alpha, and the second part Carlo’s beta’s search for lovin’ on the South Carolina Beach.  We are introduced to two humans, Kevin and Grady, friends who might be more, but first they have to realize that each one loves the other.  Are they ready to settle down and commit to love?

Background:

Before this book, I had no knowledge of either author, although I did have this book on my Amazon Recommend list, so maybe it was fate.  I was in the mood for some for wolfie lovin’, thus the excitement for this book was high!  Let’s take a look at what I thought.

Angelo:

On the surface, Angelo is what we could call the stereotypical Alpha werewolf.  He is our warrior leader:  tough, rough, and practical.  He altered his life for the better of the Pack and for Carlo, even if Carlo does not realize it.  We see this responsibility from the beginning of the novel:

It would be a relief to walk away from South Carolina and everyone he knew if it also meant leaving this mess behind.  The part of his mind hardwired to his inner wolf snarled at that thought.  He wasn’t fooling himself.  The pack would survive without him but he couldn’t slink away in the night without fixing the current situation.

I loved Angelo!  I love a character who fights to make things right and take the hard way, knowing that it is the best route, even if it is not the easiest route.

Carlo Montefiore:

Get ready, when you first meet this character, you’re going to think he is some sort of conceited punk.  But we come to understand that how his father died and how Angelo took over the pack deeply scarred young Carlo.  Now, he is becoming the man he should become.  The time we see him on his own is actually vital to his character development as we can see him journey back to being the Alpha of a pack he was born.  I loved the picture that Ted painted of Carlo:

He still wondered if one day he’d see Carlo standing on the front steps, his chin high, telling the world he didn’t give a damn, that he was gay and an Alpha.

Carlo has more depth than we think and I look forward to seeing him grow.

Strong Points:

I enjoyed the back story and the cultural descriptions that we get for this werewolf culture exists.  We get to learn about how the Montefiore family came over to America and how the family dealt with being werewolves.  I enjoyed the time the authors spent letting us get to know them.

The tradition of speaking Italian within the Montefiore family had been passed down to Carlo and Angelo, along with the other rights and responsibilities of being an Alpha.  The Elders objected to Angelo’s lack of Montefiore blood when Con began training Angelo as Alpha.  Eventually Carlo joined him in the lessons.  Con’s decision proved to be prophetic at his death. Without that foresight, the pack would have been in shambles.

This strength of creativity and complexity is the strength of the novel, the politics of the werewolf culture is what kept me interested.  However, in this case, the strength can also lead to the weakness.  The entire focus of this book (on the werewolf side) is how the conflicts and misunderstanding of that transition phase has colored both of their future vision.  When we got to see Carlo and Angelo together, it was magic and I wanted to find out what happens between them.

The authors spent time developing secondary characters Ted and Joey.  What we realize is that Ted and Joey are Carlo’s only true friends and they are the only ones he trusts.  Once we understand that, it makes the character development time with Ted and Joey more important.  While they were interesting, I really could not have cared less for their sex interest in the two humans.

What could be better?

I have two issues with this book and they connect.  The authors spent a great deal of time focusing on the human beach neighbors of Carlo: Kevin and Grady.  The only HEA we get is theirs and as far as I know they have no real connection to the two main characters.

To be perfectly honest, while Kevin and Grady’s story might be sweet, I had no urge to find their conclusion.  It seemed like the filler sex scenes because the authors knew they would not get to Carlo and Angelo’s love life.  Which I guess that would be fine, but I would have rather have had no sex and see more of Carlo and Angelo.  What I found interesting though is that I actually found Ted an incredibly interesting character.  I hope he gets his own book!

The other issue is rather a personal preference rather than any technical problem.  A few weeks ago I talked about a serial series by Kol Anderson.  The discussion there revolved around how serials are different in plot development, the focus is on the journey not the destination.  So in, Prodigal Wolf, what we have is Act 1 of the story and we will pick it up in book two.  I hope that we get to focus more on our Carlo and Angelo than any other side characters.

While this style is not my favorite, your mileage might vary.  In fact, if you like this series, you might like Poppy Dennison’s series, Triad.

Conclusions:

Overall, I enjoyed the novel.  While I gave the book a three star rating, most of that is because this was just the beginning of the story and I was not satisfied with the ending.  I would have rather just had the story of the werewolves and kept the main story going.  But, I did not write this book, did I?  So I will just trust that the authors have a plan and their pace is slower than my impatience.

I have a feeling, that as the book(s) continue and we see more of Angelo and Carlo together, I will improve the rating.  I think that, if you enjoy reading a story in a serial fashion, you will love this book.  We get a great beginning look into the culture and the ending sets us up for the next conflict.  I can’t wait for the next book!

Bea

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