Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Lone by Rowan McBride

AUTHOR: Rowan McBride
PUBLISHER: Amber Quill (Allure)
LENGTH: Novel (roughly 57k)
GENRE: Gay paranormal erotic romance
COST: $7.00

A trip to DC to speak at Georgetown for Seth Anderson is meant to be a little vacation as well with his lover of three months, Rafe Dirisio. But a random stop at a pool hall for a game ends in a bloodbath that leaves Seth standing and everyone else bloodied or dead around him. Rafe has questions, but when he learns the answers are more supernatural than he first expected, he needs to figure out how to deal with Seth’s other nature, and whether or not it’s worth it…

Rowan McBride writes damaged heroes like nobody else. There is always something unique about them, something so utterly broken that it seems impossible for them to be fixed, and yet, almost always, he finds a way. The case is the same in this, too. Seth has lived his entire life as an omega wolf, but even more, he’s an abomination that is usually put down at birth. He spent his childhood in the system and then tried to get a life for himself, but hunters always manage to track him down, and he always manages to destroy them before escaping. He manages to eke out a life for himself by getting his degrees via correspondence, and moving around a lot. His most recent move settled him in Brier, Iowa, at a small college and with a man who took him in almost from the start.

Seth is not a large man, only 5’5”, with the appearance of someone much younger than his thirty-two years, while his lover Rafe is 6’6” and as imposing as it gets. Rafe has always assumed he’s the one with all the physical strength in this relationship, a misbelief Seth is more than willing to foster, so when he learns the truth about just how powerful Seth is – and has to experience it for himself – it’s as much of a shock as learning about werewolves and the supernatural. His diligence as he struggles to come to grips with it riveted me to the page, and all my favorite parts of the book are most likely due to him. He is the one to show emotional vulnerability first. He is the one who keeps repeatedly making all the efforts. I liked Seth, but not to the same degree as Rafe, mostly because except for defending Rafe, Seth ends up coming across as rather passive. That’s a result of who and what he is, and is certainly understandable and explained well throughout the story, but that’s not the kind of character I always respond strongest to. It’s far easier to get involved with Rafe because of his attempts to actually do something, even – or especially – when they fail. Seth’s regression after his true nature is exposed is heartbreaking to read, but it wears thin even while I understand why it’s happening. If he’d only been a little more active a little bit sooner, it might not have been that way.

The sex is erotic and often lyrical, and the emotional moments heartfelt, but my absolute favorite part of the book – hands down, without a doubt – was the time they spent visiting Rafe’s family. Dialogue was natural, the people were real, and the whole section read like a true family. I wanted to be a part of Rafe’s family as much as Seth craved it. This cemented my feelings for Rafe.

While Seth’s angst and reversal of nature into a more primal state is a tad heavy-handed and repetitive, Rafe’s characterization and the author’s easy, lyrical voice more than made up for it for me. There’s a reason I like this author so much. Rafe is yet more proof of it.


9/10 – Some of Seth’s angsting gets a little much, but otherwise, utterly engrossing

Hero #1

7/10 – The angst wears thin as the novel progresses, but he’s still a poignant figure much of the time

Hero #2

9/10 – Absolutely adored Rafe and his attempts to come to grips with everything

Entertainment value

8/10 – While Seth’s angst weighed it down, my engagement with Rafe and his involvement more than made up for it

World building

8/10 – I loved the different take on the werewolves, it freshened what could’ve been a run of the mill story



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