Monday, April 25, 2011

Lynx by Joely Skye

AUTHOR: Joely Skye
LENGTH: Novel (roughly 60k)
GENRE: Gay paranormal erotic romance
COST: $5.50

While on vacation, FBI agent Trey Walters follows rumors of a giant lynx…then the lynx himself. He finds a young shifter hiding from the world, and eager to learn as much about him as he can, befriends Jonah. Their friendship turns into more, but Trey has a job and responsibilities that require him to leave. Even if he wishes he didn’t have to…

It’s been a while since I read the previous books in this series. I wondered if that would affect my enjoyment of this installment. Ultimately, though, I think it gave me a better perspective on whether it works on its own or not.

Trey’s main goal in life is to protect shifters and those he loves, all without letting anybody get close. It’s safer that way. For him. For them. While on vacation, he follows rumors of a giant lynx and tracks the shifter to what looks to be a cave. It’s more than that. It’s a home, hidden away from the world, and there he meets Jonah. All of his life, Jonah has been taught to fear discovery. His family dead, he lives alone but finds himself craving company. That’s why he takes to Trey’s wolf, while Trey remains in animal form in an attempt not to scare him. When Trey makes his identity known, Jonah is nervous and wary, but his curiosity and Trey’s patience finally win. Gradually, the two men get to know each other, their attraction growing the entire time. The biggest problem, however, is that Trey needs to return to the world, to his job, to the family and shifters he protects. In order to best protect Jonah, he needs to leave him behind.

It’s ironic that Jonah nicknames Trey Enigma when he’s in wolf form at the beginning, because through the previous books in this series that I read, Trey has always been this rather enigmatic figure in the protagonists’ lives. He comes and goes, helps when he can, but little is known about him. This novel is the chance to see his other side, and in that regard, it succeeds. We finally get to know the man behind the wolf, and the wait was worth it. He’s smart, loyal, patient, and ultimately kind. Yes, he’s emotionally closed off, but he does that out of fear of more people dying. Jonah coaxes him to open up, and it’s a slow, careful process that mirrors the growth of their relationship. I didn’t completely buy the turnaround for Trey’s interest in Jonah from platonic to sexual, but once it was there, I believed it.

Then Trey leaves. And this is where the book starts to fall apart. The author’s note explains a lot. Trey moves in and out of people’s lives in the previous books, and the cases he’s involved with occur in the times when he is away from Jonah in this one. While it works to describe the path of their relationship, from a storytelling perspective it ends up being very disjointed. The story jerks along, stopping and starting, due to the limitations imposed by this set-up. It takes a solid half of the story for Trey to leave the first time, and then, we become privy to patches of plot and time jumps to encapsulate the events of the rest of their relationship’s growth. This doesn’t make for smooth reading at all. It’s not helped that much of Trey’s life is still left a mystery for Jonah for a great deal of the book, the events of the other books only briefly mentioned. I’d read the other books and still had to struggle fitting pieces and characters in where Trey might mention them. This doesn’t really work as a standalone very well at all.

That being said, I still enjoyed it, but that’s primarily because I was invested in Trey. I wanted to see his story, and I was willing to sit through whatever it took to get it. That helped to compensate for a lot of the other shortcomings that might have otherwise stopped me before I got to the ending. Jonah is a sweet kid, but his innocence grated on me after a while, and I don’t think I would have liked him as much if Trey hadn’t been there to balance it out. I also felt mildly shortchanged by the climax. After so much time worrying about him, it felt like it was handled too cleanly and swiftly. I thought, “That’s it? That’s all it took?” I expected much more, and I was disappointed with what I got.

But Trey got his happy ending. For that, I’m glad. And for that, it was worth it.


7/10 – Pacing for the second half is awful, but clean prose and a character I cared about helped make up for it

Hero #1

8/10 – My adoration for Trey grew with this exploration into his private life

Hero #2

7/10 – His innocence, though believable, was a little much at times; I liked him much more in the latter half

Entertainment value

7/10 – Purely for the fact that I finally got to learn more about Trey

World building

6/10 – Kudos to the exploration of Jonah’s world, but the holes left by Trey’s leave too much to be desired



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