Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Anchor by Jorrie Spencer

TITLE: Anchor
AUTHOR: Jorrie Spencer
LENGTH: Novel (roughly 54k)
GENRE: Paranormal romance
COST: $4.50

Mala has dreams about helping wolves in need, but when she starts to think they might somehow be real, she decides to check it out for herself. She finds herself in Wolf Town, in the alpha’s home, face to face with proof that the lives she’s saving in her dreams belong to real people. Angus doesn’t know what to make of this woman who claims to be able to get into wolves’ dreams, but he’s willing to believe in her. He needs to. The safety of the wolves he takes care of – as well as Mala’s – is too important…

The latest entry in Spencer’s shifter series adds some interesting texture to the world she’s created, but ultimately, doesn’t really work as a romance.

Mala has had night terrors all of her life, dreams where she becomes a part of a wolf who is in terrible fear of its life. Over the years, she’s learned how to harness that fear and turn it into a weapon against the attacker, but the nightmares always leave her shaken and exhausted, not to mention isolated and half-convinced she’s crazy. At least, until she slips back into the mind of the latest wolf she’s saved and discovers his name and where he lives. After losing her latest job, she decides to go check it out and see if the wolf is for real. She doesn’t think he will be, so color her surprised when she shows up in Wolf Town and finds out that he is. The alpha in Wolf Town is Angus, a leader who’s more nurturing than he is violent. He’s been protecting the young wolf Mala saved, and when he learns that Mala has been visiting wolves in her sleep, does everything he can to keep Mala in town. He’s convinced she’ll be in danger should news of her talents spread, not to mention the fact that the violent wolf after his new ward is still out there, waiting to kill both of them.

The action in this is fairly seamless and continuous, providing a constant forward momentum that makes the novel a quick and easy read. The aspect of Mala being what the wolves have dubbed a dream wraith brings some new elements to Spencer’s shifter world, a new avenue to explore as her powers aren’t heard of by anybody, not even by series regular (and one of my favorites) Trey. It opens doors in stories to come and keeps the world interesting and colorful, constantly growing and changing, but it does so organically, rather than allowing the world to grow stale and stagnant. This is its greatest strength, and is the primary reason followers of the series should read it.

It’s unfortunate, then, that the romance is so lackluster. The vast majority of the story is spent on the tension, both that of the action and the mystery of Mala’s powers. Mala and Angus express physical attraction early on, but that’s it until a good two-thirds of the way through when all of a sudden, they’re having sex. I never felt any sexual tension between them, nor believed it might be something more than a passing physical thing. In fact, their so-called romantic scenes are so truncated, even the epilogue that attempts to pull threads together feels incomplete and unsatisfying. It’s not helped by Mala’s inconsistent characterization (she seems to alternate from weak to flirtatious without a bat of an eyelash) or the fact that Angus has a damsel in distress weakness. I more easily believe that he wants to protect her in response to that than I do any genuine emotion.

This isn’t the strongest entry in the series by far, but considering the new elements that were introduced to the world building, like a necessary one. I just wish I could’ve cared about the romance more, or that the romance had been left out entirely.


8/10 – Always so compulsive to read


7/10 – Nurturing and likeable


6/10 – Seems to alternate between strong and wishy-washy, lacks consistency

Entertainment value

6/10 – The action part of the plot worked well, but the romance was forced and unbelievable

World building

7/10 – It helps to have read previous books, but even then, it’s not always clear



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