Author: Denna Holm
Genre: Paranormal, Romance, New Adult
Rating: 3 Stars
Jessica is excited about starting college in the fall, already enrolled at the University of Oregon. Every year for as long as she can remember, she has enjoyed spending a week camping with her father before school started, but this year is special because her best friends are coming with them. She has no way to know they will all be walking into a nightmare straight out of a horror movie.
Eighteen years before, Jessica’s mother died under mysterious circumstances right after giving birth to her. Her dad refuses to speak about it, though his eyes grow haunted every time the subject comes up. All Jessica knows is that it was a violent death. Her answers will come from a stranger, one who knows far more than he should.
Nethaniel is a Lycaeonian from the planet Laizahlia, a wolf shapeshifter. He is taking his first trip off world with his father when he runs across Jessica fly fishing at the lake. Though it shouldn’t be possible, he recognizes her immediately as his fated mate. Unfortunately, Nethaniel’s father has enemies, and three have followed them to Earth, vengeance on their minds. Jessica and her friends are considered little more than collateral damage.
WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW
A Warrior’s Nightmare by Denna Holm was a fresh twist on the usual werewolf/vampire genres that I’m used to, but not one I’m entirely sure I’m on board with. I actually wish that the author had departed even more from the traditional monster roles. There was an overly comfortable familiarity in the way the lore was put together that made it feel as if there was little effort put into separating the world-building from everything we’ve seen before. That being said, it wasn’t a bad story per se.
Other than a few mishaps with repeated phrases and some bad grammar, the story was well written. I liked most of the characters, even if they lacked some fleshing out. The plot was intriguing, I really enjoyed the descriptions of what it was like for the characters to be wolves… and overall, I just genuinely liked the story.
There were a few issues though. Perhaps because the characters lacked fleshing out, it very quickly became apparent that the antagonist of the story was your typical bad guy. He was evil and sadistic, and thought way more of himself than was reasonable… he wasn’t terribly compelling or interesting really, and he spent a lot of time monologuing as a narrator. I dare say that the first few chapters of the book were incredibly slow because the narration was bogged down by a lot of needless description about things like how to fly-fish, and chipmunks… that just weren’t relevant to the story. The antagonist even came complete with two henchmen – though it was never really explained why they were with him, nor why they listened to him.
Overall, it wasn’t a bad book, I liked it, but I think a lot of the author’s time was spent working on things that didn’t really matter in the grand context of the story, rather than taking that time to further develop the structure of the story, the relevant world-building, and the characters.