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Monday, September 19, 2011

Review: Black Gold

Black Gold: Takhini Wolves, Book 1Title: Black Gold
Author: Vivian Arend
Page Count: 382 KB (novel length, Kindle format)
Publisher: Samhain
Genre: paranormal romance
Copy for review provided by Fatin at Novel Sidekick in anticipation of an honest review

Their wolves are howling at the moon. Their human halves are on different planets.

Takhini Wolves, Book 1

Lone wolf Shaun Stevens’s automatic response to the words “happily ever after”? Kill me now. Yet with all his friends settling down he’s begun to think there may actually be something to this love-and-roses crap.

One thing’s for sure: his dream mate will have to out-cuss, out-spit and out-hike him. So he never expected the one to push his forever button would be a blue-blooded Southern debutante with a voice as dark and velvety as her skin.

When Gemmita Jacobs steps off the plane in Whitehorse, Yukon, it’s about more than her caribou research project. It’s her declaration of independence from an overprotected upbringing. Except there’s something in the air she can’t quite define—something that unexpectedly rouses her mating instincts.

Moments after their eyes lock, the deed is done—and done thoroughly. When the pheromone dust settles, though, all the reasons they don’t belong together become painfully clear.

It’s enough to make a wolf learn a whole new set of cuss words…

Warning: Two strong wolves getting exactly what they deserve. Includes wilderness nookie, shifters being naughty in public places, the Midnight Sun as a canopy for seduction and grizzly shifters on the loose. Oh, and don’t forget the sarcasm.

Hmmm.  If I had to pick a word to describe this book, it would be...multifaceted. There is a lot going on in this story- some of it is good, some of it is not so good, and some of it is just confusing.  I'm a big fan of this author's work so it pains me to say that Black Gold didn't really hit the mark for me.

The story suffers for a lack of character development.  Shaun and Gem as a couple work, the attraction is definitely there, but they do thinks and think things and believe things and we never really get to know why any of those things are happening. Why is Shaun so stand-offish and uncertain and frankly, immature?  Why did Gem decide to study caribou? What's with the kind of unorthodox way her family lives? Facts were just thrown out there and then abandoned with relatively little reference after that.  Gem comes from a super wealthy family back in Georgia and grew up pretty much isolated from the entire world because of the danger that her being out in public would pose- she would fetch a hefty ransom, after all.  As a result, she grew up in a compound and everyone catered to her, so every experience she's had so far has been fabricated to a certain degree.  I mean, I don't think the girl has sat down in a restaurant with other people, but she doesn't have a problem just jumping right into a major research expedition.  The inconsistencies were kind of a distraction after awhile, and frankly, in a full length novel I was hoping for a little more in this department.

I feel like we didn't get to know Shaun all that well, and the little bits of character we did get to see were pretty unflattering.  He struck me as kind of an immature waffler.  He just wants to meet his mate and share his life with someone, which is a definite positive thing, but because they met and fell for each other so quickly, it kind of took the mystery and the momentum out of the romance.

Likewise, I needed more details about what the heck was going on with the bear shifters?  We got a
sense that something was up, but the element was introduced and then kind of shoved aside.  Then when the big ultimate conflict broke out it was like, where did this come from?

The romance between Shaun and Gem was great, and the setting was fantastic- I really got the sense that I was in the wilderness and seeing the nature and the details all around. While this wasn't my favorite book, I'm still on board for future installments to see if some of the details get fleshed out.

Overall Grade: C-
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