Friday, September 21, 2018

A Wolf Apart (The Legend of All Wolves #2) by Maria Vale

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Can a human truly make room in her heart for the Wild?
Thea Villalobos has long since given up trying to be what others expect of her. So in Elijah Sorensson she can see through the man of the world to a man who is passionate to the point of heartbreak. But something inside him is dying...

Elijah Sorensson has all kinds of outward success: bespoke suits, designer New York City apartment, women clamoring for his attention. Except Elijah despises the human life he's forced to endure. He's Alpha of his generation of the Great North Pack, and the wolf inside him will no longer be restrained...

She sizes me up quickly with eyes the color of ironwood and just as unyielding.
"Thea Villalobos," she says, and it takes me a moment to get my breath back.
Thea Villalobos. Goddess of the City of Wolves.

Source: borrowed from Hoopla

If you'd told me months ago that I'd become enamoured with a shifter/paranormal series I would've given you the side eye because that's not something I was drawn to at the time. Reading The Last Wolf earlier this summer changed that.

A Wolf Apart is a terrific follow-up and adds more to the story of the Great North and its history. Elijah is an Alpha of one of its echelons and has spent the past three decades Offland serving his pack as a lawyer at a prestigious firm that handles the pack's affairs. Duty is of utmost importance and he has performed his well, always keeping the interests and security of his pack a priority. Lately though he's felt this unrelenting stirring within to return home. He's now developed a resentment towards his "human" life where he's forced to play up the big shot lawyer role, to be the big man around town when all he wants is to be true to his wolf instincts. Unexpectedly falling in love with Thea is a jolt to his system but being with a human can only complicates things. With his inner turmoil and the advancing threat on his pack and homeland that was exposed in the previous book, Elijah has to keep his focus and get is priorities straight. 

Once again the major appeal of the writing for me is how Vale offers us a view of human versus animal nature. It's like a mirror being held up to the reader to earnestly consider all the things we say and do out of habit or take for granted. Part of Elijah's distress (and one that he mentions a lot) is that he's constantly pretending at being a man or what human society dictates a man should be - all testosterone, physical strength and ego. But as demonstrated in The Last Wolf, wolves do things with purpose. There's a hierarchy and a social order involved but more importantly, the welfare of the pack is a driver. Elijah can't stand this self-serving life that he's been feigning for so long. He's literally itching to get out of his human skin. In Thea he has met someone who yearns for that simplicity in life, where one says what they mean, doing things with intention. Her admiration of nature and her comfort in being alone in the quiet are also why he loves her. But can he mix his two worlds and ever feel complete?

I liked the introduction of a mystery element that threw Elijah into a tailspin. Pulled in different directions where at times he's unrecognizably vulnerable. A Wolf Apart was a page turner for me with its grittier, harder and darker theme. I've fallen hard for this series and I'm ready for more!

~ Bel

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