Sunday, October 30, 2016
Stolen and Forgiven (Branded Packs Book 1) by Alexandra Ivy and Carrie Ann Ryan
I read a lot of shapeshifter stories. By "a lot," I mean more than 75% of my library is shifter stories of some kind. I love them. I used to dream as a child that I could turn into this or that animal. Enough about that.
So... on to the story. This book is actually written as two stories. Stolen is the story of Ariel, an orphan experimented on by a sadistic doctor and left for dead just inside the wolves compound. I enjoyed the story. The authors have presented a scenario that is original for me, while at the same time, showing humanity at its worst - greedy, self-serving, and afraid of the unknown. I'm hoping as the trilogy progresses that humans sympathetic to shifters will come into play.
Throughout Stolen, I found the storyline to be somewhat predictable. There's the expected damsel in distress, the honor-bound alpha, and jealous ex-girlfriend. You get a bit of back story, just enough to understand how shifters came to be corralled together on fenced land. We're given a hard look at the brutality the humans have forced on the alpha as he adheres to laws enacted out of human fear. There is also a bit of propaganda that has to be reversed after Ariel recovers.
In Forgiveness, the story picks up with the punishment meted out as a result of an event at the end of Stolen. As in Stolen, there is a love story that plays out with all the usual aspects and a twist or two, though nothing shocking or completely unexpected. What I did appreciate about this part of the book was more details about why the shifters were rounded up and put in contained areas. I felt as though I had finally been given some "meat" in my story.
In addition to having more substance, the authors introduced some unexpected help for our intrepid shifters. Their presence is explained in a great way, and looking ahead at the next book in this series I can see they will play a more important part in the storyline.
Overall, this was a fairly decent book. Was it griping? Did it keep me up too late at night to finish reading? No. Did I enjoy it? I think I can safely say yes. I found a couple of places in my reading where editing missed a couple of problems, but not enough to reduce the stars. However, because I could easily set the book aside to do something else, I'm only giving this three stars.
This book is available at Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.