Beneath a Blood Moon showcases a new character from the Witch and Wolf series. Being a fan of R.J. Blain, I bought it – but it took a while to get time to read it. I’m glad I did, because this book showcases her abilities as a writer better than her previous works. (Not that I don’t love them, but you’ll understand the difference in her style in Inquisitor, Winter Wolf and the Eye of God.)
I can see where other writers would be upset this is a “standalone”, since it features other prominent characters in the Witch and Wolf series. Standalones depict a story being able to stand on its own without being in a series. This was a full length novel that showcased key figures. If this had been book four of the series and stated such, the standalone complaints would go away, I believe. But for her purposes, it does work – since this features a new character not in the other Witch and Wolf books.
Plot: I happen to like books with a main plot and subplots, since I write those myself. R.J. definitely hit the nail on the head here. While some voiced their frustration with her tactic, she wanted to have the reader experience Sara’s -full- journey into the Fenerec packs. The only she could accomplish this was with some of the side trips and adventures because you don’t just learn about one person in a pack mentality. In Sanders’ case, she had to learn to deal with various parts of a wolf pack, especially with her “special” standing.
Characters: I’m a character driven person. If I hate a main character in anime, games or books, I’ll put it down without a second thought. If the characters whine, bitch and moan without good reasons, it’s pretty much a game changer for me. But Sara wasn’t like that. Sara kicked some ass, despite her constant plot trope. After a while, she sort of got used to it, which made me laugh halfway through the book.
But the other characters made it fun to read about her journey. Between the witty banter, realistic family issues, traumatic experiences and Sara’s reservations, Sara and Sanders do grow as characters in the story. There are realistic scenarios and some may make readers angry. That’s good. It was intended to make you feel that characters’ pain. If it does, R.J. succeeded in tugging your heartstrings.
It would have been nice if I could have hated a character in BABM, though. 🙂 I read this without reading Blood Diamond and the Tales, so I hated Desmond when I got into it. I wanted to still hate him and was kind of mad that by story’s end, I liked the devil. (In Winter Wolf, Nicolina made him sound like a vile SOB, which I liked more, honestly. Every book’s got to have that one character you hate.)
Pacing: I understand some reader’s points of views here, but every other Witch and Wolf novel had their own side trips, too. They weren’t as long, but they were there. The slower pacing was necessary for Sara’s character development and helped solidify Sara by the story’s conclusion. Readers need to understand – recovering from traumatic experiences take time and don’t happen overnight. This may be where some readers had the issue with time gaps.
There were time gaps, but writers can’t include everything. If she did, then some readers would complain about lack of action. Either way, it’s a double edged sword. If you don’t like slower pacing, this book probably isn’t for you. But you like character growth and development, you’ll want to stick around.
This book is worth the five star review. The cover art is beautifully depicted and an improvement over the last art she had. It was hard to read some of the titles because of the coloring and fonts. Here, I’m able to see the title, author’s name and thumbnail before I click on its description. The formatting had some issues, but nothing that sullied my enjoyment. Last, the development was excellent and the story did reach its own conclusion.
Fans of the Witch and Wolf series will not be disappointed with Beneath a Blood Moon – but will probably want to read the Tales of the Winter Wolf and Winter Wolf to become more familiar with some of the other characters. It’s not a necessity, but you’ll appericate the character growth behind some of them if you do 🙂0