Wolfbreed and Wolf’s Cross by S.A. Swann
Genre: Fantastical romance
Both books take place in the same universe, Wolfbreed set a few years before Wolf’s Cross. There is a very thin line connecting the two together but it is not necessary to read Wolfbreed first, to which I say ‘Thank goodness!’ Skip Wolfbreed and just read Wolf’s Cross; it has a lot more to offer than its predecessor.
Wolfbreed by S.A. Swann
My rating: One and a half out of five stars
She is a monster, trained from birth by her master to be a killer. She knows no other way to life. And yet she escapes from him, searching for freedom from her captivity. He is an orphan who carries with him the scar of the massacre that destroyed his childhood. He lives his life as well as he can, though his past haunts his every step. What happens when the two meet in the woods?
The story is as cliché as possible. As soon as you read the set up, you can easily guess at everything that comes. Nothing is a surprise. You can predict the twist ending in an instant
The characters are pretty standard. I liked Lilly’s innocence and confusion but it can get annoying pretty fast. Uldolf is as bland as they come, even with his tragic backstory, as Swann strives to make him a near flawless love interest for Lilly. The characters who belong to the Order blend into each other; I often had to flip back to remind myself of who was whom. My favorite characters were Uldolf’s family because the daughter was so amusing and the parents very sweet.
The concept of werewolves was very interesting. I liked the idea of duel personalities going on in Lilly’s head and so was slightly disappointed to realize that that was just because of her injury. I really enjoyed the training scenes between Lilly and her masters; I would have preferred more focus on her time with the religious order than on the obvious romance.
The romance between the two leads is just as forced and cliché as the summary makes it sound. I think I would have enjoyed a relationship between them if a romance had not been forced. Couldn’t they just be friends? Or what if, when all was revealed, he didn’t want to be with her, knowing what she was and her bloody history with her masters? That I may have actually enjoyed, instead of a romance I’ve seen a thousand times.
The only positive thing I can say with any enthusiasm is that the climax, though predictable, is fast-paced and full of action. The last thirty or so pages of the book were the best part and kept me hooked until the epilogue, where it once again went downhill.
All in all, the book doesn’t bring anything new to the table. You’ve seen this story and these characters dozens of times before. It’s hard to even comment on the book besides saying that it was bland and you’ve seen it all in other books. The fun climax is not really worth wading through the rest of the dull tale.
Wolf’s Cross by S.A. Swann
My rating: Three and a half out of five stars
A girl with her heart torn in two directions. To one side, the caring soldier who offers her a life of safety and normalcy. To the other, the passionate werewolf who offers her excitement and the key to her true self. Who will she turn to in the end, who will claim her heart as his?
A far superior story to its predecessor, Wolfbreed. The characters are fleshed out much better than the original cast, and the story much more engaging. Definitely a step up for Swann.
I’m still not certain if the reveal that Maria is a werewolf was meant to be a twist or not, because I read the back cover and knew right away that she must be a werewolf who doesn’t know her true nature. So if Swann meant it to be a surprise, it didn’t work. But, obvious possible twist aside, the set-up of forcing Maria choose between her human nature and werewolf legacy, though a very common theme, is beautifully done.
Both men make a compelling case for Maria, even the male werewolf who kills without hesitation. Darien is a wonderful character who had all my sympathies for his situation; Josef is a very kind and trusting soul (perhaps too kind and trusting; what is it with this author and writing near flawless love interests for the female leads?). Maria walks the line between the two. While a bit whiny at times, she’s still an interesting character who I was eager to see make her choice.
Once again, Swann creates an exciting climax that keeps you hooked through the last forty pages, and an epilogue that ties everything up fairly easily but isn’t nearly as dull as the first book. The werewolf scenes were really well done, making the reader actually feel part of the experience, something that was lacking from the point of view of Lilly, the werewolf narrator of the first book.
This book far exceeds the first, with much more interesting and compelling characters and plot. There is a small bit of backstory for the origin of werewolves in Wolfbreed that is alluded to in Wolf’s Cross but, beyond that, there is no need to wait to read this one. Skip the first book and get right into this one.