Author: Rhenna Morgan
Series: Ancient Ink #2
When the hunter is your mate, being prey is anything but terrifying
Coyote shifter Tate Allen has been watching. Learning his mate every possible way before he moves in. Protecting her through the night, always from afar.
He’ll be the one to teach her about her gifts. He’ll be there when she changes for the first time.
With him, she’ll fulfill her destiny.
Elise Ralston loves Tate for the patience he’s shown. The faith he’s demonstrated—denying himself what he needs sexually, even as he teaches her about pleasure.
For Tate, Elise is willing to try. To revel in touch, to give him control…and to embrace her healer’s need.
But someone unknown is still stalking the clan, threatening more than Tate and Elise’s bond. And Elise is a prime target—precious for the magic she hasn’t even learned yet.
When I finished the first book, Guardian’s bond, I wasn’t sure about reading the next one of this saga. But almost two years later I have decided to give another chance to that shifter world full of magic. I should have listened to my younger self (and wiser as it seems) and skip this saga all together. This book is not worse than the previous one. It is just as bad…
We go back to this tribe of shifters to get to know Elise better, a still human who was rescued in the previous book and is supposed to be the next healer prima. She has lots of confidence issues with her body, which has convert her in little more than a recluse. That is why Tate is keeping his distance after discovering that Elise is his mate. Going too strong could scare her, but he is adamant about claiming her sooner or later. While those two try to make any sense of their love life, the supervillan of the tale, Draven, is still plotting the demise of our heroes. Will there be blood and guts spattered in the face of the lovebirds or will everything be easy peasy lemon squeezy?
First, let’s focus on the story. Can anyone please point me to the direction of the story? I must have missed it. In my opinion, in a Paranormal Romance book there must be a clear balance between the romantic part and the paranormnal one. This book is 95% of bad romance and 5% of rushed action. The first part of the Ancient Ink saga ended with a promising future about looking for the primos and avoiding the dark magic of the cruel Draven. It hinted to a lot, but it has been blatantly ignored in this second installment of the series. Yes, we have mentions about it now and then; but they are not enough to keep the reader engaged. Zero action, danger or trepidation. In much simpler words: SO boring! And when we finally get to the story almost at the end of the book, it feels like a joke. All for that? All the investigation, fear and training just for that? It’s the same ending a TV show gets when is cancelled prematurely. Yes, everything is tied, but the bow is far from pretty…
The characters do not help at all to improve my mood towards this book. They are so flat and unimaginative that is a pain to read about them. Elise is the lesser of two evils. She was bullied in high school due to the size of her breasts and that made her extremely self-conscious in public. And that is all we are told about her. Even Elise’s soul quest to meet her companion is all about her bust… And Tate. Who is Tate? He must have a void personality, because the author doesn’t mention anything about it. I have no clue who was Tate before meeting Elise. His traits, his hobbies, his favourite food or movie… In the book he is all about his mate. A character reduced to his obsession. No fun at all.
Is at least the romance enjoyable? With those characters there was a slim chance of being so. In fact, the romance is a torture and I must be a bona fide masochist for being able to endure it from top to bottom. I have always dislike the fated mate resource in Romance books, but in this saga it gets to a level that sickens me. Tate is a caveman who treats Elise as his most precious possession. Maybe that doesn’t sound that bad, but it is taken too far in my opinion. The anger, the fear, the hunter/prey dynamics and more factors make the romantic part of this book a challenge for a reader like me. I hated everytime Tate made Elise mention whose her “owner” was. The constant “mine” bothered me immensely and made the reading of the sex scenes an ordeal. This couple has rubbed me the wrong way since the first moment.
I don’t think there is going to be a third book, although it is pretty obvious that the author had already moved some pieces in that direction. If by any chance there is a third story in the Ancient Ink universe, I think I would pass on it. It is a shame, because I like the magical aspect of this story. The different roles of the shifter community are pretty original. Too bad that is not explored in more detail. In order to enjoy this saga you must be a hardcore fan of fated love and possessive males. Otherwise, you will like it as much as I do.
Thankfully, I do not need to enjoy a book to be able to find a new word in English to learn. But I must admit I wasn’t paying too much attention to some parts of the story, so I could have missed a linguistic treasure along the way. In any case, I gathered a bunch of words and the one that has made the cut is:
gaunt: extremely thin and bony; haggard and drawn, as from great hunger, weariness, or torture; emaciated
That word could be applied to the state of my inner reader after finishing the book…