It's a new week and it's time to take a look at one of the many stories that are posted for your enjoyment on Gay Authors. Today, Liltlover has provided us with a review of MetaShadowlands. Enjoy.
Word Count: 102,329
MetaShadowlands is the third book of the MetaWolf series by JohnAR. Most readers will attest to the fact that the Meta series is a series unlike any others you have probably read. Love it or hate it, there is little doubt that it is not your everyday werewolf story. Fair warning to those of you who haven’t read the first two books in the series, this review may contain spoilers.
MetaShadowlands is centered around (1) Colt Parker: a sometimes abrasive, occasionally hard to like, but highly intelligent, self-depreciating nerd with a strong Dominant streak, and (2) the wolf pack he has become the “Meta” for.
The first book in the series explained how a Meta is an individual with power over the Alpha and the inner circle of a pack, providing guidance and direction to a pack that is traditionally ruled exclusively by instinct. The Meta is an evolution in some modern day packs to help wolves deal with the reality that brains, more than brawn, are required for success in today’s world. In this book Colt is becoming more comfortable with his role as Meta and using the power that comes with it.
In the last book, MetaOrigins, Colt learned something about himself that had the potential to rip the pack apart. MetaShadowlands starts with Colt being separated from his wolves and coming to terms with his choices and dealing with the consequences of his actions. In MSL the pack as a whole is changing and evolving. They are fighting rogue wolves, seemingly treacherous wolf packs and vampires, with one vampire Queen in particular continuing to cause them no end of trouble. They are also challenging for land and cultivating allies with other packs around the world in preparation for an anticipated war against the vampires. As always, Fate (and I capitalize Fate on purpose) has wielded her influence in the lives of the wolves and has worked to bring the pack together.
Colt has a strong dominant streak, and he likes to dominate hunky men, especially marines. Lucky for him most of the wolves in his pack are ex-marines, heavily muscled and submissive to him. As the pack is dealing with all of the upheaval in their lives Colt is still “sniffing out” new pack members. We meet more new wolves in this book, including Sam Sr., Leo and Warren. We are also re-introduced to Al. Other secondary characters come in to play in this book, including Prime’s brother, Seb, and his girlfriend Emma, who has potential to be a great confidant for Colt, if he ever loosens up and trusts anybody.
Thrown into the mix are the Meta Prompts chapters, which John posts weekly, before each new series chapter. These prompt chapters give readers more maddening clues to unlock the mysteries of the MetaVerse. The prompts should be read in the order intended to prevent accidental “spoilers.”
In Colt, John has created a character that often causes a furor of reactions in readers ranging from wanting to slap him to wanting to hug him. Colt is not your traditional cuddly hero. We continue the debates from book 1 and 2 about the role of scents in this world and whether or not those scents can or do translate to love. The opinions of Colt’s actions and ideas often cause a lot of ranting and debate in the forum, which, for me, is a part of the fun of Meta.
One of the first lessons you need to learn in the MetaVerse is that you have to be careful who you trust because nothing and no one are what they seem at first glance. John loves nothing more than to pepper each chapter with obscure hints and red herrings and watch us spin in circles as we try to decipher meaning behind normally benign actions and conversations. There are cliff-hangers and twists that will keep you on the edge of your seat while cursing Colt, the wolves, John and your computer.
I came to this series from a unique position compared to many other MetaWolf readers. Anyone who knows me on GA, knows that I am, in general, a sappy romantic and don’t care for stories involving polyamorous relationships or ménage storylines. However, I decided to test my own boundaries and give the story a chance. I went into the first book thinking that I would give it an honest try, but did not expect to get past the first few chapters. I have now finished book 4 in the series, which should give you an indication of my revised opinion about this story.
Although I still am not a fan of polyamory or ménage I have (semi)jokingly told John that I deal with those aspects of the story by imagining the pack are just a group of REALLY close army buddies. I will never enjoy polyamorous relationship stories or ménage storylines, but I have found that this story is less a romance and more a dark mystery and adventure, with a little BDSM and steamy nerd on wolf sex thrown into the mix.
Regardless of whether you want to hug Colt or strangle him (or our sadistic, closed mouth author for that matter), I can guarantee that you will not be bored reading MetaShadowlands. I challenge you to give the MetaWolf series a try. John has now posted 4 complete books and has started posting his 5th of 8 books in the series, so there is still a lot more debate and ranting to come if you want to join us in the forum to vent.