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Running with the Pack 1. Running With The Pack

   (25 reviews)
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal

Ethan Scott tires of life in the city after several years of living on the streets and decides a trip to the mountains is the change he needs. Little does he know what direction that change will take.

Some chapters contain characters getting a bit frisky, other chapters actually have sex involved, and there are some that have violence.  So this does have graphic content.
7/4/19 - Thanks to the editing work of Carlos Hazday, all chapters are now in their final edited version.  This edit qualifies as a major re-write, both from the amount of errors that are being fixed as well as new content. Just for reference the original word count was 260600.
I've created a forum post for additional discussion of the story beyond the reviews.  You're comments are greatly appreciated.  
Running with the Pack, WolfM, 2012-2016, All Rights Reserved

Story Recommendations (52 members)

  • Action Packed 48
  • Addictive/Pacing 49
  • Characters 50
  • Chills 12
  • Cliffhanger 24
  • Compelling 23
  • Feel-Good 20
  • Humor 18
  • Smoldering 27
  • Tearjerker 23
  • Unique 36
  • World Building 36

Select Chapter
Table of Contents
  • 1. Chapter 1
    • 4,070 Words
  • 2. Chapter 2
    • 3,992 Words
  • 3. Chapter 3
    • 2,953 Words
  • 4. Chapter 4
    • 4,915 Words
  • 5. Chapter 5
    • 3,341 Words
  • 6. Chapter 6
    • 3,399 Words
  • 7. Chapter 7
    • 7,356 Words
  • 8. Chapter 8
    • 6,756 Words
  • 9. Chapter 9
    • 5,732 Words
  • 10. Chapter 10
    • 6,348 Words
  • 11. Chapter 11
    • 4,644 Words
  • 12. Chapter 12
    • 5,895 Words
  • 13. Chapter 13
    • 5,821 Words
  • 14. Chapter 14
    • 5,316 Words
  • 15. Chapter 15
    • 4,970 Words
  • 16. Chapter 16
    • 5,601 Words
  • 17. Chapter 17
    • 6,266 Words
  • 18. Chapter 18
    • 6,571 Words
  • 19. Chapter 19
    • 5,915 Words
  • 20. Chapter 20
    • 6,775 Words
  • 21. Chapter 21
    • 5,417 Words
  • 22. Chapter 22
    • 7,553 Words
  • 23. Chapter 23
    • 6,112 Words
  • 24. Chapter 24
    • 6,830 Words
  • 25. Chapter 25
    • 7,401 Words
  • 26. Chapter 26
    • 4,703 Words
  • 27. Chapter 27
    • 6,456 Words
  • 28. Chapter 28
    • 8,467 Words
  • 29. Chapter 29
    • 6,867 Words
  • 30. Chapter 30
    • 7,575 Words
  • 31. Chapter 31
    • 6,518 Words
  • 32. Chapter 32
    • 6,424 Words
  • 33. Chapter 33
    • 6,486 Words
  • 34. Chapter 34
    • 6,373 Words
  • 35. Chapter 35
    • 6,960 Words
  • 36. Chapter 36
    • 5,949 Words
  • 37. Chapter 37
    • 7,379 Words
  • 38. Chapter 38
    • 6,577 Words
  • 39. Chapter 39
    • 7,719 Words
  • 40. Chapter 40
    • 6,692 Words
  • 41. Chapter 41
    • 7,752 Words
  • 42. Chapter 42
    • 8,532 Words
  • 43. Chapter 43
    • 8,466 Words
  • 44. Chapter 44
    • 8,634 Words
  • 45. Chapter 45
    • 7,463 Words
  • 46. Chapter 46
    • 4,428 Words
  • 47. Chapter 47
    • 6,030 Words
  • 48. Chapter 48
    • 5,812 Words
  • 49. Chapter 49
    • 5,233 Words
  • 50. Chapter 50
    • 1,029 Words

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· Edited by raven1

   8 of 8 members found this review helpful 8 / 8 members

Ethan is a "normal" boy if you discount his being thrown out by his parents at the age of 15 and surviving on his own on the streets of the city.  As he reaches his 18th birthday he decides to get away and hike in the mountains.  With little or no money he survives quiet well in the wilderness and enjoys some free time reading the few fantasy books he treasures about his favourite animals, dragons and wolves.  Aiden is a young man on a campout for young wolf shifters who show leadership.  Michael the alpha's son and arch-rival of Aiden is also on the campout. 

Ethan feels like he is being followed for a few days, but doesn't see any one until a very large and beautiful black wolf appears and frightens him.  The wolf keeps coming back and eventually the two become companions.  Unfortunately, some of the other wolves find out and decide to attack Ethan.  His friend defends him, but Ethan is hurt.  When Ethan awakens, he finds himself with a giant bear of a doctor who tells him he will be OK.   In a few days Ethan again returns to hiking the forests and mountains, but misses his big black wolf.  He does remember that in his injured fog after the attack that his friend seemed to become a human and talk to him.  Thus this adventure begins.

This is a wonderful tale of love, loyalty, family and amazing adventures.  The plot is compelling and fluid, but filled with complexity and interesting details.  It covers many different ideas and problems that the author takes time to flesh out, but leaves for readers to discuss in the comments.  Fast paced chapters of action and anxiety are often preceded or followed by magnificent chapters of love and healing.  Descriptions of many places are soaringly beautiful, or hideous. Characterisations are also complex in diversity and depth whether villain or hero. If you are an adrenaline junky this novel is probably not your style.  If you enjoy thinking, imagining and exploring then this is one of the great books on GA.  

WolfM is a talented writer and is one of my favourite writers on GA. Carlos Hazday has edited and is the beta for this story.  There is no better recommendation than know that!

  • Like 3
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Suresh Kumar

   6 of 6 members found this review helpful 6 / 6 members

I read the initial version way back when this book was completed (I prefer binging on completed books!) and thought that it was pretty good. It certainly wasn't polished and it didn't bridge all to well but it had potential nonetheless. It certainly gave me insights on the author's thought process putting this elaborate world together. Something I truly appreciate and have come to love even more now that he has gone back and made significant changes to the flow without losing the core essence of the story line. This is one of the few books I use as a goto when I need to unwind and unplug.

Having read another reviewer's lengthy review 😒, I felt compelled to leave my own. Firstly, I love the main protagonist. He is the reason I followed the series. I like that the author drops just enough information about each character for the reader to imagine for themselves what those characters would look, sound and feel like. The same goes for the world building. The cliffhangers to me were well placed. Most of all, I like that the story line was generally dramatic yet most characters weren't overly dramatized.

The mix of realism and fantasy to me is what makes this book stand out. I don't binge read fantasy to get a dose of realism.. I have reality for that! So in other words, the balance struck by the author worked for me! I like that intuition was the goto for the main protagonist as his powers developed (I don't need another X-men teen struggling to figure out how to control their powers and dealing with their psychological issues).

Having said that, I would have preferred the Alpha's friend and mentor (James if memory serves me right) playing an important role in helping the main protagonist learn more about his abilities especially in the initial stages of becoming an Elemental. I also have to agree that the 'Lycan' word is loosely used in this book. Lycan refers to canines, more specifically, wolves. So the Lycan Council rightfully governs only wolves.. this technicality can easily be rectified but calling them the Shifter Council also loses it's ring if you know what I mean 😛!

As for the author, my hats off to your story telling ability! I'm impressed you squeezed so much into 50 chapters on book 1. Book 1 alone could be split to 3~4 books with sufficient back stories and slow character development but in the process you might lose the magic and continuity which to me was a route you avoided allowing us to get into the heart of the story telling quicker and wanting more following Book 1! I do hope there is a Book 5 coming soon.. 😏


  • Like 2
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   6 of 6 members found this review helpful 6 / 6 members

I’ve read this story in it’s entirety multiple times now. It’s one of my favorites. I know what is going to happen in each chapter but still read every word! Very good plot and world building. 

  • Like 1
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   6 of 6 members found this review helpful 6 / 6 members

This story had me blowing through chapters! I went through this story so fast, my husband had to start it after the third, "OH, COME ON!!" The author perfectly keeps the reader in his clutches as he ends each chapter. 

This story perfectly blends romance, drama, and action, and is in a class of it's own. The characters are relatable, but will surprise you with every step of the journey. I'm unsure if this book intends to be published, or is published at the time of this review, but I am ready to throw money at a copy for my bookshelf! 

  • Like 2
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   5 of 5 members found this review helpful 5 / 5 members

I don’t write too many reviews of books but after reading the 2 star review here (which I stopped reading after a couple paragraphs when it became obvious to me that the reviewer has a personal grievance with the author and that he had “skimmed” through chapters) that I decided to add my two cents having actually read every chapter.

If you’re looking for an entertaining, well written story with a thrilling plot this is the story for you.  It’s an adventure about true love with just the right amount of romance (with kink :), suspense and fantastic battles. The dialog is sophisticated, the characters are relatable and the theme of compassion and acceptance has me wishing that I could live in the world this author created. 
Simply a 5 star read and looking forward to experiencing the other books in this series.
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   4 of 4 members found this review helpful 4 / 4 members

I just read this story and really liked the development of the characters and their world. The story included many situations that most could relate to things in our real world. I am a sucker for romance stories, but while this has romance it also has much much more. It is action packed, has times of suspense and several surprises that just keep you wanting to read more. I tend to read completed stories so binge reading is on my list. This story, having 50 chapters, definitely lends itself to binging. You will have trouble pausing your reading. I highly recommend this story!!!!

  • Like 4
  • Love 2
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Backwoods Boy

· Edited by Backwoods Boy

   4 of 4 members found this review helpful 4 / 4 members

This is a remarkable adventure story by a very talented author, but it is also an excellent treatise on the importance of diversity and inclusiveness.  In addition, it is a testament to the significance of family and community, both those that we are born into and those that we adopt or adopt us over time.  What WolfM has created with the Lycan world is comparable to what J. K. Rowling created with the world of witchcraft and wizardry - a fantasy world brought vividly to life that leaves us wishing for more.

  • Like 4
  • Love 2
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   3 of 3 members found this review helpful 3 / 3 members

Were-creature stories are not my usual cup of tea. It's personal taste: I'll read almost any SF, but the "were" stories don't grab me in the same way.

This story though grabbed from the start and pulled me in more and more as it went along. Because of the high quality of the written, the fully-developed and interesting characters and their relationships (family, friendships, business, societal, sexual, romantic). And the warm-hearted inclusiveness of the folks in this pack.

Plus mystery and adventure and lots of woo-woo fun. An all-around great read.

  • Like 1
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   2 of 2 members found this review helpful 2 / 2 members

This is one hell of an amazing story. Wolfm has woven a breathtakingly magical tale in fantasy, intrigue, magic, and most importantly, love. The colorful cast of characters and the situations they find themselves in will have you biting your nails with in the edge of your seat mystery, crying your eyes or from both joy and sadness, laughing your ass off, and if you're male, rearranging your endowment.

Thank you, @WolfMfor creating such an amazing world to get lost in as you explore the terrain. 

  • Love 3
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   2 of 2 members found this review helpful 2 / 2 members

Thank you so much for writing this story.  I’m a prolific reader.  Have been since I was about 12yo.  OK, about 40yrs.  This is the best story I’ve ever read.  I can’t strongly recommend enough that you should publish this story on Apple Books.

  • Love 3
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Luke Past

   2 of 2 members found this review helpful 2 / 2 members

I've really enjoyed reading is story.

So much happened in the 50 chapters🙂

I'm really looking forward to reading the next story on the series.

Action packed, full of love and romance too.

  • Like 2
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   2 of 2 members found this review helpful 2 / 2 members

I found this to be a great Story of Ethan and Aiden, and their wonderful love is a thing of beauty to enjoy. And I have come to enjoy it. I am sure if you read it, you will love it as much as I have! Try it and see if I am right! :yes:


  • Like 2
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Pup Cameron

   2 of 2 members found this review helpful 2 / 2 members

I've read this story several times and enjoy it each time I do. It's the first one I read on the sight after someone mentioned @WolfMto me. Fun, fantasy, finding yourself and how you fit in the world, drama, action and some suspense. This story has it all.

  • Like 1
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Matthew Ross

   2 of 2 members found this review helpful 2 / 2 members

I really enjoyed this, the dynamics of their relationships, the action and drama, the way scenes are written. It left me both satisfied yet wanting more. Thank you for the incredible journey 

  • Love 4
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   2 of 2 members found this review helpful 2 / 2 members

Fantastic story and well written. Thank you. 

  • Like 5
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   1 of 1 member found this review helpful 1 / 1 member

I believe it's totally appropriate for the first review I've ever written on the site to be about "Running with the Pack".

You'll be binging this after just one chapter. I suggest you start at a time in your life where sleepless nights are appropriate. Aiden and Ethan are the best. If wolves and magic are your thing, THIS is it.

I cried, I laughed, and I loved. I still remember the forests vividly in my mind, and while reading, I did so out loud—it's just that good.

  • Love 2
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   9 of 10 members found this review helpful 9 / 10 members

Have to say that I have enjoyed this each time that I have read it.  I read it as it was being posted the first time, then did a re-read a month or so after the initial posting; but decided to wait to do this last one until the author finished the re-write.  The time and energy that it took to add almost 40,000 words to a re-write/clean-up must have been staggering, but it was well worth it.  

I can be a very bitchy reader, and did pick up in the initial posting some of the technical issues that the author wanted to go back and fix.  I actually really admire his desire to do so, and purely from a readers point of view appreciate it greatly.  I feel that the story simply flows much better now versus the original posting.  

However the additional written areas that were added to the story helped more than anything.  They smoothed out a few plotting gaps and added much to the overall story.  In places, I could easily tell what was added and in others; I had to read a chapter twice to find hardly anything that was changed, and a few times could not find anything in particular chapters.  

This is a thoroughly enjoyable read that was made even better by the re-write/clean-up done by a truly dedicated author.  Cannot recommend this story enough, simply a delightful take of love and redemption, as well as finding the true power that is within us all.

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   7 of 8 members found this review helpful 7 / 8 members

Great story. You deliver a wonderful look into the lives of your characters, full of suspense to keep the readers on the edge of their seats. Keep up the good work.

  • Like 8
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   6 of 7 members found this review helpful 6 / 7 members

I've read this story several times since I came to this site and enjoyed it every time.  Its setting of inclusiveness, awesome characters, and excellent plot make it a worthwhile read (or reread).  Ethan is an excellent protagonist and his actions, feelings, and thoughts drew me in throughout the story.  The antagonists for each "act" of the story feel believable for where you are in the tale.  Getting to go along this journey with Ethan & Aiden, along with several others, made for a great read (one that I'll probably repeat shortly).  Hope to see even more in this universe sometime soon!

  • Like 8
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   5 of 6 members found this review helpful 5 / 6 members

This was the second story on this site I read (my 1st review now, i think). The first time i read it, I actually binged read it in 2 sessions :P i mean it is 50 chapters after all. It started good and just got better. Second book is just as good, but different in style. No pressure, but I'm hoping for another book/story set in this world. PS: I've read this one 5 times now. (so far) 

  • Like 6
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   5 of 6 members found this review helpful 5 / 6 members

I have read this story twice and each time it is a revelation. Don't worry yourself into editing and editing, it is great as it stands. I'm glad that AI saved each chapter along the way, so at least I can say I have an original. While waiting for the next episode I will definitely be reading again.. Don't second guess yourself in what is a great story well written.

  • Like 6
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· Edited by chris191070

   5 of 6 members found this review helpful 5 / 6 members

Great story. Perfect story from the point of Eithan and Aiden.

Since leaving my review in 2017, this story has gone through a major re-edit.

This really improves the story of Ethan and Alden as it has become a much smoother read.

It comes highly recommended.

  • Like 7
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   3 of 4 members found this review helpful 3 / 4 members

Can we please get some more work in this world and with these characters you have so beautifully created? I loved loved loved this story!

  • Like 5
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   2 of 3 members found this review helpful 2 / 3 members

Any idea when book 2 is coming?

  • Like 5
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· Edited by seakinklets

   2 of 14 members found this review helpful 2 / 14 members

Note: No spoilers until the warning.

Running With the Pack as a series has interesting points and potential, but is built on the weak foundation known as Ethan Scott and Aiden Jacobs. The first book has 50 chapters, perhaps 20 of which are plot, and the rest are filler/slice of life sections involving the two that I could not for the life of me care about. The story begins fine, with Ethan being sympathetic and having a difficult backstory, Aiden being a knight in shining armor figure, and a clear antagonist that has mostly defined goals. Micheal wants to be Alpha, is GOING to be Alpha, and wants Ethan gone. His reasoning and actions are consistent, make sense given his world view, and are a constant driving force throughout the story. His characterization expands and builds on the hints we're given in a simple yet appreciable way, and his obsessive drive towards something that will clearly bring his own downfall is interesting to watch. Seeing him never truly give up, and doggedly chase something so clearly unobtainable with seemingly no moral boundaries in achieving it makes him perhaps the most interesting character to read. The same cannot be said for our two protagonists, which is the primary reason I disliked the story.

The plot itself makes sense, each event leads to the other in a mostly natural way. The overall story is interesting enough, and the outline is good for a romance story. The what is mostly predictable a few chapters ahead, which is a good thing because it means that things follow a natural and logical progression based on character motivations and reasonable outcomes. Not to say there weren't unexpected events or plot twists, but that there was never a random thing out of left field that leaves the story feeling off kilter and imbalanced. The how of the events is where things start to fall flat. Without going into specifics yet, certain tense or hype moments were boring or mediocre in their execution(partially due to other foundational issues), or just sorta happened. Lots of characters were introduced, many for one scene and then a cameo later, which lets the plot progress without characters actually having to think or plan. How will they convince this group of the problem? Oh a new character will be on their side for a reason. How will they handle this danger? Oh new characters or faceless hunters, or more likely Ethan ex Machina. There was so little tension, so little stakes, that it felt like things just happened with no real impact or lasting impression. Flat.

Ive danced around it enough; Spoilers ahead.

Ethan is a nothing character. He's a nice boy whos also the most powerful person who can do anything the plot needs him to at that moment. He read fantasy books, likes werewolves and dragons I guess, but he stops reading those after chapter 4. He got kicked out of his home and lived on the streets, was an underaged sex worker, and had no friends. He was used and abused to survive for several years, before packing up and living in the wild for weeks. He planned on living there long term. Ethan should not trust fucking anybody, and even says as much. In chapter 5 he flat out says it will take time for Ethan to trust Aiden, his magic soul mate who he loves immediately cause he smells good, and by chapter 7(literally 2 days later) he says he "it isn’t easy for me to trust anyone even though for some reason I really do want to trust you and I think I do trust you". Other than sympathy points, the fact that Ethan was an underaged sex worker fucking pedophiles for cash so he can survive is never relevant. He immediately trusts the Tucker family, the Alpha, and basically everyone else except the literal murderous rapist who wants him dead. He should be traumatized, but it never affects him beyond the first maybe 10 chapters, if that. Other than being nice, and forgiving, I cannot name any character traits. I guess he's a pervert, which him being hypersexual from his trauma and defaulting to using sex to make people like him or to get what he needs could have interesting and would have made sense, but honestly hes just a horny teenager surrounded by hot people. He's not even shy! You would think he would be withdrawn, but he talks more than Aiden does!

Aiden is similarly flat. He's a leader, has morals, and is physically strong. He's only a bit aggressive with Ethan in terms of romance cause magic mate smells, only gets angry at appropriate times, isn't jealous or controlling, and has no real flaws(other than being a cop). He likes sci-fi a lot. That's all I got. I'd criticize his backstory but other than being a bit of a trouble maker(which I believe is only really shown in the second book that he isn't in), and his dad moving away a few years ago we know jack and shit. Maybe I missed or aren't remembering it, but if that's the case its given in the chapter 30+ range.

For some reason however, these two love each other. Why? Cause they smell good. They're true mates, which means they're in love as soon as they meet no matter what. What does Ethan love about Aiden, what actions or mannerisms or quirks that only Aiden has that endear Ethan to him? Aiden saved him, helps protect him? That's gone by chapter 13, at which point Ethan is more powerful than Aiden. What about the reverse? What is so interesting or special about Ethan? Other than magic musk, there is no clear reason why these two would love each other. The characters are bland, they love each other because they do, so is it any wonder that by half way I was skimming the solo bits between them, and by 40 I was outright skipping them? They take up most of the work, despite being the most boring part. It's literally Twilight. The two main characters, the romance, are the most boring and bland part.

The world building however, is interesting. We get one big exposition dump for all the backstory. Half a chapter devoted to telling us where all the shifters come from and a bunch of other stuff in chapter 12. Heres the problem, it was written by Fantasyboy69 for his series Homestead. I have some criticisms for that series and for the worldbuilding(lycan literally means wolf in greek, why the fuck is everything called a lycan I didn't take 4 years of Latin to deal with this nonsense), but in the first book a lot of that information is spread out over chapters and chapters. It's introduced as the character(who isn't a born shifter and is thrust into the world) learns and asks questions, as it becomes relevant. We didn't need all this information, and having it all dumped looses so much of the impact of having questions form and then later answered. Why are we learning about Lupus(male wolf in Latin) and Lunaris(moon in Latin, but a weird declension) when we don't meet a lunaris for like 10 chapters? Why are we hearing about Solaris(solis is sun in Latin so this is clearly changing lunar to solar)? Also why are we told about other types of shifters and the story of Artemis? It made sense in Homestead why it was explained when it was, but its clearly being put in here simply because it was in Homestead. This is clear in the fact that Solaris are considered a myth or extinct to some. That was the case in Homestead, exceedingly rare and even when they became more known due to events, of the maybe 12 we see in the whole series 4 are family members. The issue here is that Solaris are major leaders in South America and Australia off the top of my head, with ranks equal to and as well known as the Lycans(Lunaris should be the term for lunar tied shifters and it should be lupus/lycan for the wolf distinction but whatever). This is something new in RWTP, which is my main point. Everything was copy pasted from Homestead, but the new or changed aspects don't fit in with the lore. This is an example of contradiction. Another example is when they run Ethan's blood and find hes part Celtic(not gonna get into the psuedoscience of determining race and ethnicity by blood here), they assume he might be a druid or that it would play a role. This presents many questions. 1) Are druids a thing? Are there magic users? The rest of the series would say no, but Homestead does have several magic users and it is a known but extremely rare thing. A recurring character is a shaman and is going to be a flock leader in books 3/4, while in RWTP they're never brought up again. 2) Are all Irish and Scottish and Welsh people druids? Celtic is a language, did you mean Gaelic? This clearly implies it's hereditary, and Ethan knows who and where his family is. Should this not be checked out perhaps? No seriously, you think he might be magic cause of his ancestry but even the idea of looking into his familial ties is never brought up.

The additions are sloppy. I like Homestead's worldbuilding because of how unique it was, while also being so far in the past that it's unclear if that's just legend or what actually happened. The way the series is written here however makes it seem more likely that every major pantheon is actually real, and a big part of that is the Elementals. For starters "Most references to Elementals were in very old texts that had been translated and posted on less than credible websites. They only contained vague descriptions handed down from legends or the occasional rumor. The World of Warcraft wiki site had one of the most detailed descriptions of Shamans and Druids" got a chuckle out of me, I liked that. The whole concept, however, feels like the most cliche chosen one trope here. Elementals can do magic, and at first Ethan can only do water magic. The glowing eyes thing is also cliche as hell and would have been fine if it wasn't so emphasized, maybe give it more mystery so its not super obvious Ethan is freezing shit at random. Ethan's use is tied to his emotions, and at first is fine. The minor uses done subconsciously are fine foreshadowing, and even him using it against the wolves on the bridge is acceptable. You could say he was in a rage and was fighting for his life, and clearly doing so took a lot out of him considering he passed out right after. Him beating an adult wolf with a stick, or punching a wolf with his bare hand actually doing damage is a stretch however, and why his powers made him physically stronger or if that's even what happened is never touched on. Where things start to go downhill is the feral incident at the lake, where Ethan makes a mist cover and kills a super tough feral Lunaris with giant icicles. If Casey or Aiden got hurt, that would provoke his emotional state enough that perhaps I could buy it. It really felt like a rehash of the scene from Homestead where the protagonist is told to hide in the lake from a feral, his wolf boyfriend protects him, but the protag damages the feral before passing out in the lake. In Homestead all he managed to do was stab the feral while it was distracted, buying time for the boyfriend and assisting him before running back into the lake and passing out from hypothermia. Here nobody got a scratch on them. Then more ferals are drawn to Ethan and surrender, a first in history, before he visits and heals them. This part is actually interesting. Ethan being able to heal, and drawing in ferals, is an interesting and unique idea. Them surrendering also makes sense, because hunters kill them on site. This might just be the first time someone has tried to talk to them. Ethan giving them the kick they need to escape being permanently wolfed out, basically forcing them to shift back to human, is a reasonable power that fits with his limited characterization and even fits the trope of water magic being connected to healing. It takes very little time and no shown practice or training before he's able to control the water at will, regardless of his emotions, and doing so without any trouble or mistakes. He's just naturally perfect at controlling it after discovering he can in like not even a month.

Then shit goes off the rails. He goes from having water powers, to being the fucking avatar. He not only shifts to a hybrid, before shifting to lupus on his first night, he's also super duper special cause he's got fur marks that look like special tattoos(which are identical to a Maori warrior from long before the english came, I get that he's implied to have been an elemental but having a white American with identical markings is not a great look for a lot of obvious reasons). While shifting, he controls water, earth, fire, and air. Also life, apparently. He can control plants now. A few chapters later, he then boils two kidnappers alive, and catches the crashing car he's in by manipulating the surrounding trees to his will. He also makes a wall of roots with spikes, meaning he can make plants not only move but literally change shape at his will. None of this tires him out. Small uses not making him pass out make sense, but this is far more than the bridge incident with Micheal that had him passing out on the spot. What changed? Who cares. The only thing that tires him out a little is healing ferals, for example when he heals like 10 at a time. He literally grows magic flowers, and later grows wolfsbane, from nothing. He is able to create life at will with no cost.

Aiden by virtue of being the other main character is also special. Based on what we learn of Jean Pierre later, his chats make sense and dont feel like bullshit everybody likes me cause Im the main character like it does with Ethan. However, Aiden now is a fire elemental. He roasts like 10 dudes with a burp and passes out, then the next time he uses it he has complete control at no cost. He takes literally 47 bullets and is fine. Every wolf whos not on the cartoonishly evil side is also fine, Ethan heals the silver poisoning and does more magic nonsense for the various ferals. Later when they casually overthrow the werewolf government it's retconned that an asshole was just being mean cause he had silver poisoning, and Ethan heals him secretly with a handshake making him piss out the silver. When they have the big wedding shifters from all over the world come over(including the solaris mentioned earlier that are totally a myth or super rare btw) and everyone loves Ethan and Aiden.

Genuine question, who doesn't like Ethan and Aiden? Micheal doesn't like Ethan cause he wants Aiden(revealed in the second book). So other than the murderous rapist whos edgy disney villian levels of evil, who dislikes them? Who finds them annoying, or weird, or creepy, or just doesn't want to be around them. Hell, who talks to them and doesn't immediately like them? Is there a single character that talks to them and is at least neutral? A girl only named once literally ran up to them and offered to have their baby after Ethan was there for like a week. Why, other than because theyre the main characters and such special boys, does everyone like them?

For the sake of time I'm going to end this on three examples of good characterization that made them feel more real. Darius was a nothing character, indistiguishable from the rest except physically, until the solaris spy was caught. Darius talking to him, realizing how similar they are, and the back and forths they had were interesting. It made them change, understand each other, and let them introspect. It's literally only relevant to like 4 conversations and plays no role in the rest of the series, but in those conversations I was interested in Darius and Paul; Why they were similar and different, what circumstances led them here, how they connect as brothers of the sun on seemingly opposite sides in a conflict.

Another is John. John was a generic good guy leader, but Micheal being a real mover and shaker and also his son made him actually interesting. How do you balance the safety of the pack when the son you thought you raised well turned into an arrogant monster with no regard for anyone else. His attempts to help Micheal as best he can, his inner conflict at what to do with his son, and him resigning himself to having to kill Micheal by his own hand was intriguing. Micheal was the son of the alpha, untouchable in most regards, put on a pedestal, and he knew it. He became arrogant and self serving. John tried to teach him that he was just like everyone else, but clearly only put in lip service. The nice guy act Micheal put on was enough to fool him, showing how little he actually paid attention to his son. Him realizing that(and it being implied rather than overt), and attempting to rectify his mistakes made him feel very human. He fucked up so much, and his plan with exiling Micheal was the best possible solution. Knock him off his pedestal, and get him into counseling. If he had went along with it, Micheal could have very well changed. The fact that he didn't, and the fact that John held a trial for him yet again when everyone knew he would be sentenced to death says a lot about him.

Jackie, Micheal's mother, the mother to the pack, the mate of the Alpha, executing Micheal was perhaps the most impactful moments in the book. She kept to the background by design most of the time, and we really don't know a lot about her. She was perhaps the most torn up about the incidents. The fact that as Micheal walked down the court isle after the first hearing, before sentencing, and with one slash ripped his throat and snapped his neck says a lot. Nobody knew she could partial shift like that. She broke down and had to be led away, but everyone was silent for her. Everyone moved away and gave space for her to be quietly led to a private room. Everyone talked quietly outside, and when she was finally driven home they simply held candles as a way of honoring her. She had one child, she carried and birthed him, raised him. She brought him into this world, and she took him out. She's the mother of the pack as well, and for its wellbeing she had to put down her only child. Now THAT is some emotional shit.

Jean Pierre and the various cured ferals(particularly the one taken when he was like 5) were also interesting, and sadly didn't get as much time in the spotlight as I would have liked. Jean Pierre was quite enjoyable, even if he did some heinous shit.

Overall, there are no stakes. Ethan or Aiden will solve the problem either by being magically likeable or with magic magic they have perfect control over and can do whatever the plot needs it to do. The other characters are either indistinguishable in personality if they have one at all. The romance happens cause they plot says it does. The worldbuilding was either done by someone else, and done better, or doesnt fit with the rest. These really bring down what would have been an interesting plot. If anything, seeing the potential in the story makes the vast majority that much worse, because we see what could have been. Luckily, the other books are all better, but still suffer from these issues if to a lesser degree. I honestly think it's not worth reading this, since I skimmed more than 60% of it, but if you feel the need to understand what lead to the sequels that's understandable. I do however think those are worth reading, even if theyre still pretty rough.


  • Sad 1
  • Angry 5
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