If you read our review of the previous book in this series, Nightshade, you may recall that our conclusion was something along the lines of "could be good, the sequel will probably fix everything that we didn't like in this one."
Well, this is going to be a relatively short review, because contrary to our expectations, that...didn't really happen. Not a whole Hell of a lot has changed in Andrea Cremer's werewolf epic, so most of our complaints, in terms of character development, are pretty much the same. And unfortunately, as far as plot development and REBELLION go, we really don't get much of that out of Wolfsbane, either - or at least, not as much as we were hoping for. So, with the considerable lack of progression in the overall plot and characters, we're mostly left wondering why, exactly, Wolfsbane needed to be a separate book in the first place.
Our biggest problem with Wolfsbane overall is that, again, not a lot happens. With the exception of a rescue mission that takes place in the LAST ACT of the book, the rest of the novel is split between introducing new characters and listening to them talk. Calla gets a few moments of inner turmoil about leaving her old life, but aside from that, it's mostly talking, and wow, did that really not need to be a whole book. Much of Wolfsbane felt like filler - as though the few actual events it contains couldn't be squished into Nightshade or Bloodrose, so Cremer ended up having to stretch it out into its own novel.
At least the entire first third of the book is devoted solely to conversations, and the worst part is that most of these conversations aren't expository. It sounds like a weird thing to complain about, we know, but this was one of those times where we wanted some exposition - where it was not only warranted, but justified. We're introduced to this whole new world that neither we nor the heroine know anything about, and we want to know more - about the Searchers, about their society and practices. While we do get brief bouts of storytime every now and then - mostly when the plot demands it - and what we learn is interesting, it's never as much on any of the subjects discussed as we'd like.
Instead, most of the conversations that pad out the first third of Wolfsbane are banter. Truckloads and truckloads of banter meant to establish the characters personalities and relationships, and while that's all well and good, there's only so much we can take before our fingers start itching, and our minds start screaming "GET ON WITH IT". And while we applaud Cremer for, y'know, using conversation to show her character's personalities rather than just labeling them like most paranormal romances, it tends to make for awkward dialog. The conversations rarely flow or sound natural, because it's painfully obvious that characters are saying things in order to establish certain aspects of their personalities and lives.
What plot-building we do get in Wolfsbane turns out to be a bit familiar - maybe more like a Croft-ian adventure than a paranormal romance one, but familiar none the less...
Read more at You're Killing.Us