Thursday, August 23, 2012

Review: Wake Me Up Inside by Cardeno C

Reviewed by Fehu
Wake Me Up Inside (Mates #1) by Cardeno C
Dreamspinner Press
Novel: 250pgs
3.5 Pants Off

A Mates Series Story

Zev Hassick is surprised and confused when he finds himself attracted to his best friend. His very human, very male best friend. Zev is the son of the pack Alpha, regarded as the strongest wolf in generations, born to lead. And everyone knows a male shifter has to mate with a female of his own kind to keep his humanity. So shifters can't be gay, right?

Jonah Marvel wants a relationship with Zev, his best friend, the man he has loved since childhood. It wasn’t easy to maintain that relationship over years spent living apart while Jonah studied to become a doctor. And then things grow more difficult when Jonah becomes his own patient. Before he can make a life with Zev, he has to understand his past and cure the unexplained ailments that plague him.

Zev and Jonah know they’re destined for each other, but they’re facing traditions ingrained over generations and long-buried secrets that may threaten any future together.

It’s the first paranormal book for this author and it has a new take on the shifter theme. The writing of this author is usually my guilty pleasure, because it’s a lot of fluff but it’s well done. They are like a cake, sometimes you want to indulge, you want to have something good or need something sweet after a rough day. Wake Me Up Inside is still sweet but it has some surprises in store for the reader. For one Zev is a shifter and a shifter can only mate with shifters to bind their human side, so they don’t get lost in their wolfform. This happens when they mate with a woman, since women cannot access their shifterform without a male and sex, at least that’s what all shifters are told. Therefore there cannot be gay shifters and certainly no true mate can be male, that’s what Zev’s family assures him. I was looking forward to see how Cardeno would solve this problem and was not disappointed. The world Cardeno created, is quite interesting and I’m looking forward to reading more about it and the characters and I honestly wish this book had ended differently, there are some question left open, which I hope will be addressed in the next books!

Most of the story is told from Zev’s point of view and the reader can watch how the two boy meet as small children (well child and wolf cub) and how the friendship grows and their feelings mature. Zev in his shifter form follows an enticing scent which leads him to a human child. Their time together consist of stolen moments at first, because shifters do not like to mix with humans if they don’t have to. It’s not after they start school that they can openly interact together. First they become friends and their relationship is really sweet. For example, Zev wants get to know Jonah in his human form so he brings him a leaflet for the children sports league, in his wolf form until Jonah got him and singed up. That was just cute!

I loved to see the boys mature and their relationship deepen. Of course there were problems and rough patches caused by the separation of both characters. Zev is the future Alpha so he couldn’t go to college and Jonah wanted to be a doctor so he had to go away to study, which put a strain to their relationship. At the beginning I got the wrong impression about how this book would be told and about the development in Zev and Jonah’s relationship, because Zev thought that Jonah went away for twelve years, I assumed it would be a lovers reunited story, which was not the case. Zev and Jonah saw each other over the years and stayed in touch, which the reader will know after all the discussion with Zev’s parents about him taking a mate.

This brings me right to the part I didn’t enjoy as much and that is the flashbacks, usually I don’t like them if they are not well done and used sparingly, here the whole relationship is retold in flashbacks. Only the last part is completely set in the now and this part is short and left me with a lot of questions. Also the flashbacks are unexpected and they are not introduced into the story, one moment one reads about the present then it shifts to past, though to be fair sometimes it’s a new chapter but still, no introduction and this did throw me a bit out of the story.

There are no big conflicts in this story, if there is a problem it’s solved pretty quickly so there is not exactly a lot of angst. Usually in shifter stories the Alpha is a bit overbearing, not so here, Jonah is not treated like a thing, there is no overuse of the word “mine”. Zev and Jonah’s romance is quite sweet and slow building. What I found a bit hard to believe was Zev’s naivety about sex between men, I had to laugh that he was older than 18 years and still couldn't believe about the mechanics.

I really would have enjoyed the story more if it was about the present and set in present, thought. The ending is pretty much open, because while one problem was solved, Zev and Jonah still have to meet the pack as a mated couple. I wanted to rate it higher but then I turned the page and it was the last, which made me stare at my ereader in disbelief. The ending had no closure, because mostly the story played in the past and I was looking forward to the present and that part ended abruptly, which was not satisfying.

3.5 Pants Off

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