Thursday, June 26, 2014

Review: The Protector by Cooper West

Reviewed by Whuppsy
The Protector by Cooper West
Dreamspinner Press
Novel: 250pgs
3 Pants Off

Guardsmen are always matched in a bonded pair. The Protector can shift into a weredog, and the human partner is his Handler. They are incredibly rare and highly valued, but people also fear them for their mystical abilities. No Protector in living memory has outlived his Handler—until Alex Taylor. 

Now a widower, Alex lives a lonely half-life and faces day after day of grief with no hope for happiness in the future. When he unexpectedly bonds with the young and vibrant Handler Marcus Stephanek, Alex is angry and unwilling to leave the memory of his former Handler behind. He pushes Marcus away and tries to distance himself from their bond. But then a mysterious villain who has been secretly shadowing Alex for years sets his plan in motion. Alex and Marcus must learn to trust their bond and love each other, or risk not only their own lives but the lives of those closest to them.

I wanted to read this book as I thought that this book would add a new dimension to shifter books that I had previously read. It did, and it was a different kind of book.

Alex Taylor has been bonded before to Theo. Theo was special in that he didn’t specialize in any one direction for his career. He wanted to wait until he got bonded and took into consideration what his Protector, Alex wanted to do for a career. That made the bond between these two men so very special to Alex. The thing with being a Protector and Handler is that when the Handler dies, the Protector dies as well. That’s always happened, until Alex survived Theo’s death. Alex has been alone since Theo’s death 3 years ago. Alex has been researching since Theo’s death to see how he survived. Alex is so lonely, heartbroken and he’s grieving. There is so much that isn’t happening in his life, that it’s hard for him to really find a balance and go forward.

 Marcus Stephanek is a 26 year-old Handler that is un-bonded. It’s a source of huge embarrassment, shame and desperation for him. He knows what career choice he wants to do and all that he’s waiting for is his Protector. Marcus is quite frankly….AMAZING!! He’s got lots of degrees, he teaches at the Institute from which Handlers and Protectors are trained. Marcus finds his Protector in Alex and this isn’t what he expected. Alex is still in love and grieving for the loss of his Handler, Theo. How do you fight against the memory of a loved one who died? That seems to be Marcus’ greatest battle in gaining Alex’s love and trust.

This story had so many complex layers that I really liked. I liked the fact that Alex was trying to deal with the death of Theo. Trying to move forward and not finding a way to. The wanting of something that will complete your life and make everything turn into roses, and to have that something come true and still not be what you imagined it to be. How do you make a new life with someone you don’t want to? The mystery/suspense portion of the story was really well done. I knew who it was before they told you, he was a really scuzzy character, how could you not?

I will say that I was really tired of the back and forth that Alex had going on. I get that the love of his life passed away, I do. But he got hit with another bond that could be the very best thing that could happen to him and he kept throwing that away. It was really maddening to me.

This was a surprisingly good book. I really enjoyed the mystery/suspense aspect of it. This was a very character driven story and it flowed along really smoothly. You were never jarred out of the story. Overall, this was a good book and I’d say take the chance on a different kind of “mate bond”.

3 Pants Off

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