I have officially read nearly 100,000 words of the paranormal romance genre after finishing up Mated by the only paranormal romance author I have ever read, Zoe Winters. The journey to get here has been incredibly strange as I have had my brain infused with more emotional instability than I have ever experienced before. Hopefully I can still function as a normal citizen.
I have been hearing lately that digital publishing is getting readers to branch out from their mainstay genres, but I never thought I would be caught up in it myself. The truth is, though, that if Zoe Winters had been traditionally published, I would have missed out on her work because you will never catch me even glancing at the romance section of the bookstore. After branching out into the jacked up fiction that is paranormal romance, I have discovered some pretty good stuff.
So what we have here is another crazy chic, Jane if you remember her from Claimed, who has been pretending to be goth to fit in with the vampire crew. Unfortunately for her, she gets wrapped up with these crazy awesome Furries (or werewolves if you prefer the non-hilarious connotation). The alpha furry, Cole, takes her as payment for one of the vampire’s debts and things get awesome.
He is all like, ‘my furry senses tell me that you are my mate’, and she is all like ‘but I don’t get down that way’. So, he keeps her locked up in the hive with all the rest of the furries. They actually have a nice set up for being a pack of furries without real jobs besides eating defenseless forest animals (they even have a TV). Lucky for them, Cole runs a successful web business to pay the bills.
Did I mention there are demons? Yeah, apparently the furries are in league with the demons. Cain, a demon friend of Cole, tells him that one in his pack is actually killing humans instead of defenseless forest animals. Cole’s hatred of forest animals pushes him to find out who it is and gets himself and Jane wrapped up in an insane plot where they may or may not end up romantically entangled by the end of the story. Stuff goes down and blood is everywhere. Because that is how furries like it.
Once again, Zoe has shocked me with her ability to tell the oldest story in the book (boy meets girl) and actually keep it interesting. I seriously doubt a plain romance novel would keep my attention the way she did (not that I am going to test that out). The Blood Lust story keeps evolving and Mated beautifully continues the tradition.
The wolves’ subculture within Cary Town is just as meticulously crafted as the ones from the first two Blood Lust entries. You will be drawn into it along with Jane and walk with her as she slowly releases her prejudices about the wolves. The interactions among this world and its characters melds seamlessly into the plot with nothing feeling out of place.
It is a difficult job to use legendary creatures and not devolve them into hackneyed archetypes, but Zoe walks that line like a pro. Her tremendous talent to bring them to life will fill you with genuine empathy for their plights as they become more like good friends than fictional people. You will not find boring, flat development here. Zoe only writes with 100% pure 3D characterization.
The plot was good and well thought out. It moved along with good pacing for the most part, but there were a few moments that I felt it begin to stall just a little in the middle. It is really not much to complain about as the encompassing world soaks up the plot’s deficiencies. The build to the final climatic scene was so riveting it had me glued to the screen. The sheer emotion fueling the two main characters’ battle with fated love was written so excellently I began questioning whether or not I have actually ever really been in love before.
Mated is worthy as the final chapter in the Blood Lust trilogy. It is a great read that is ridiculously under-priced for its quality. I am by no means a paranormal romance authority, but I can safely recommend it to anyone who needs something deeper than Twilight to test the genre out.
I give it one out of one wolf bites (because that is all it takes to pierce your heart).