Phantom Wolf by Bonnie Vanak

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Phantom Wolf Published by Genres:
Pages: 304
Source:
Goodreads
three-stars

Some fires still burn when star-crossed lovers reunite?When a dangerous mission leads him deep into the jungles of Honduras, Navy SEAL Sam Shaymore is confronted with his fiery past in the form of Kelly Denning. Once their romance had been forbidden because of class differences. Then a tragedy drove them apart. But the minute he looks into her eyes, Sam knows he's never forgotten the sultry kisses and luscious curves of the beautiful Enchanter Mage. Nor can he turn his back on helping her.
Sam's unit has been charged with arresting Kelly. But if he can believe her, Kelly needs his help now to save some kidnapped Mage children and to stop a conspiracy with far-reaching implications. Threatened with being kicked off his SEAL unit if he does not follow his orders, Sam must risk everything?even his heart!

This looked interesting, and I thought it might be on the short side, so I grabbed it from netgalley the other day (hooray for auto-approve!).

The first half of this book is really intriguing. We’re drawn instantly into a world of mages, and their 2 classes—the Elemental Mage and the Arcane Mage. The Elementals are the ones who hold all the power (literally), and the Arcanes are little more than servants, or second-class citizens.

But when this story opens, we see the young love between an Arcane (Kelly) and an Elemental (Sam). Unfortunately they don’t have a happy ending. They see instead, Kelly’s father setting fire to Sam’s home, with his family still inside. Kelly never believed it was her father, Sam couldn’t handle the emotions of losing his family and having his girl defending her dad, so he bailed.

Fast forward to the present day, and we see Kelly has been kidnapped and is being tortured, but she’s trying to keep the bad guys from hurting the kid she came to rescue.

Sam is now a Navy SEAL on a paranormal team, and they are there to save the kid. He has no idea Kelly is there, and when he sees her, he figures she’s one of the kidnappers. She is then framed for everything. The Elementals want her to be executed, and example made of her, and her kind stamped out like cockroaches. This makes it hard for Sam and Kelly to have a relationship.

In the meantime, Kelly plans on going to Honduras to rescue the rest of the kidnapped children, but no one believes her. Not until it’s almost too late, that is.

I found this book to be hard to put down because I loved the idea of it. I loved the world, I thought the basic plot was great (I’m a sucker for betrayal plots), and I love when there’s a good romantic suspense element added in to the Paranormal Romance. But there were so many instances where the two Main Characters would get all hot and heavy, and then Kelly would say, “I want to be like when we were younger,” and it would ruin the mood. Once or twice, okay. But so many times! It wasn’t sexy, it didn’t build tension, it just annoyed me.

What I never understood is why Kelly was doing all these missions without any kind of survivalist training. She’s supposedly running a non-profit to save mage children who have been kidnapped, and yet she has only her magic to help her. No back-up, no super awesome skills, it was so weird. Like who in their right mind goes up against bad guys like that without any kind of training? It wasn’t a one-time thing, but it was her lifestyle, shouldn’t she at least have basic self-defense and survival training?

Then enter the SEAL team and I feel like once Sam and Kelly went off alone, it was so unrealistic. All SEAL training flew out the door (except when necessary), and at one point he was tricked into thinking he was rescuing a child, but it was a trap. So he put his gun on the floor when the child said he was scared. Sam had a perfectly good holster for his pistol! I don’t see any SEAL worth his salt putting his weapon on the floor for no reason. From that mid-point on, I had a harder time with some of the choices made by the characters. So many seemed ridiculous!

For instance, the bad guys catch them, and bind them in silver and then dump them in a slaughterhouse room. They turn on all the faucets, plug the drain, and leave. Sam breaks free of the silver mesh, but the faucets are all broken and can’t be turned off. Not once did they try to unplug the drain! Unless they had concrete poured into it, it shouldn’t have been a problem. Kelly nearly drowns during their escape! I was screaming “Unplug the drain you idiots!” at my nook. :/

Other than that, I thought that the whole plot was strong, the writing a bit repetitive, but good, I just got really annoyed at some of the things the characters did. I will read more from this author though, because her world was really interesting and the ending was really pretty good.

***ARC courtesy of Harlequin and netgalley

three-stars

 

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