Review: Wilder by Christina Dodd

Wilder by Christina Dodd (The Chosen Ones #5)
Paranormal Romance
August 7, 2012

Reviewed by May

“For centuries, every seven years, a new group of seven Chosen Ones are drafted to continue the fight against a new group of seven Others. The battle goes on…”

Several years ago the current batch of Chosen Ones lost a member (Aleksandr Wilder). Disappeared without a trace, and with no contact or sightings they fear the worst and hope that he is still alive somewhere. The truth is that he is very much alive, and living under NYC as a hairy and slightly deformed huge beast as the Guardian. He has amnesia, he has no idea who he is or where he came from – only that the other people living below the city rely on him to protect them and fight demons.

Charisma Fangorn is lost. One of the Chosen Ones, she is currently underneath the city in tunnels and going deeper and deeper as she becomes more lost, weak, and hungry. Her gift is that she can hear the earthsong – though even that is fading fast. Fate brings Aleksandr to her rescue when she needs him most, and he provides a safe haven and nurses her back to health.

The Chosen ones series by Christina Dodd is a very straightforward world, so I did not find myself lost even though I have not read previous books in the series. She provides an index of characters at the start, though I really never found that I needed it. Seven people battle for good for seven years. Because there was some corruption in the business front that they relied on for many years, they are stripped of most power and resources too. Oh but don’t worry – finding one’s true love will restore their powers and help them.

First, I want to talk about what I did like in this book. I really liked the first half. We had Guardian (aka Aleksandr) and Charisma talking, getting to know each other, and getting very physical. The sex scene was very well done, and the heat factor was high.

In a moment of clarity, she saw them as they were: in a massive, legendary cave, on a giant bed, a petite woman on her hands and knees, a gigantic beast of a man behind her, both absorbed in the passionate battle between them. Both would lose. Both would win.

Who would claim victory?

I was really looking forward to seeing their relationship progress, and more smexy time with the beastly Aleksandr.

Instead, the book completely changes directions, tone, and style. We had all this leisurely sacred Guardian Cave time, all this relationship development, detail, and then all of the sudden it was as if the story teller realized they had a lot left to tell and put the entire thing on fast forward.

No more time for conversation, no room for sex, and no place for a plot that would hold up to scrutiny either. Now we needed to charge forward and ahead through caves to the center of the earth, to battle the devil himself, and much more. Oh, and we need to pull in the characters from past books, give them a spotlight, and be sure to show how happy forever after they’re all going to live.

Ultimately I found myself disappointed and frustrated. I saw absolutely no reason that this book couldn’t have been more balanced, that the love story couldn’t have been woven into the plot rather than being an almost entirely separate section. Dodd has written some great books that I adored – the writing utterly captivating and the chemistry smoking hot. This wasn’t one of them. For me, if this book had been woven together more it would have made a much richer, more interesting, and more emotional read.

Finally, while our hero gets his moment and a great scene with those who did him wrong; otherwise any and all problems or conflicts simply work themselves out for the characters. While it is fiction, I could not believe in any of the so-called heroic feats. I won’t spoil it, I will just say that things simply happen and it did not make any sense to me whatsoever. The characters felt like they were on strings, just acting out a play and doing what they needed to in order to get to the end.

Despite being a big fan of the Beauty and the Beast story in all kinds of forms, this version didn’t work for me, and based on the end of this series I won’t be going back for earlier installments.

Grade: C

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  1. says

    I know it’s been months since you read this book but I’m almost finished with it myself and was annoyed seeing so many 4 and 5 star reviews that I googled to see some others. I don’t think this book is horrible but it isn’t in the same caliber as her other books. This book feels disjointed from the rest of the series (if you read the other Chosen Ones books you’ll see what I mean.) Granted it is taking place years after the last one left off but I’ve read other books by different authors who have done that (thinking of the Night Huntress books by Jeanine Frost in particular) and pulled it off very well. Dodd just didn’t in this book. I would, though, encourage you to try the other books in the series if you have time. I wasn’t a big fan of #1 (don’t like reunited lovers plots and it had issues IMO) but the second one is fabulous. The 3rd and 4th are solid 4 stars (once again IMO). This one is the weakest link in the series by far.

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