Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “Big, bad carnivores like to cuddle too, huh?“
Brand has defeated his sadistic brother and taken ownership of his Brood. He is now working to bring his Brood into the 21st century and stop the barbaric behavior they have been indulging in before they drive themselves into extinction. He is also trying to keep Gunni from fading into death. Gunni is still grieving over the violent death of the love of his life, Alice, and it is slowly killing him. When Gunni and Brand chance upon a deadly trapper who has caged members of the Brood, they also encounter Leo, a human who appeals to Gunni and his wolf in ways he has never felt before in a man. But Leo is a shamen and considered an enemy of the Brood. When Leo is hurt trying to help Gunni locate a missing brood member, Gunni heals him, initiating a bond of sorts, and suddenly the hole in his soul begins to close. Now Gunni must make a choice. Will he adhere to Brood tradition and let Leo go? Or will he follow with his heart and accept the healing love Leo can provide?
Marked by Oden picks up a few months after Broods Of Fenrir ended. Brand is struggling to bring his brood under control and dealing with some heavy personal issues with his mate, Dagny. Though we see Brand and Dagny, this installment focuses heavily on Gunni and a romantic relationship he embarks on; to the point where other subplots take a distinct backseat. I admit to being surprised on how much softer this book was. While we still get occasional bouts of violence, you don’t feel the same anger or darkness in here that was felt in book one. I missed that. I expected to get the same story but we don’t in here. In fact, I’d be hard pressed to call this installment an Urban Fantasy. It definitely has a strong PNR feel to it and the romance produced may leave some readers dismayed and a little put out.
I adore Gunni and was pleased to see him in here. My heart broke for him in Broods Of Fenrir and I wasn’t sure how or if Moore would be able to pull him back from the abyss. I was very surprised, but pleased, by the route she choose. Gunni is like Brand; he’s loyal, forthright, and very protective of those he loves and cares about. He will do as commanded by Brand, but he is inching closer and closer to the edge each day. Emotionally crippled, you can literally feel the pain that Gunni carries with him. The guilt of failing Alice and the pain of her dying eats away at him with the sureness of acid.
Leo, a human shaman, is a delightful addition to this world. An interesting mix of human mortality and magic, he has always existed on the edges of society; shunned for his power and his sexuality. When he meets Gunni, the attraction is instantaneous. Leo, an empath, feels the emotional turmoil that rolls through Gunni and attempts to help him, which in turn brings Leo to Gunni’s and his wolf’s attention. Leo is exactly what Gunni needs but Leo is unsure if Gunni is ready to accept love in the form of another male.
Moore does a wonderful job on Gunni and Leo’s romance. She slowly develops their love, allowing them time to get to know one another and adapt to this unusual situation, though the sexual attraction is hot and heavy. I wouldn’t call it erotic because a number of the scenes tease then fade to black, but it works. It’s all very sensual it the telling. Moore focuses more on the emotional aspects; their thoughts and desires, rather than overwhelming us with never ending physical descriptions of the act.
“It was like being devoured and reborn, over and over again…
He no longer knew, or cared, where his desire ended and Leo’s began.
Because he didn’t want the delicious torment to end, he skirted the edge as long as he could before he gave in…”
Leo and Gunni were good together. It’s an emotional journey for both of them as love has not treated either of them kindly. They not only have to handle their burgeoning feelings for one another but also prejudice in the Brood. I love watching two alpha males work out their differences both in and out of bed.
The secondary characters are all just as richly designed as our protagonists. I enjoy that the woman in this book are as strong and deadly as the men. Moore further enforces this as we watch the women in here deal with death, grief, and revenge. I enjoyed seeing Dagny and Brand, and Isabel makes a few appearances and no, she has not toned down the crazy yet. Moore isn’t one to shy away from controversy and has no qualms about sacrificing a loved character if the story demands it. We are given some lovely clues to future storylines which has me chomping at the bit to see what is in store for them all.
There are three story lines that run concurrently throughout. As stated earlier, the romance is the strongest storyline and takes over the book. I was disappointed that the trapper storyline didn’t develop more and take a stronger stand against the romance. It was interesting and was revealing nicely but fizzled out; though a subplot that developed along side it did play out nicely and I enjoyed the twists injected into it. I also wanted to spend a little more time divulging into the history of the Brood and the other various Broods. Moore gives the information sparingly and I keep hoping for more.
The main conflict wraps up nicely with action, intrigue, and a surprise that I never saw coming. I enjoyed this foray back into Ms. Moore’s world and look forward to visiting again.
Overall Rating: C+