Cornerstone Run Trilogy #1: Black Rook by Kelly Meade

Posted on December 25, 2014

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black rook by Kelly Meade

 

She never saw this coming…

Brynn Atwood is a low-level Magus whose unpredictable precognitive powers have made her an outcast among her people—and an embarrassment to her highly-regarded father. After a frightening vision in which her father is murdered by a loup garou man, Brynn decides to prove herself by finding the killer, and stopping them at any cost.

Her target is Rook McQueen, the son of a small-town loup garou Alpha. Despite being the youngest of three, Rook is first in line to inherit the role of Alpha, a duty he isn’t sure he’s capable of fulfilling. When Brynn finally meets Rook, she doesn’t expect the attraction that draws her to him—and him to her.

No longer believing him a murderer, Brynn and Rook strike an alliance to find her father’s real killer. But when his older brother is targeted by an unknown enemy, Rook will have to choose between his growing feelings for Brynn and his duty as the future Alpha of his community.

 

In this world, there are vampires, werewolves and magi who are usually at odds with each other. They try to blend in with human society or they isolate themselves, setting up their own villages while they guard their secrets from humans. They do their best to avoid one another. But that’s just the press release. In reality, the magi scheme to cull werewolf and vampire populations when they feel threatened. It is in the middle of one of these schemes that Brynn and Rook got caught in.

Brynn has been having premonitions of her father’s death. She warns him but he dismisses her. Born into a magus family with little magic and no control over her precognitive abilities, she has always been treated as a second class citizen by her kin. So she takes matter into her own hands–by going to the home town of the person she believes will murder her father. That person is Rook, a black werewolf first in line to inherit the title of Alpha in his community.

But when they meet sparks fly. And, soon after, an entire town of werewolves is massacred. Brynn realizes that Rook is not a murderer and they team up to figure out who the killer or killers are.

I think the author did an adequate job mixing in politics and intrigue in the plot. For me the highlights are the revelations to the mysteries. But I’m afraid I feel that the twist in the usual paranormal universe is just passable. I’m not keen on the black-versus-gray-versus-white manner of identifying werewolves. Blacks are supposed to be faster and stronger than the other colors and yet Rook is so easily subdued by the enemy. The romance is nice but not sizzling. It felt very new adult.

There were enough conflict between lead characters and the interaction allowed for a good enough character development. Rook has two brothers. The eldest is a common gray, trained from birth to lead, but when Rook came along, he is forced to accept that Rook has the birthright, not him. The middle brother is White with the power to pacify aggressive wolves. Brynn herself has a complicated family life. Her mother died when she was a baby and her father is distant. She can never prove herself good enough for him. Meanwhile, Brynn and Rook, though clearly attracted to one another, may not simply choose to be together. Marriage between breeds is strongly discouraged by the paranormal society. Half-breeds are born sterile.

Lovers of paranormal romances I think would enjoy trying out this new series. But I think I’m good with having read just the first book. For my paranormal romance or urban fantasy fare I guess I prefer slow burn romances like Ilona Andrew’s Kate Daniel series, decidedly intense ones like Shana Abe’s Drakon series, with complex world-building like Kresley Cole’s Immortal After Dark series, or with strong mystery plots like Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series.

 

Merry Christmas! May today remind you of compassion and the gift of life that made all our days filled with grace. Let us be thankful whatever our faith or religion is.

And let us be giving as well. Please donate or volunteer your time and talent to worthy causes. Please look up volunteer organizations near you and join one of them. I myself volunteer for animal welfare in the Philippines. 🙂

 

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