May 5, 2012

Review: Bonds of Fenris, by S.J. Bell

Author: S.J. Bell
Title: Bonds of Fenris
Publisher: S.J. Bell (May 7th 2012)
Disclaimer: Copy received for review purposes.

Buy your copy: [links not live at the moment]

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Talia Thornwood's life ended one year ago, when she became a werewolf. She survived the attack, and the horrifying transformation a month later, but the life she has now is barely worth living. She lurks about in a filthy, run-down house, with too many werewolves crammed into too small a space. Every day is a struggle against the stress of human contact, the romantic prodding of her obnoxious packmate Pierce, and the gnawing hunger for flesh in her soul.

She's all but resigned herself to a dreary existence on the margins of society when she meets Corwin. Corwin is a werewolf like none other. He walks among humans as if it was nothing, and can keep his wolf under control even when the moon is full. Talia's mind is suddenly opened to the possibilities before her, and the realization of how little she really knows about lycanthropy.

Corwin claims that he can teach her how to cope as he does, even how to transcend her affliction. But it will not be easy. It is a hard education that requires her to question everything her pack taught her, and confront exactly what she has become. And, more amazingly, what she never stopped being.”
GoodReads’ blurb

This is a beautiful book.

When the author offered me a review copy, he told me a bit about the essence of the book, but even then I couldn’t have guessed the real depth in this one.

First off, let me say that this is not—I repeat, not—your average werewolf book. We’re used to paranormal creatures that just exist, to doomed love stories, to perfect romances and, failing that, crazy action. Well, how does a werewolf get to existing, actually? How does a bitten human cope? What changes in their lives? What hopes and expectations can they have?

Those are the questions addressed by this novel. There’s no easy answer: Talia will fight tooth and nail to find it, to understand and accept her life and reclaim her future. Corwin will be there for her, or will he? One thing is for certain: no sweeping off her feet. Their relationship will start in very simple terms, and will grow from there, occasionally stumbling and always progressing, but theirs isn’t a fairytale romance where love happens at first sight and endures everything you can throw at it. I certainly have a soft spot for them as a couple, but it’s because I think they’d be good for each other, and I believe they’d genuinely work.

Her life and Corwin’s position in it is only the first hurdle for Talia. Reality is harsh, and the harsh truth is that she might have found her answers, but what about the rest of her pack? Are they even her pack anymore? What’s she going to do about that?

Frankly, when I thought that the story might let up and slip into more conventional topics for the genre, the author pulled out an ace that kept me tense and nearly biting my nails, because obnoxious or not there are certain characters (or character) that I’d grown to like and... the stakes are so high.

On top of an original approach, memorable characters and a plot that’s tightly woven with tension, if not from your usual bag guys-good guys kind, Bonds of Fenris offers some food for thought in case you’re so inclined (and you know me, always thinking twice about everything in a book...) The lessons the pack undergoes are harsh, but what they learn could be applied to any of us, I think. Just saying, in case you needed something extra to push you in the right direction—toward buying this novel.

I seriously think you should consider Bonds of Fenris if you enjoy paranormal books at all, and are interested in reading something that steps out of the clich├ęs to give you a deep, well thought-out interpretation on traditional werewolves.


  1. Hmm! This does sound very interesting. I like that it's got some uniqueness and twistiness to it. And yes, how to live with the changes are something nearly every other book kind of glosses over, so it'd be interesting to see that particular struggle given some development and page time. Great review as always, Ron! :)

    1. I loved it. Take all your classic werewolf books... this is nothing like them. Deeper, more elegant, and still incredibly tense at times. I had expectations for this one, and it met every single one of them!

  2. Sounds like a really good book. Will have to add it to my TBR pile, you know the endless one that keeps growing :)

    1. Hahaha! I know how you feel. Mine really needs to go on a diet too! :)

    2. I refuse to put mine on a diet instead I engage in many fantasies of learning a way to stop time so I can read and review them all. I have multiple fantasies involving this scenario. Since it's unlikely to happen, instead I tried to read as many as I can as often as I can. Fortunately I'm a fairly fast reader. Finished up with the last of my four non challenge books today so I'll have at minimum four days to finish up with the other four challenge books I haven't read yet though I'm actually hoping to finish them by the 10th so I can keep up with my pre-read-a-thon schedule. You know the way I've got my reading list lined up I might actually have it backward I think I'm planning to read more before the read-a-thon than I am during it. lol. Oh well I plan to look at it as an extended read-a-thon, instead of reading lots of books for just a week in May I'll drown in books the whole month lol.

  3. Yay yay! Bonds of Fenris isn't a typical werewolf book, I agree! And yes, it's beautiful. I'm so glad you enjoyed it too! =)

    1. Yep! I had high expectations, and they held! This was such a great new take on werewolves! :)