Destiny Binds (Timber Wolves #1) by Tammy Blackwell
Publisher: Self-Published, 2011
It’s a well-known truth here at I Love YA Fiction that I’m generally anti-trilogies but as with all things in life there are exceptions to every rule and the Timber Wolves series is definitely one of my exceptions. I actually owe Judith for this one – I had seen it online but couldn’t bring myself to purchase it (shape-shifters are not usually my cup of tea) but then she loaned it along with a string of other books and I didn’t even realize what I was reading but I loved it! And then I found out there’s more!! And now I obsessively check the author’s blog at least twice a month hoping to find out when the third book will be released (September 11 is her latest prediction).
Plot: At the start of her senior year Scout (real name: Harper Lee) meets hottie hot hot Alex and his intimidating older brother Liam who have just moved to her town of Timber, Kentucky. For some reason Scout’s brother (well, step-brother) Jase is acting all weird around the Coles and orders Scout to stay as far away as possible. That’s a bit difficult since their journalism teacher decides Scout and Alex should do a series of point/counterpoint articles for the school paper. Through this interaction a friendship begins, which of course progresses into a romance, all of which is done in a sneaky way to hide it from Jase (side note: I now seriously want to start a secret club and name it the “Pretty Purple Unicorn Club” like Scout’s younger sister Angel [Secondary side note: my second choice will always be Lorelai Gilmore’s “Super Cool Party People”]). After the Coles leave town (they obvi come back) Scout decides to spy on Jase and his sexy cousin Charlie in order to find out the big secret about the Coles: they’re shape-shifters, wolves to be specific. The more shocking development: Jase, Charlie, and all the men in his family are also shape-shifters, but coyotes. Needless to say these groups do NOT get along and the need for secrecy between Alex and Scout increases. But can they keep their relationship secret forever? How can Scout even feel this strongly for Alex when she’s loved Charlie for years? And why the heck does John Davis smell like Play-Doh?? (This last one is never answered but I NEED TO KNOW!)
Review: I love this book. I love Scout, I love Alex, I love Scout’s bff Talley, and for some reason I’m completely fascinated by Liam even though I don’t think he says a single word in the entire book (how is it that some characters are so compelling for no discernible reason?!). I even love Scout’s younger sister Angel, the evil genius. Shockingly enough I actually loved this book more after re-reading it, something that for me is a rarity.
Okay but none of that is a real review, is it? I thought all of the characterizations
were well written, I loved all the little stories the author added (especially the one about Jace bringing Scout the sock monkey when they were like 3), all of the action was purposeful and had proper build-up, and even the shape-shifter stuff was interesting – possibly the first time I’ve EVER said that about shape-shifters. Oh and, unlike so very many first series books, the action is not repetitive, nor does it
drag, and the fact that it’s a trilogy actually makes sense! It’s like my Holy Grail! (HA! Which makes me laugh because Scout further cements her awesomeness in the 2nd book by quoting one of my favorite movies – Monty Python and the Holy Grail.)
However, all this being said, this isn’t exactly the most light-hearted book of all time. There’s the feud between the wolf and coyote packs, Scout dealing with expectations from both Alex and Charlie, clowns (so creepy), and at the end of the book the death of one character (sob!) and serious injury to another – both mentally and physically.
In the end I’m going to give this one a 10 out of 10. And maybe write the author and ask her to be my bff because anyone who can write a character like Scout MUST be awesome in real life, right? (This is a woman whose blog slogan is “If you can’t say anything sarcastic, don’t say anything at all”. She’s my soul mate!!!)
Based on the following criteria:
How much did I like the heroine: 10+. Scout is funny, intelligent, make lots of pop culture references (Buffy! Fraggle Rock! One of my many tv boyfriends Dean Winchester!), is kick-ass at Tae Kwon Do, and handles a lot of freaky crap without losing her mind. I would have to say that Scout has actually reached a Katy/JJ level of adoration and want-to-be friendship in my mind. High praise indeed.
How much did I like the love interest: 10. Oh man the squee’s were flying left and right while reading this one. So technically there are two love interests (Alex and Charlie) but since the main romantical relationship of this book is Alex, and the Charlie adoration is set mostly pre-book, I’m going to focus on Alex. (Well, except to say that the whole Charlie prom/dance thing almost made my brain explode due to all the squee’ing going on.) Alex is smart, funny, amazing with the evil genius, and seriously loves Scout. I loved so many of the Scout/Alex interactions that I could write pages and pages. (One of my absolute faves was when Scout goes to see Alex shift and when he asks her if she brought anything to entertain herself she says “Oh, you know, frisbees, tennis balls, rawhides. I’m really excited. I’ve never had a puppy before” and Alex is horrified. Hehe.)
How believable is the plot: 5. I mean – shape-shifters? Not exactly believable. But who cares, the book was awesome.
How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc: 10. This is an author who knows how to edit. In ALL my readings of the book I’ve never noticed anything significant.
How much did I want to keep reading: 10. Are you kidding me? Serious warning: do NOT interrupt me when I’m reading this book or the sequel. I’ll be so mad. And while I’m not Scout-level amazing with Tae Kwon Do I did take 5 whole months in college AND I broke a board. Watch out!
Glasses of wine I drank while reading: 1. But only because the injury and death at the end were too much to handle!
Final Score: 10/10. Seriously guys – READ THIS BOOK. If you don’t love it then I’m sorry but it’s at the top of the top for me when it comes to YA novels. I’m literally about to start a countdown until book #3 comes out. (I’ll also be doing a review for #2, so be on the watch!)
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