Review of Gena D. Lutz’s Ember’s Curse (Prime Wolf, #1)

Ember's CurseI grabbed Gena D. Lutz‘s Ember’s Curse (Prime Wolf, #1) from the Amazon KDP free list.

Description from Goodreads:
For Prime-Werewolf Ember Stilwell, life has been far from normal. Decades ago, a vengeful Witch cursed her Pack, leaving the women of her line incapable of feeling love. When an organized group of immortal killers begin to stalk and capture wolves from her pack, she sets out on a path fraught with danger. Just when it seems the world as she knows it will be changed forever, she meets Collin, an Alpha Werewolf with a body built for sin. As her heart begins to heal, she comes to find that the demons of her past are not nearly as dangerous as the nightmares she will be forced to face in her future. Can finding her true love conquer all? Or will the ability to feel for the first time be overshadowed by losing everything else she holds dear?

Review: ** Mild Spoilers**
This book had an interesting story behind it. Unfortunately, it seemed to start in the middle somewhere, with the main character, Ember, being mentally molested by a pervy vampire who never reappeared or played any role in the book. (WTF was that about? I’m still wondering.) It didn’t get any better after that. There was absolutely no world building, no character development, and no time between events to allow tension to build.

At one point a character was using a semi-automatic gun to shoot out the tires of a passing motorcycle and I thought to myself, “that’s what this book it like.” It’s literary automatic fire, with action as ammunition. There was no time between occurrences to rest or figure things out or get to know anyone. Further, there didn’t seem to be any real aim. Not to stretch the analogy too far, but like bullets shot in such quantity, there was no need for accuracy. The idea seeming to be if the author sprayed enough ammo at the reader something would hit eventually.

It would be one thing if I could have fobbed this off as erotica, where I wouldn’t expect much plot or character development. But there wasn’t even that much sex and what there was was pretty bland. So I can’t even give it that excuse. 

Now, there was quite a lot of humour in the book. Especially in the way the main group of characters ragged at each other. For example, the bitchy vampire regularly referred to her werewolf counterpart as “mongrel” and he quipped back by calling her “Vampire Barbie.” I liked that. Humour can go a long way toward redeeming a weak plot for me, but in this case, it wasn’t enough. Nor was the fact that the strongest character was a gothtastic female side character. She saved everyones butt on numerous occasions and pretty much rocked my world. I really liked her, but my complaints still continued to pile up the longer I read. I probably would have been better off to DNF this one. But I hate doing that. 

First (or second if you count the Indie-500 pace of the plotting), Insta-love doesn’t accurately depict the speed at which these two main characters fell into ‘true love.’ Seriously, they hadn’t even seen each other’s faces. They shook hands and fell to it. Seriously, 15 seconds, tops! They then instantly exchanged a lifetime of memories. While this neatly negated the pesky need to spend time letting the characters get to know one another, it also denied the reader this same opportunity. I rather like knowing the characters I’m dedicating my time to.

Further, you end up with passages like this, “You’ve been in my head. You know how important my mother is to me.” Really? Maybe he’s been in her head, but I haven’t. It was the first time her mother had been mentioned. I had no idea how she felt about her. So, all that importance she claimed, held absolutely no emotional resonance for me, except maybe a vague resentment for the presumption that I knew something I’d not been entitled to. I simply couldn’t care less as a result.

Next, time didn’t seem to mean anything. People were said to have been off doing things that took numerous hours when they only had one or two available to them. Collin had time to go buy an engagement ring to surprise Ember with, when they had spent the last several days held hostage and or fighting their way to freedom. When did this stuff happen? I’m all for a little suspension of reality for the enjoyment of fantasy, but I still need the bounds of logic to apply. 

Lastly, someone tell me why EVERY single PNR baddie seems to have to be a sexual sadist too. When he started taunting Ember with rape and using Donna, I just groaned. Really, was there no other way to show how bad he was? It’s not that I have any general problem with the use of sexual subjugation in a story, but I feel like I’ve read this same scene in hundreds of books this year and made this same comment over and over again. Do women really enjoy this? I sure don’t. I didn’t used to notice it, but it’s becoming so common it’s now hard to ignore.

The writing itself seemed to be ok and, like I said, it’s an interesting idea. Plus, a large chunk of the middle was dedicated to setting up what will obviously be a sequel (since the arranged event will be three months from this book’s happenings and it wasn’t concluded here) so there is room to grow. And there weren’t too many editorial mistakes. So, if the book had been given another 100 pages or so, spaced out among the action, to bulk up the world and character building it could have been pretty good. As it stands I won’t be looking for book two. 

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