Thursday, September 08, 2016

Review: Haven’s Revenge (Caddo Norse #1) by Phetra H. Novak

havens revengeTitle ~ Haven’s Revenge (Caddo Norse #1)

Author ~ Phetra H. Novak

Publisher ~ Beaten Track Publishing

Published ~ 15 August 2016

Genre ~ Paranormal M/M Romance





Haven Naranjo is a proud Caddo Indian, with a frightening past. He was a mere fifteen-year-old boy when he found his parents, part of his tribe, and his high school sweetheart slaughtered by a wereman gone mad. Falling victim to a system unable to deal with a shattered young mind, Haven finally gives up on himself. He grows up to be bitter and resentful toward the creatures he hates: werewolves.
Alexander Prescott has known since he hit puberty that Haven is his true mate. But there’s one problem: Alexander comes from a large werewolf clan and is the true vessel of the Fenrir Ulv, destined to become the leader of all supernatural beings: the King of Wolves.
Alexander knows how to charm his, and his wolf’s, way into the grumpy Caddo Indian man’s heart. But fate has other plans for them.
When war between the Asa Gods and the Fenrir Ulv threatens, which side will the damaged Haven choose? Will he find a way of trusting those, especially Alexander, who he feels betrayed him? Or will he trust the words of strangers, who promise to make his quest of seeing all shifters dead a reality?
Haven’s Revenge is a story of an emotional journey for a whole community. It’s about finding acceptance not just from others but in yourself.

 Debra’s Review

This was an impressive start to a series that combines Norse mythology and Caddo Indian legend to tell the story of Alexander Prescott, the young shifter who is destined to become King of the Wolves and leader of all supernatural beings and Haven Naranjo, Alex’s lifelong friend and (unknown to Haven) his destined mate. Haven is Caddo Indian and unaware that the Prescott family, who helped raise him, are shifters, the very things he hates most since a wereman slaughtered his parents and his boyfriend when he was a young teenager.

There is a lot of background information about both cultures and their mythology that is given as the book starts. Some of it worked well for me such as Haven’s grandfather Vojin (a tribe elder whose counsel is respected by both the Caddo and shifter community) telling him tales as a young child, and the meet up between government officials and shifters, but parts of it were a bit dry and repetitive, almost like reading a history lesson. Once the teaching and myth building is out of the way, the story picks up with action, angst and chemistry between the two main characters.

Coleman Prescott’s pack and the Caddo tribe coexist in their small town in Oklahoma. After Haven lost his parents and lived with his grandparents, Coleman did all he could to help raise Haven and has always thought of him as another son. Coleman knows his youngest son’s destiny and suspects Haven’s part in it even if not all of it has yet been confirmed. Coleman harbors a lot of guilt at keeping their shifter nature from him (and he’s not the only one close to Haven who has been keeping secrets), but it’s Haven’s hatred of shifters and his ever-present pain and anger that likely keeps him from seeing what is going on not just around him with the Prescotts, but within himself as well. As much as Coleman and Haven love and respect each other, Haven can’t help but lash out and push away anyone who gets too close.

Haven has loved and wanted Alex for a long time, but pushes him away, thinking he wasn’t good enough and refusing to love anyone again after losing so much. He’s become angry and bitter with survivor’s guilt and he’s good at keeping everyone at a distance. When Alex returns from college after four years though, he’s not the kid that left and Haven may have just met his match. Alex won’t let Haven’s grumpy nature put him off from what he knows is his destiny, but it’s not just fate that drives Alex. He truly loves Haven and now that Alex feels he is a man worthy of Haven, he is going to pursue him until he has him.

There’s a lot to get through before Alex and Haven get to share any significant page time. My heart broke for Haven going through the motions of life as an angry young man. We learn a lot more about Haven than we do about Alex and although we get a few flashbacks, I wanted to see a bit more of their interactions before Alex went away to school. When Alex comes back intent on claiming Haven as his own though, the two lit up the pages with sexual tension and a deep, loving connection that Haven tries as hard as he can to deny. I was rooting for them from the moment Alex stepped back onto the ranch.

As if Alex courting Haven isn’t difficult enough, there is a war brewing as the Asa Gods, through their human guards, are looking to keep the Fenrir Ulv from finding its true vessel and some are willing to go to any length to achieve that end. As the guards hunt for the vessel, they enlist other shifters and humans alike to do their dirty work and some are willing to break the rules they’ve held sacred in order to get to Alex and Haven. Phetra Novak pulled off this part of the story well with action, tense scenes and a mix of characters you will easily love or hate.

This is the second edition of the novel, but since I haven’t read the first I can’t say what has been added or changed. I appreciated the changing points of view from Coleman, Haven and Alex as all have different positions, information and views. There are a number of storylines that are unfinished at the end of this first book; there is still a war brewing and the shifters are planning to reveal themselves. Alex’s brother, Reid, is also expected to be of great importance to the pack and has already done his job by helping to save a young, abused shifter who’s grown very attached to him. While I again would have liked to have seen more interaction between Alex and Haven once all is revealed, I imagine that will happen in the next story as they will need to be a vital part of the continuing tale (don’t worry though there isn’t a cliffhanger).

This is a very promising story and other than a few slower parts in the world building, I enjoyed Phetra Novak’s writing and storytelling ability. I’m looking forward to the continuation of the storylines and seeing how Haven and Alex grow into their new positions and responsibilities and how the rest of the community will react to the coming changes. I’m intrigued by several secondary characters and am wondering what the Asa Gods have in store for the Prescott pack. If you’re looking for a bit of a different take on shifter lore with compelling characters, romance and action I’d recommend Haven’s Revenge.

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