Review By: Sarah
Title: Werewolves Be Damned
Series: A Magic and Mayhem Novel
Author: Stacey Kennedy
Blurb: Nexi Jones—part witch, part guardian, and wannabe kick-ass warrior—can’t throw a punch or conjure the simplest magic. But that doesn’t stop her from hunting the werewolves who slaughtered her human family. She’ll have her revenge, but only if Kyden, the elite guardian, would get the hell out of her way.
Kyden can’t decide if Nexi wants to get herself killed or if she just has no clue what she’s doing. But her father made it clear: keep Nexi safe…or else. Of course, the more Nexi runs toward revenge, the more she needs Kyden’s aid, and as she grows into her power and confidence, so does his desire to protect her. The only problem? She’d rather he dropped dead.
But when a vampire paints a bull's-eye on Nexi’s back, she’s hard-pressed to deny Kyden and the help he’s offering. Even if it means getting her revenge will be a little bit harder. At least it will still be as sweet.
Thoughts: The book begins with the murder of Nexi's adopted family, and a mass of confusion. She finds herself dealing with attacking werewolves and men dressed in kilts and brandishing swords. Eventually, Nexi discovers her true heritage within the Otherworld, and sets out to use her new skills to avenge her family. That is if she can get away from Kyden long enough.
Kyden is frustrated with Nexi's constant disappearing. He understands that she needs revenge, but she's a novice in the ways of the Otherworld. Kayden agrees to train her to use her guardian powers, and in the process tries to tempt her into claiming him - since he wants to be what he thinks she desires. But he becomes more protective than ever when they find out that the vampire they are searching for is the one who killed her birth mother, and drained her of her witch powers.
The main premise of the book was good, and I really enjoyed a lot of the interactions between Nexi and Kyden. Especially so when Kayden is trying to tempt Nexi into making a move towards him. You can practically see the sparks between them, especially during the mock fight scenes when they are training together. I also enjoyed many of the secondary characters, especially Valor, whom I hope gets a book of his own!
However, I did have a few complaints with the book. For a novel so complex, dealing with the 'Otherworld', portals, guardians, witches, a Council, both good and bad factions of werewolves, etc., I thought it was difficult to really get into the book at first. It jumps right in, without explaining anything about this new world and how it works, and that seems really confusing at first. It seems almost as if you are already expected to know the details behind this strange new world. While you are able to piece it all together eventually, for me the book would have been better served if more time was spent in building up the world itself.
There were also a lot of secondary characters to keep up in the meantime. While I didn't find that too much of an issue myself, I can see where some readers would have issues keeping up with who's-who within the novel, especially after also having to try to figure out what's going on within the story itself. However, I would like to remind readers that this is the first of a series, so that is to be expected.
Another issue I had with the book was the fact that Nexi, within the span of a short period of time, manages to jump from a totally inexperienced "human" - having had all her magical abilities blocked - to being a "super-warrior" who can stand toe-to-toe against friend and foe - ones who are the elite of the supernatural world and have years of experience on her.
With that said, while this may not be a series I am clamoring to read, it is still worth a read. The potential is there, and I hope that with each addition to the series that the books get better and better!
Note: After researching further books by this author, it has come to my attention that this novel is actually a re-release of The Willow - The Magical Sword Book One - with a few things changed (for example, instead of her adoptive parents being killed off by werewolves, they are actually in a car wreck). It would be interesting to read what else might be different throughout the novel. There are also three other books in The Magical Sword series, as well as an additional Otherworld title, which are Out of Print with Limited Availability. Which I anticipate to also be re-released within The Magic and Mayhem series.
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