Reviewed by Chris
TITLE: Ward & Weft
AUTHOR: Parker Foye
PUBLISHER: Carina Press
LENGTH: 112 pages
RELEASE DATE: September 1, 2017
For generations, the magic wardens and the fierce werewolves combined forces to keep their enemies at bay. But when his family breaks longstanding ties to the pack that’s been a part of his life since birth, warden Griffith Jones sets out on a journey to learn all he can of the magic that will reunite them. And reunite Griffith with the first—and only—man he’s ever loved.
Llywelyn ap Hywel, son of the alpha, can’t let painful—or passionate—memories of Griffith distract him. His dwindling pack is in trouble, reeling from loss and locked in a grim battle with a dangerous rival—a pack with a warden who hasn’t abandoned them. A warden whose dark magic could destroy them all.
Up against enemies determined to steal their land and end life as they know it, Griffith and Llywelyn must fight as one to protect all they hold dear—their territory, their people and the fiery love they can no longer deny.
After years of being gone, Griffith Jones has finally returned to his home in Wales. But it is not the same home as when he left. His grandmother, the last Warden of the local land, is dead and buried. The local pack, who had included his best friends while growing up, after suffering major loses has turned on Griffith. The magic in the land seems to have fled its place. No, nothing is the same. But it is the only home that Griffith knows, so he will fight to keep whatever is left of it, and hope to find a way to heal the land, the magic, and his old friends.
What originally drew me towards this book was the setting and the time period. 1912, only a few years before the start of the first world war, seemed like an interesting time to set this story. And in this world where magic appears to be common place, and where wolf shifters roam the land, I figured there was a lot of promise for this story.
But there was something about the writing style of this book that kept me at arm’s-length. I never really felt connected to this story in the way I would have liked. And what was barely 100 pages long, dragged on. Slowly. The writing was at time really descriptive and beautiful, but it didn’t draw me in. In fact it did the opposite.
The writing also didn’t evoke an early 20th century feel at all. And no, killing off several members of the old pack by having them be on the Titanic does not count. In fact that made me roll my eyes so hard. And despite the books attempts to say other wise (“They were travelling on the Titanic to the Council summit and—Details aren’t important.“) details are kinda important. And this book basically rests its whole setting on name dropping a few time-period appropriate events, and calling it done. Which is especially vexing because you have all this magic and shifter shit going on, and the reader can never really be sure where exactly this alternate history meshes with our own history.
There were plenty of intriguing elements–the magic here sounded incredibly interesting from what it explained–but for some reason it never wanted to delve too deeply into any of it. And what it did go into was explained just enough to make things confusing. At multiple points in this story Griffith says that magic is dying or dead. And yet, he uses magic throughout the whole book. We are never really given an explanation to help parse this. Is there a difference between the types of magic used in this book? Is it a matter of scale? Is it only in the UK that it is dying, or is it the whole world? Why is magic dying? I don’t need answers to all these questions, but some of them would have been nice. I was really interested in what we learned about the magic in this book, but with no real grounding for any of it, I was left more confused than anything.
The characters never really popped off the page. All the backstory with Griffith came across as rather cliche (especially in regards to his Evil Mentor) with hardly any attempts to make it stand out enough for me to care. Even the supposed payoff of that whole subplot at the end of the book lacked any teeth. Llywelyn–Griffith’s love interest and one of the shifters–is equally bland. After having read this book, I can’t even come up with anything about him that sets him apart from a hundred other shifter MCs. I liked that he wasn’t the Alpha of the pack…but that’s hardly enough.
I know that this review seems incredibly negative, but I’m mostly just sad that this book didn’t live up to the promise I could clearly see in the story. I think it was genuinely trying to do something here, but it just fell short more often than not. That is why I ended up going with three stars. I do like that it tried, and I think that people can get something out of, it just leaned a bit too hard on the “aren’t my words pretty” and a bit too little on “isn’t my story compelling.”