Review – Wilder by Christina Dodd

Wilder cover image
Publisher: Penguin
Publish Date: Out Now
How I got this book: ARC from the publisher

Only beloved storyteller Christina Dodd could bring you the explosive paranormal excitement of the Chosen Ones combined with Aleksandr Wilder’s story of redemption … and love …
As a young man, Aleksandr Wilder abandoned his duty, and for that lapse, he was tortured, tormented…and transformed. Now he prowls the tunnels beneath the city, a warrior against the forces of hell, never daring to dream that he can live as a man again.
After seven years battling the world’s ultimate evil, Chosen One Charisma Fangorn has become a tough, strong fighter without illusions or joy…even her gift of hearing the earthsong has faded. Deaf to her own instincts, she never suspects that a monster lurks in the dark underneath the streets.
When Aleksandr finds Charisma under attack, he rescues and cares for her, and hope stirs once more in his heart…and in the world. But in the secret recesses of his soul, he knows the truth. So exceptional a woman could never love a beast…could she?

This blurb came from the author’s website here.

I tend to enjoy Dodd’s writing in all of her various genres; from historical, contemporary, romantic suspense and paranormal romance. I was first introduced to this particular paranormal world in Dodd’s Darkness Chosen series. After the conclusion of those four books she started her Chosen Ones series. I eagerly got and read the first two books, but then real life got in the way thanks to my day job, and I missed books three and four. Regardless, I went ahead and accepted the review request for Wilder which is the last book in the series because I felt confident in Dodd’s skill as a writer that I would not be too lost. I was correct. Even though I had missed some significant events and learning the personalities of two of the couples I was still able to dive right in. Having said that however, I do not recommend starting this series with Wilder because too much is set up in the first two books that is used to tie together the entire arc.

When Wilder starts, The Chosen Ones (good guys) are in a pretty bad situation. They are down to five of the seven Chosen Ones needed for the final confrontation with evil. One of the seven vanished three years ago and the other vanished recently. Charisma found herself trapped and hunted deep under the streets of New York. After being bitten by a demon she was rescued by a “thing” known as the Guardian. He appeared underground almost two years ago and has since protected those who live down there from the demons who are infiltrating our world as the power of evil grows. Guardian only has faint patches of memory and is a mix of a man and a beast. The other inhabitants living underground accept his strangeness because they all have their own inabilities to deal with the outside world, and the Guardian keeps them safe.

The combination of the demon’s bite and the flash explosion used to kill them caused Charisma to lose her sight. She depended on Guardian at first for everything but as she healed her normal independence started to show. While she healed from the effects of the demon’s poisonous bite she got to know Guardian and ended up sharing parts of her past with him. Their time together allowed a sense of physical desire to grow between them but each had their own issues with emotional intimacy. After sharing a smoking hot smex scene their mutual fears rise up and led to a much needed clearing of the air. Once Guardian and Charisma understood that they both had feelings for each other their trust and love started to grow. Guardian was willing to leave his underground home and meet the other Chosen Ones while Charisma, still emotionally fragile from a previous encounter with the bad guys, wanted to share her friends with him. Unfortunately their romance seemed more of the “fated mate” type then one allowed to develop on its own especially as my suspicious about Guardian grew stronger and stronger.

Before Charisma and Guardian could stand up against the, almost fully manifested, power of evil they had to make some very hard choices to gain emotional growth and maturity. Each received some advice and help from unexpected corners, but they had to make the choice to accept it and to take action. While I guessed Guardian’s real identity rather early in the book I did not know how he ended up in his particular condition and underground. Discovering what happened to him and who did that provided just another layer of evil to the bad guys.

Parts of the book were predictable, but I still wanted to know how the events to close out this arc were going to transpire. Dodd does her usual complete job of tying up all the loose ends and even bringing back characters from a previous series with experience defeating evil as additional support. She also leaves room for the next set of Chosen Ones to continue the never-ending war for the next seven-year cycle.

I give Wilder a B/B-

Links to purchase

Amazon | Kindle | BN

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