I have read so many werewolf romances that I feel I have seen just about everything...but a werewolf romance where no one actually shifts into a wolf? That one was new for me. Zoe Forward did a great job with world building though, making it very clear (several times) how the Crown's Wolves came to be, how they were superhuman rather than human-to-animal shifters, and why there bound to serve against their will. It was fascinating to read about, and I felt myself easily drawn into the drama that filled their lives. I have read several books recently that center around female being rare in a particular species, whether that be a shifter romance, monster/alien romance, etc., and I wonder if this is something we'll see more often in romance going forward. I love the idea that females are considered of high value and yet they fight for autonomy and the ability to decide their own fate. It feels very empowering, showing that we are worth more than our wombs.
Nova only knows three things shortly after waking up - her name, that the tight post-apocalyptic getup she's dressed in is really uncomfortable, and the key to her identity lies with the man she's sent to retrieve from the club across the street. She has no idea why he needs to leave the basement of that club, but if that's what she needs to do to get her memories back, she will do whatever it takes to get him out. Thankfully, she can apparently speak German, which makes it easy to get inside, and there she meets her target - Roman. He was there on a mission, with no expectation of a rare female lycanthrope walking in and ruining all his plans. They leave the club with a bang - literally - and with her memories still gone, they find themselves stuck together until they can determine who she is. But with this dilemma comes another problem. Roman is being called to serve the Crown, which he is bound to obey, and his duty puts Nova in even more danger. As they race against time to get her to safety, Roman must fight against his curse, get Nova to safety, and resist the temptation to keep her for himself.
This was a complex yet really entertaining read! So much information packed into one novel, but it wasn't so overwhelming that I couldn't still appreciate all the nuances involved. Nova was a formidable woman, even with her memory loss, and she refused to accept that she would just be forever without her memories. Her interactions with Roman were so genuine and real, and while she recognized she needed him, she also saw that he may need her just as much. As a female lycanthrope, she is rare among their kind, and she must be protected at all costs. But when that protection comes at a terrible price for her man, she knows that she will do anything to make sure he is safe too. Their chemistry was off the charts, their attraction felt real and natural, and although there was certainly some insta-lust, it was a slower burn romance that left me on the edge of my seat waiting for them to finally give in to their desires. She tested his resolve, he tested her patience, and the entire time I was reading faster in eager anticipation of when they would inevitably light their passion on fire. So romantic, so heartbreaking, and absolutely worth the read.
With three brothers, this series definitely has a lot more drama and romance to bring to readers! I can't wait to read the next installment.
**I received a free copy via NetGalley and this is my honest review.**