Reviewed by: Jo
Rating (out of 5): 3.5 stars
Note: While this review will be spoiler free it will make reference to previous books in the series.
When I found out that Brazen, the first Women of the Otherworld novella to be set after the series finale, was going to starring Nick Sorrentino I was ridiculously excited. Nick has always been one of my favorite supporting characters in the series, so naturally I couldn’t wait to see what lay in store for him.
In Thirteen it was revealed that Malcolm Danvers, pack enemy number one and father of former Alpha Jeremy, was alive and well, working (albeit not entirely under his own persuasion) for a sorcerer Cabal. After slipping through the packs fingers after this discovery, Nick has been charged with the task of hunting him down. He recruits a team of supernatural mercenaries to help, headed up by half demon Vanessa. Malcolm continues to prove himself a deadly foe though, one Nick is afraid Vanessa and her team underestimate.
I adore this series, so slipping back into this world, particularly a pack-based story, was a joy. Kelley Armstrong’s writing style makes reading effortless, characters and situation fully forming in my head instantly. Returning characters feel like old friends but new characters are just as easy to embrace. The love I have for Nick may have been what left me feeling slight disappointed by this novella however.
Now in his fifties and having taken on a foster father role to two young pack members, I could understand him growing discontented with his partying ways. I’ve always liked that the characters in this series mature and move on into different phases of their lives but I have to admit I missed the cheekier side to Nick. He has always been the fun loving one to Clay’s serious character, positive and supportive but here he felt weary, sad almost.
I liked Vanessa, she was intelligent and took pride in being professional. She also had moments of insecurity that made her very relatable. The romance between her and Nick both did and didn’t work for me. I liked the realistic nature of two adults meeting and feeling a mutual growing attraction. There were some comically embarrassing moments that endeared Vanessa to me even more, but all together it just fell a bit flat for me. That isn’t to say it necessarily needed to be a love at first sight affair (the slow burn of Jeremy and Jamie’s relationship remains one of my favorites of the series) but I guess I just wanted more passion for Nick.
The plot was fast and brutal, weaving between mind games and action, with Malcolm living up to his infamous reputation. Pack dynamics once again play a major role, an element that I love. I was enjoying it immensely up until the climax, which felt almost as if the novella cut off halfway through, ending before any resolution.
I think if Brazen had been with a more established pairing, or perhaps a prequel to a full-length novel I would have enjoyed it more. As it stands it’s unclear whether there will be more novellas featuring Nick and Vanessa, although the way is certainly paved. While I still adore this world and characters (and will mostly definitely be picking up any future novellas) Brazen just didn’t work for me as well as previous installments.
Sexual content: scenes of a sexual nature