Author: Phetra H. Novak
Genre: LGBT, Romance and Relationships, Fantasy, Adventure, Adult
Published: 15th August, 2016
Length: 82,000 words (272 pages) approx.
ISBN: Paperback ISBN: 978-1-78645-066-1
eBook ISBN: 978-1-78645-067-8
Formats: ebook (epub, mobi, PDF)
Haven Naranjo is a proud Caddo Indian, with a frightening past. He was a mere fifteen-year-old boy when he found his parents, part of his tribe, and his high-school sweetheart slaughtered by a wereman gone mad. Falling victim to a system unable to deal with a shattered young mind, Haven finally gives up on himself. He grows up to be bitter and resentful toward the creatures he hates: werewolves.
Alexander Prescott has known since he hit puberty that Haven is his true mate. But there's one problem: Alexander comes from a large werewolf clan and is the true vessel of the Fenrir Ulv, destined to become the leader of all supernatural beings: the King of Wolves.
Alexander knows how to charm his, and his wolf's, way into the grumpy Caddo Indian man's heart. But fate has other plans for them.
When war between the Asa Gods and the Fenrir Ulv threatens, which side will the damaged Haven choose? Will he find a way of trusting those, especially Alexander, who he feels betrayed him? Or will he trust the words of strangers, who promise to make his quest of seeing all shifters dead a reality?
Haven's Revenge is a story of an emotional journey for a whole community. It's about finding acceptance not just from others but in yourself.
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Reading Haven's Revenge, I realised something that's kind of obvious. It was something I already knew, but I've read so many stories over the past five years - not all of them good - that I'd forgotten.
And it's this:
If a story is well-written, the genre doesn't matter.
See, I've never been keen on shifter stories. I've always found them too contrived and a bit...odd, to put it politely. I avidly watch Supernatural, and I'm prepared to temporarily invest my belief in fantastic creatures for an hour of Dean and Sam Winchester exuding masculinity in the obliteration of evil, but it's only TV.
A book is different. The images are more vivid (results may vary), the scenery less significant, and whilst I'm more than happy for Dean Winchester to be about as deep as a grunting puddle, in books, for me, characterisation is everything.
That depth of characterisation is what I find lacking in most shifter stories, regardless of whether they're romance, horror or thriller. The average shifter is portrayed as a mostly human hybrid who finds his/her shifting an inconvenience, albeit one that comes with a few added advantages - great sense of smell, ability to leap from buildings and land unharmed on all fours, or whatever. The shape-shifting is an add-on to the human condition rather than integral to the character's being.
This is NOT how it is with Haven's Revenge, which, on one level, is an insightful allegory of real-world oppression. The shifter community exist in secrecy, finding support and companionship in each other and trusted allies. For centuries, they've been happy to keep to themselves, but times are changing, and they're preparing to come out into the open - not to shove their shifter identity in non-shifters' faces; they're coming out because there are great dangers facing both human and shifter kind.
So there's a broader, overarching political element to Haven's Revenge. It's not heavy in this regard, but it lends a wonderful layer of authenticity to the story.
There's also the cultural aspect of Haven's Revenge, which marries Caddo and Norse history and legend, and again, it's subtle. The horrifying opening chapter takes place in a Caddo community, and stepping outside the story, it could have been anywhere. But within the context of the story, the events are foretold. Young Haven endures a terrible encounter that is life-changing, although, for him, it's a case of 'what doesn't kill you makes you rude and obnoxious'.
On the Norse side, there are the children of the Fenrir Ulv, wolf shifters scattered all over the world, but it is the Prescotts on which the story focuses - a large clan whose alpha and his family run the Prescott ranch close to the Caddo community where Haven and his grandparents reside. The author's research really pays off in the way she's been able to intricately weave the legends into the narrative so that they become one with the story as it unfolds.
Lastly, and most importantly, there is the story of Haven's redemption and Alexander Prescott's integral role in that. Haven and Alexander are utterly brilliant characters. On the one hand, there's Haven's sweary muttering and constant grumpiness, and he has every right to act that way, but at times it's hilarious. On the other, there's Alexander's total understatement of the significant. He's going to be the King of Wolves, yet his only concern is getting Haven on side. Granted, the two goals are interdependent, but Alexander is so down-to-earth and real, he's a joy to read about.
Alongside Haven and Alexander, there is a rich cast of supporting characters in the form of Haven's grandparents, Alexander's family, the guys working the ranch, the owners of bars, restaurants and stores in the local town, the Asa Guards, the human politicians, even Mrs. F-ing Harris and Anthony. Here again, the author has done an outstanding job of introducing this large cast gradually, giving the reader a chance to get to know each and every one of them. I know when an author gets this right for me by my depth of feeling towards the characters and how much they make me laugh, cry, rage or simply sit back and wonder how they're doing.
That's what I'm doing right now - wondering how Sean, Milton, a certain politician and his silver fox, and all those other secondary characters are getting along and whether I'll meet any of them again in book two.
Yes, indeed, there is a book two. That's the mandatory shameless plug - if you love Haven's Revenge even half as much as I did, you'll thank me later.
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About Phetra H. Novak
Phetra often refers to herself as the odd man out, the dorky book nerd. She'd rather spend time with a good book or making up fantastic stories with even more fantastic characters, than live in the real world, dealing with real people.
The real world is strange, in a very non-humorous way, and people in it complicate it to the point of wearing you out. In the written word world, whether it's someone else's words or her own, things might get busy, complicated, and even downright painful, but somewhere along the line, a hero's always on the horizon. He's probably not a prim and proper, church-going pretty-boy since the author prefers rebellious men and women who don't follow the protocols of society.
One of her favorite sayings is that 'Only dead fish follow the stream,' and well she ain't no dead fish.
Phetra lives with her family - two children, a domestic partner, and their two cats in Gothenburg, Sweden. When reading her books, you'll notice she always finds a way to bring her own culture into her stories.
The joy of reading and writing comes from her childhood and is something she has always loved, and been passionate to share with others. Phetra loves hearing from her readers, even with ideas of what they'd like to come next.
If you are looking for her, the best place to start looking is at home in the quietest corner of the house, where she'll be curled up with either her Kindle, reading or with her laptop typing away.
Blog: Seduce Me With Words
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