Mini-Review: Black Rook by Kelly Meade

Black RookTitle: Black Rook (Cornerstone Run #1)

Author: Kelly Meade

Publisher: InterMix on July 15, 2014

Source: Library

Rating StarRating Starstar_half

Brynn Atwood is a low-level Magus whose unpredictable precognitive powers have made her an outcast among her people—and an embarrassment to her highly-regarded father. After a frightening vision in which her father is murdered by a loup garou man, Brynn decides to prove herself by finding the killer, and stopping them at any cost.

Her target is Rook McQueen, the son of a small-town loup garou Alpha. Despite being the youngest of three, Rook is first in line to inherit the role of Alpha, a duty he isn’t sure he’s capable of fulfilling. When Brynn finally meets Rook, she doesn’t expect the attraction that draws her to him—and him to her.

No longer believing him a murderer, Brynn and Rook strike an alliance to find her father’s real killer. But when his older brother is targeted by an unknown enemy, Rook will have to choose between his growing feelings for Brynn and his duty as the future Alpha of his community.

I have a complicated relationship with paranormal romance, mostly because of its close relationship to urban fantasy. UF is my favourite and I love everything about it, from the emphasis on character building to the emphasis on setting to the snappy dialogue. BUT. Sometimes I just want some romance, you know? One where I don’t need to wait like 9 books for my ship to get together. Sadly my impatience and love of love usually ends up resulting in some pretty cheesy stories. Was Black Rook one of them? Yes and no. Behold, the cheese and not-cheese elements!

Cheese:

1. Three brothers named Rook, Knight, and Bishop? And no one comments on the weirdness of that?! COME ON.

2. My least favourite werewolf trope (possibly the only thing I don’t like about them) is the insta-love that’s justified by the mate bond. Whatever, I know nothing about this woman but my wolf “perks up” whenever she draws near! It’s MEANT TO BE.

3. When Rook and Brynn finally do get together (this is PNR people, that ain’t a spoiler!) he starts getting fancy with his compliments. It’s pretty embarrassing. “You are the song of my heart” gets tossed around once or twice.

Not-cheese:

1. In Meade’s world, a werewolf’s position in their pack’s hierarchy is determined by the colour of their fur. Since Rook is a black wolf, he’s more powerful and of higher rank than his older brothers. There are also gray and white wolves, with whites being the most rare. They white wolves are gifted/cursed with extreme empathy and the ability to calm other wolves, and as such they’re highly coveted. White wolves are also the only ones able to mate with other supes, which is yet another burden they must bear.

2. The relationships between the three brothers, cheesy as their names may be, were very well developed. It was nice to see the layers between Rook and Bishop, and Bishop and Knight in particular.

Final thoughts:

I’d feel remiss in omitting the fact that there are some triggering events in Black Rook. There is a sexual assault that occurs, and while it isn’t graphic, it’s very clear that a character has been rapedSadly it isn’t that uncommon for a main or secondary character to be raped in PNR and UF but despite the obviously disturbing content, I thought Meade handled it with much more sensitivity and subtlety than some other writers.

I honestly feel kind of weird giving this book such a bad rating. I just thought it was super “meh,” even below-average in some parts. It’s clear that the fallout from the sexual assault will be an extended story arc throughout the series and honestly I just don’t want to read about that. Everyone’s got their RAGE issue with books and rape is mine. I can only think of one series where it’s occurred that I’ve been able to keep reading, and that’s because I was already hooked by that point. If you’re looking for a light, clever, and swoon-worthy werewolf romance…you should probably look elsewhere.

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  • Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    Ha! I like your Cheese section on this. This is definitely not a book for me! 🙂

  • Oh my gosh, those names are epic, lol.

  • I kinda am over werewolves because of the pack dynamic justifying creepy sex. Leave that out, and I am back to loving me some werewolves, which should be WAY better than vampires.

    • Werewolves are superior to vampires, no question. Unfortunately creepy sex can definitely be had by both groups – and often is. I think I’ll just avoid ebook only PNR since it always seems weirder than books that are also released in print.

  • I thought the characters names were pretty ingenious personally, and I don’t mind insta-love in werewolf books because of the whole mate thing. At least there’s a reason behind it, as opposed to a lot of other PNR books. Rape is usually a deal breaker for me too, but it didn’t play a large enough role in this novel to bother me. I’ll definitely be picking up the next installment, but you should probably steer clear…

    • Good point about the mate thing. I guess I never thought about how some PNRs don’t even explain it. Definitely prefer the mate bond explanation to no explanation at all! There were some things about Black Rook that I really liked but a few too many that didn’t work for me. I guess this series just isn’t for me. But I will faithfully continue on with PNR! 🙂

  • Hmmm ok the names would bug me alot. Everything else I don’t know if it would bother me. I would possibly still give this one a try.

  • Yeah . . . insta-love is a big no-no for me too, but I’m actually dead in the middle between you and Carmel when it involves the “mate” bond. I can handle it, if it begins as insta-attraction/longing/whatever, but then over the course of the book the author takes pains to develop those feelings into a real, believable relationship. BUT I hate the idea of two people/creatures being forced to be together by nothing more than fate. HATE it. Rape is a sore subject for me too . . . BAH. It doesn’t really matter b/c I’m supposed to read it anyway, LOL. Sorry it fell flat for you 🙁

    • I feel bad being so cut or dry, but I mean…why *is* it that the wolf always knows who their mate is right away? Don’t they need to like…sniff some butts first or something? Questions that demand answers, I say! Uh oh! Seriously though, you may really like it! The writing wasn’t bad or anything like that, the story just really wasn’t for me. I will definitely keep my eyes peeled for your review!