Natural Evil (Elder Races #4.5)

Natural EvilBy Thea Harrison

Publisher: Samhain Publishing Ltd.
Publication Date: March 20, 2012
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Source: Purchased

Claudia Hunter is on a road trip through the Nevada desert when she sees the body of a dog on the side of the highway. Pulling over to investigate, she quickly determines that the enormous animal is clinging to life. While working to save him with the help of the local vet, Claudia realizes there’s something about the creature that seems more. Other. Wyr. Which makes this case of animal cruelty attempted murder.

Too injured to shape shift, Luis Alvaraz is reluctant to tell Claudia what he knows about his attack, afraid it will only make her a target. But the sheriff is corrupt, and his attackers know Luis is alive and vulnerable. To make matters worse, a sandstorm is sweeping into town, and if they’re going to survive the night, Luis will have to place all his trust in Claudia.

Warning: Take a gorgeous man temporarily stuck in the dog house, add a strong, take-no-prisoners woman, mix in encroaching enemies and a raging sandstorm and stir to combine. Enjoy with a freshly opened can of whoop-ass.

Goodreads Summary

I sincerely love Harrison’s Elder Races series even if I’m not always thrilled with some of the books, because I love the characters and settings and she usually creates such interesting conflicts. They’re like stale Peeps to me (since it’s that time of year), totally addicting even though sometimes they don’t make my stomach feel all that great. This is the second novella released, and like True Colors, it takes place outside of the general world of the main characters in the full length novels. While I liked most of the first novella, this story just didn’t work on any level for me unfortunately.

When retired Green Beret Claudia comes across what appears to be a severely injured dog by the side of the road, she feels compelled to help. Claudia is a bit telekinetic and telepathic, enough to tell her that this dog might be Other, a Wyr. With the help of a rather shady deputy sheriff, she gets the dog to a vet who confirms her suspicion. In a town of less than 2,000 people, there’s apparently a human vet who can sniff out a Wyr. Who knew?

Backtracking through some town gossip and going on some hunches about the cop who helped bring the Wyr in with her, Claudia figures out that the attack was related to some work on a local mine. I’m not entirely sure how, to be honest, it didn’t make a lot of sense to me. There were large sections of the story that made no sense to me, which in a novella is a bad thing. As Claudia is off doing one thing, Luis (the dog, aka “Precious”) is being healed miraculously so he can become suitably, suddenly overprotective. He explains the mine thing to Claudia in detail but it still made no sense to me. I know how travel to the Other Land works from past books. This makes no sense.

I read a lot of novellas so I judge them a little differently maybe. I could have excused the nonsensical plot if I’d actually cared at all about Claudia and Luis but I got nothing at all from them. If this was a full length novel, I still don’t think I’d have gotten anything from them. Claudia was stone cold – she barely spoke, the reason having something to do with having spent time overseas in combat. Fine, she doesn’t say things out loud, but her thoughts were just as robotic and sterile. There wasn’t much to Luis at all. He was a dog then when he was changed to a man he was consumed with lust or generally out of the scenes in favor of the lifeless Claudia.

My Summary: These novellas aren’t part of the main series since the characters don’t seem like they’re going to ever appear in those books, so they’re not exactly critical to read to keep up with entire Elder Races world. I’ll still keep picking them up because I like Harrison’s writing and the entire Wyr universe and who knows when there’ll be a huge gem worth adding to my reread shelf. This wasn’t it. It didn’t even end in a place I felt really happy and satisfied with. I don’t like finishing books and feeling unsettled, but that’s probably the best word I can come up with to describe this experience.

My Rating: D

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