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Urban Fantasy Audiobook Review: Black Rook by Kelly Meade

Black Rook by Kelly Meade (Cornerstone Run Trilogy #1)

Audio copy thanks to Audible Studios

Synopsis from Goodreads
She never saw this coming…

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.

Audible US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK


* * *

I'm always cautious going into a new urban fantasy, but this was a really decent, surprisingly bloody read. It's somewhat similar to Alpha and Omega series by Patricia Briggs - its matter of fact practicall ruthlessness with no embellishments worked well for me.

At the same time the main heroine was a bit of a self-sacrificing doormat, and I'm hoping she will step up her game in the future books in this series. She already started showing her claws closer to the ending of Black Rook, so I'm hopeful.

The world-building is localized but solid, and the tight-knitted pack of loup-garou living in a sanctuary town was a pleasure to read about. McQueens as a family were lovely, strong and loyal to each other, and I enjoyed their interactions more than Brynn and Rook's love story. Sorry, "mates meant for each other" has never been one of my favorite tropes.

As to the narrator, Xe Sands was fantastic, and only added to my positive experience from the book. Overall, this is a promising beginning of a new series, and I'm sure I'll be listening to any new installments. Recommended.

* * *
Я всегда осторожно влезаю в новые серии городского фэнтези, но к моему облегчению, Чёрная Ладья оказалась довольно хорошим чтивом и на удивление кровавым. Она немного напомнила мне серию Альфа и Омега от Патриции Бриггз своей беспощадной практичностью без каких-либо приукрашиваний.

В то же время, главная героиня, Бринн, постоянно пытается пожертвовать собой и ведёт себя как половичок, что раздражает. Однако под конец книги она наконец-то начинает выпускать коготки, так что не всё потеряно!

Построение мира, несмотря на локализацию, очень прочное. Стая луп-гару в городке-убежище функционирует как большая, прочная, верная и любящая друг друга семья с МакКуинами во главе, и читала я о них с удовольствием. Единственный сюжетный поворот, который пришёлся мне не по душе - это неизбежность влюблённости друг в друга Бринн и Рука как пары, созданной друг для друга (я - не любитель таких паранормальных клише).

Наконец, рассказчица аудио книги, Ксе Сандс - просто прекрасна, и только добавила удовольствия в прослушивании этой книги. В общем, рекомендую. Хорошее начало серии, буду продолжать слушать.
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