Werewolves in Detroit. Who would ever have thought? Robots maybe, but not werewolves. However, in Cindy Spencer Pape’s third book of the Urban Arcana, the idea more than works, it downright kicks ass and takes names.
The werewolf in Motor City Wolf is Greg Novak. Greg owns a bar in Detroit and is assisted by his brother George. The wolves are not the only paranormals operating in the Detroit area. There are also fae of various kinds and human magic practitioners, otherwise known as witches.
There are also those less kindly disposed toward humans and human-like creatures. Everyone calls them demons.
The fae had their own internal struggles, a kind of racial purity movement. At first it seemed like an internal fae struggle between those who favored pure fae heritage and those who had interbred with humans. It turned out that the movement may have been fomented by outside agitators from the demons.
Fianna of the Meadows was supposed to be brainwashed by her family to believe in the purity movement. But when that movement started killing people, she turned herself in. She was still punished, but instead of a death sentence, her fae powers were suppressed and she was forced to live as one of the humans her family had so despised. The intent was for her to learn humility. She was given a job that definitely has its humble moments: she was sentenced to be a barmaid at Greg Novak’s werewolf bar in Detroit!
Fianna Meadows learned how to wait tables, pull drinks, make change, dodge rowdy drunks, and fend off the pinching hands and grabby paws of the bar patrons. She learned how to do real work instead of taking short cuts through magic. And she learned how to make her own decisions instead of relying on the men in her family to tell her what she was supposed to believe, because that was what got her into trouble in the first place.
But being human had some interesting side effects for Fianna. Human senses are less effective in a lot of ways than fae senses. On the other hand, human emotions are a whole lot more volatile than anything Fianna ever experienced as a fae. They’re embarrassing and confusing. Especially the feelings she has for the werewolf Greg Novak. And the ones he seems to have for her, but won’t act on.
Then the demon conspiracy against the Detroit paranormal community turns its attention to the werewolves, and Greg’s bar becomes one of its targets. When Greg’s need to protect Fianna as a member of his “pack” expands out of control, he realizes that she means more to him than he had ever planned on.
The Urban Arcana is an ongoing series, and Motor City Wolf is definitely part of that series. I read all three books, Motor City Fae, Motor City Witch and Motor City Wolf in one grand, glorious reading binge over the weekend, and I absolutely loved the series. I can see who I think the next book will be about, and I wish it were out now.
Considered as part of the ongoing story, this book was tremendous fun. Greg and Fianna are interesting people. They’ve both been damaged, and in the same way, so they understand each other. Greg is someone who has learned to be strong in the broken places, and knows that everyone needs a second chance. That is part of why he is willing to give Fianna a job as part of her punishment at the beginning of the story. And Greg is an alpha because it is necessary to the story, but manages to not be a jerk or worse about it. That’s an interesting combination and not easy to pull off. Fianna’s redemption was also well done. The person she was in Motor City Fae I wouldn’t have given the time of day to. She changes in a way that works.
The Urban Arcana definitely puts Detroit on the Urban Fantasy map. And the next book in the series will be Motor City Mage in March 2012. I hope it’s not the last.
Escape Rating: A+ Keeps you awake until the very last page–no matter how late (or early) it is!