After enjoying the first book in the series, Awaiting the Moon, so much, I was anxious to try another wolf-related story on for size. Sadly I didn't enjoy this one as much, only gathering much interest in the second half.
The story focuses on Melisande Daviodvich, a woman well-tuned to the way of herbal healing, who lives at Wolfram castle. Count Nikolas and his new wife Elizabeth have taken a trip to get care for his ailing sister ( as a wrap-up to the previous story), leaving Melisande, Christof, and Charlotte alone in the castle. Melisande is on the edge of her seat, having horrid dreams foreshadowing dreadful things involving wolves.
Melisande becomes a captivating character later on, but she seems a bit wishy-washy toward the beginning. She just didn't hold the same interest as Elizabeth, the same spunk and curiosity. Her story was a bit more boring, and I never cared as much about her. She seemed too innocent to where it was nearly forced, with wide eyed skepticism that irked me a bit. Every man in her life didn't hold a candle to the personality of Nikolas either, for they bored me at first as well. Fortunately the book picks up pace and people become more realistic later on, where the action sets forth and things start coming together.
Mystery wise it's a little confusing, as the reader is purposely kept in the dark along with the heroine. The end result is a fine mixture of intrigue and deception. As before there is a serious gothic shroud encasing the story and its inhabitants, holding them in a dark forest filled with lies and the supernatural. The atmosphere works well for this type of tale, making it stand out among of a sea of imitators.
The romance between Melisande and Kazimir is sweet, but still not holding a great amount of tenderness until later. Their first 'sex' scene was a bit surprising, as it certainly doesn't come about in the typical way. I fear that readers will not hold out to get to the good parts, instead put off by the too-slow buildup of story and character. I urge everyone to keep reading until everything picks up, for then it becomes worth it. I will still read the sequels, as every series has an off-point. The original was wonderfully done, followed by a slightly mediocre offspring.