The setup of this book is fairly traditional in paranormal romance, but the rest of First of Spring is not. You may need a refresher course of The Lycan Hunter (*raises hand*) to get back into the intense mythology of the series. I had to make sure the heroine was who I thought she was before starting the book, as well as puzzle over the cover.
The cover, it should be noted, makes more sense when you finish the book than when you start it. Because of this, it's my favorite cover yet of the Gardinian World series.
The Plot: (As Seen on Goodreads)
'Caution: Contains sizzling otherworldly romance between two people trying to exist in a world where two races battle for superiority and the gods who find new ways to add more chaos to the mix.
'Forged from a childhood filled with bloodshed and death, Trent had been raised with a blood-soaked blade in his hands. He lives the life of a warrior—an unspoken act of redemption for his mother’s ultimate sacrifice. As the acting Mikko of the Order of Rockys, Trent leads the most dominant Lycans in the world. For that reason alone, he has no use or understanding for those who embrace their vulnerabilities rather than rally against them.
'Aryana doesn't dream of love everlasting. Her life is ruled by a song that echoes from the halls of Oblivia, a fate that came to her under the thundering hooves of the Mares of Night. She is going to die, but with no clue as to when or why. Aryana is forced to do everything she can to negate the haunting words of fate:
'Weakness dies and you are weak.
'In a battle against circumstances carved from the whispered words of fate, how far will Trent have to fall to protect Aryana from meddlesome gods and their merciless disregard for mortals?'
It's almost inevitable that even your most favorite authors will write characters you don't particularly like- unless your favorite author regurgitates past characters and passes them off as 'new'. Although I did like Trent and Aryana, Aryana was a bit too easily put in her place, but also a little stubborn over the simple things. Near the end of the book, Trent put Aryana in her place with a display that was a bit of a blurred line for me, and had me narrowing my eyes especially the amount of time this strange display took place. I'm not a fan of the overbearing alpha male (unlike most other romance readers), so I doubt anyone else will be raising their eyebrows as far as I did, but for those who dislike some of the 'pack hierarchy' I-must-prove-my-dominance displays, it may make you twitch a little.
I still found a favorite quote, despite my ambivalence towards the protagonists:
'"One day, you'll beg me to kiss you. I might like you then."'
The best part of this book for me is undoubtedly the worldbuilding. While Heart of a Rocky did have some worldbuilding in it, it wasn't quite to the extent of The Lycan Hunter or this book, which builds heavily on the already unique world. While we did see some god-play in The Lycan Hunter, this book blows it out of the water. I can't say more without spoiling, but really- if you were a fan of the mythology in the first novel of the series, grab this book to read.
First of Spring continues the tradition of action-packed, mythology-rich paranormal romance that is indicative of the Gardinian World series. Even though the characters weren't my favorites, there was a lot to like about them and their interesting entanglement. I recommend First of Spring to anyone who read and loved The Lycan Hunter, especially if you're a fan of alpha males.
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars for a great I-didn't-see-the-plot-coming second book in the series!
Content: Ages 18+ for sexual content, violence, and a lot of 'game of gods'.