WDOAWN is Bowen and Mariketa's story and partly takes place at the same time as NRFTW (Are you following these acronyms?) during the Talisman's Hie, so I think it would be helpful if you're familiar with that book. Bowen if you remember was after the prize so he could go back in time and save his mate. During the Hie he trapped Mariketa and several other supernaturals. Unfortunately this has upset (to put it mildly) their supernatural races and is threatening to start a major interspecies incident. So it falls to Bowen to go and rescue Mariketa. But that's just the beginning.
With every book in this series I'm hooked more. They just seem to keep getting better and better, which is great if a little worrying.
The glue that holds this whole story together is Bowen and Mariketa's relationship. There's quite a bit of other external stuff going on - The Talisman's Hie, interfering Valkyries, lots more intriguing hints dropped about other characters - mainly the proper introduction of Rydstrom and Cade (they have a younger sister) and who exactly is stalking Regin? (Aside - so glad that Cade has got his own book.)
Their relationship basically starts off as a confrontation and though they have a chemistry between them Bowen is far too caught up in the need to win the Hie and save his mate. So he betrays Mariketa and traps her to prevent her continuing with the Hie. Not the best way to start a courtship. It's only after he goes back to rescue her and they have to work together to escape the jungle that the spark between them becomes something more. But the course of their love isn't going to run smoothly, just when it seems everything has come into place for them the past rises up to bite Bowen on the ass, and he has to decide who and what he really wants.
So let's start with the hero. I like Bowen (more than Mariketa). I liked him in the previous books and I like him here. He's one of those characters who doesn't really have a filter between his brain and his mouth. Maybe this is a Lykae trait as I seem to remember Lachlain from AHLNO being similar. When he feels it is deeply and completely. Even when he loses the Hie, he still asks Wroth if he used the key both times. He never gives up. And he also knows himself very well.
Today he'd learned that she didn't proffer blood sacrifices at an altar - always a gratifying detail to learn about a potential mate.Mariketa, she's young and in some ways immature. She lies to Bowen about how often she's using her powers even though it's dangerous for her to do so. Some of her behaviour is understandable. He wants her to contain an essential part of herself - akin to her asking him to give up his animal instinct. But sometimes in romances you feel like shouting at the protagonists - just talk to one another damnit!
"Just give me five minutes to get dressed...Five goddamned minutes, Mariketa!"Yep, Bowen makes perhaps one of the biggest mistakes it's possible for a man to make. Despite all the confrontations in their relationship, there's something warm and fuzzy about it too.
"Toxic goddamned relationship, Bowen!"
But eventually (as with Lachlain) Bowen comes to a realisation of what he has in Mariketa. Though it takes nearly losing her to open his eyes and his heart. Certain scenes Kresley Cole writes so well, she puts you through the wringer. Then just when you think they've finally got it together she takes it away from you, and makes the protagonists work even harder for their happy ending.
And she never lets her protagonists say I love you before time. Even though there are confusions, eventually her characters talk to one another and when they finally open up it feels real and it works.
This is one of my favourite series and even though the next one has a ghost for a heroine :sigh: (I don't really do ghost stories). I'm cautiously looking forward to it.