Wilder: The Chosen Ones, by PNR author Christina Dodd, is the fifth and final installment in her captivating saga. I thoroughly enjoyed the ride and I'm glad it all came to an end before the story lost its magical appeal.
As a young man, Aleksandr Wilder abandoned his duty--and for that lapse, he was tortured, tormented ... and transformed. Now he prowls the tunnels beneath the city, fighting on the frontline against the forces of hell, never daring to dream that he can live as a man again.After seven years fighting the world's ultimate evil, Chosen One Charisma Fangorn has become a tough, strong warrior without illusions or joy...even her gift of hearing the earthsong has faded. Deaf to her own instincts, she never suspects that a monster lurks in the dark underneath the streets.When Aleksandr finds Charisma under attack, he rescues and cares for her, and hope stirs once more in his heart...and in the world. But in the secret recesses of his soul, he knows the truth. A woman so exceptional could never love a beast...could she?
Our lead male was spot-on what I looking for in any story: strong, funny, not over bearing, a little crazy, tall, buff, and best of all the man drinks Coke! *fist pumps* He's the whole package and while, yes, he may be trapped in a beastly form, he's a winner without needing to eat the chicken dinner. And man, is he finger-lickin' good! Alek had me hook, line, and coffin sinker. I was entertained every moment he was the center of attention. I even found myself skimming through side stories just to get back to our lead pair. Charisma was also an excellent protagonist and was the perfect compliment to Alek in every way the character needed to be. To top it off, all this comes to you without feeling force-fed or over-baked.
This story is very much an homage to Beauty and the Beast, so much so that the characters reference the story several times. Humor and snark abound and really help bring our leading pair to a more realistic level. The romance only ignites the sizzling passion that Dodd's throwing down. If only the main focus could have stayed on point with our pair and the drama they needed to face, but as things pick up a weird little shift happens and with it comes my nit picks.
When the action in the back half finally gears up, I found myself being thrust right into it without much build up from the first half. One second they are heading to the fight and the next moment they are across town, which I was lead to believe is far away, and they are swinging fists and kicking butt. Our lead lady heads out for her version of a walkabout, and while you're told it's this very long and difficult journey, less then a paragraph later BAM she's finished. I would have liked more detail in these areas, but with all the characters needing some closure the focus gets split significantly and this is where the book looses some steam.
The ending, while being a fun one, was a tad over the top and I found it very hard to believe the last two chapters of this book. I don't see the point as to why they were in there but to each their own. Overall this is a fun final chapter to the saga and one you can read from this point without feeling lost.
Getting 3 and 1/2 'every gal needs a heel' Sheep