Forever Wolf (The Legend of All Wolves, #3) by Maria Vale
I started reading Vale’s shifters-in-modern-Canadian-wilderness world back in 2018 with main characters Silver & Tiberius. Each of her books features the POV of a new wolf couple (mainly the female half) and has a kind of abstract, stream-of-consciousness kind of feel to it, that I think fits with the wolf/wild version of the heroine.
In this case, the heroine is Varya, a shielder and pseudo-mate of one of the Alphas of the Great Northern Pack after John is killed and Evie takes over. She has a tragic past– cast out of her original (Siberian? Northern Russia? The actual modern world in Vale’s books are always so amorphous and vague) pack due to her own actions, but she’s found place in the Great Northern and loves the often difficult pack Homelands despite an indifferent relationship with her Alpha and somewhat contentious relationship with the pack Deemer/Law-speaker.
Then she finds a wounded wolf with one green eye and one blue, and based on her knowledge of pack lore knows the Great Northern will never accept him. However, she cares for him.
Meanwhile, the Shifters, fronted by enemy August Leveraux, are encroaching as hunters on pack territory again, and August has an ominous plan involving the female members of the pack, and the pack Deemer is being shifty– not in a good way.
Varya will have to decide how much she’s willing to endure to save her beloved pack when it might mean sacrificing the only wolf she’s ever felt drawn to.
The fun thing about Vale’s wolves is that their way of life is very rooted in sometimes brutal, but interesting to read, patterns of behavior that seem more rooted in animal kingdom behaviors than human (marking each other on the cheek, casual attitude about nudity sex, unflinching physical punishment etc). Her liberal use of West Saxon? old English (a la Beowulf) that serves as the wolves’ traditional language also adds an other-worldly feeling to the story.
These books are more about emotions and remembered backhistory than focused on plot, but as I like the character-building that results, I’m all good. Just sometimes I find myself having to re-read paragraphs because important action is kind of skipped over or referenced after happening.
Watch out, Vale isn’t afraid of major damage (physical/emotional) to main characters, and this one made me sad at the end.
The next couple she set up includes another former-enemy Shifter and Evie, the uber-alpha so I’ll definitely go on to read that one soonish.
The Last Wolf (#1 Silver and Tiberious)
A Wolf Apart (#2 Elijah and Thea)