Title: Cutting Ties (Pack Born: Book Two)
Author: C.M. Torrens
Publisher: DSP Publications
Length: 256 Pages
Category: Fantasy, Paranormal
At a Glance: Not for the faint of heart! The Pack Born series takes a very dark turn.
Reviewed By: Ben
Blurb: War is looming, and as the alpha, it falls to Dante to protect his shifter pack from the hybrid creatures spawned to prey upon them. To that end he joins forces with the Nephilim Odin in the hopes of keeping both their people safe, though past slights and animosity between the clans continue to cause strain. Attacks on the packs and Nephilim clans increase, and the seemingly endless army of hybrids will not stop growing. Dante knows their only chance to put an end to the carnage is to find the nest where his twin August and August’s mistress are creating the hybrids.
With entire cities being destroyed, Dante must call upon the pack weave to find the people who have been captured—and the nest. Dante and Odin gather an army for an all-out attack. Though a desperate and risky move, Dante has been backed into a corner and he sees no other alternative. It’s a battle they must win at any price, because the cost of losing will be catastrophic.
Review: Sequel to The Alpha’s Weave, it’s hard to think of Cutting Ties as anything but the book after the first book and before the next. The first book set up Dante as alpha of his pack, and the basic plot of the second centers around the fall of the old regime of shifters and vampires (called nephilim), which leads to the systematic destruction of the world as it was. Let’s just say that by the end of the second book, the path the next story will take isn’t completely clear.
I picked this up because I had been expecting/hoping for a deeper look into Dante and his pack’s culture, but I can’t really say I got what I’d hoped for. The second book opens with Dante’s leadership being more everyday than newly acquired, as we know it to be, and the buildup to the new plot was painstakingly slow. The parts done well was the amazing portrayal of the desperation and hopelessness of Dante’s pack as they navigated the new threat. I haven’t felt this devastated while reading in a long, long time, which I don’t mean as a negative. Evoking that level of despair in a reader says something about the writing.
Ultimately, however, this book didn’t completely work for me. In the first book I had a lot of concerns over Dante’s relationship with Jesse, and the second book treated their relationship as if it was on the rocks, or even trivial, which was odd considering how much Dante risked bringing Jesse into the pack fold. Jesse had a lot of questions and misgivings about being a ‘pet’ (their term for a non-pack born and non-breeding mate of the alpha), but they were never addressed. Instead, Jesse worked behind Dante’s back to satisfy his own agenda. Was that his way of expressing his displeasure with the inequality of their relationship, or perhaps he thought his actions were a way to help Dante make his pack stronger? In either case, I think Jesse fails in his mission and, ultimately, fails as a character.
As for Dante, it seems as if my fears of him being a poor leader were confirmed. I don’t want to get into spoilers, but I’d been leery of Dante becoming an alpha since the first book (because of his fear and anger issues), and now I’m thinking I was right. Sure, in the next book he may come through gloriously, but it may be hard for me to swallow. That being said, I’m willing to wait for the next one to find out, but I would have liked to have learned more about what makes Dante tick. I would have liked to believe in him.
It wasn’t only his character I felt was lacking. Everyone seemed more chess pieces on the board, and while that certainly fit the war-like theme this book had going for it, it didn’t help me invest in the characters. There was an interesting antagonist who emerged later in the story, and it may be slightly odd, but I felt more connected to his character than any of the others. In a lot of ways, these first two books feel as if they are the prequel to the real story, but I hope this isn’t one of those series that goes on forever, because while I’m willing to stick around for the next book, I may not be willing to stick around for much after that.
You can buy Cutting Ties here: