Title: Haven’s Revenge (Caddo Norse: Book One)
Author: Phetra H. Novak
Pages/Word Count: 300 pages
At a Glance: A unique take on the shifter genre that was interesting, however, wasn’t for me.
Blurb: Haven Naranjo is a proud Caddo Indian, with a frightening past. He was a mere fifteen year old boy when he found his parents, part of his tribe, and his high school sweetheart slaughtered by a wereman gone mad. Falling victim to a system that is not always prepared to deal with a shattered young mind, Haven finally gives up on himself. He grows up to be bitter and hateful toward the creatures he hates. Werewolves.
Alexander Prescott is the younger of the two Prescott boys and comes from a large werewolf clan. But things are bigger than that. Alexander, is the true vessel of the Fenrir Ulv and is to become the leader of all supernatural beings, the King of Wolves. On top of that, he’s in love with Haven. He’s known since he hit puberty that Haven is his true mate. But there’s one problem, Haven hates what he can become. However, Alexander has a plan on how he is to charm his, and his wolf’s way into the grumpy Caddo Indian man’s heart.
But fate has other plans for them. The Asa Guard enters their calm country living, determined to use their own kind against them and kill the true vessel—Alexander Prescott.
When war between the Asa Gods and the Fenrir Ulv starts knocking on their door, what side will the damaged Haven choose? Will he find a way of trusting those, especially Alexander, who he feels has betrayed him and let his animal, the eagle, lead him straight to his fate by his mate’s side? Or will he trust the words of strangers, who come to make his quest of seeing all shifters dead a reality?
Haven’s Revenge is a story of an emotional journey for a whole community. It’s about finding acceptance not just from others but in yourself.
Review: On picking up this book, it sounded interesting. Phetra H. Novak takes the shifter genre and creates a new mythology for it, which intrigued me. However, while the premise of the book was interesting and had a lot of promise, ultimately, I just couldn’t get into the book.
The book follows Haven and Alexander as a legend about the Fenrir Ulv and his protector, the Eagle, comes to life. However, after witnessing his family and friends brutally murdered by a shifter, Haven hates the wolves. The problem? His mate is destined to become the King of Wolves, the Fenrir Ulv. Torn between trusting Alexander and seeing all shifters dead, he must overcome his past to face his future.
As I said, this book had a lot of potential. I liked the story of the Fenrir Ulv and the Eagle, and I learned about a new Native American Nation that I previously had not been aware of. It prompted me to do some research on them to look up their history. The author has even included Caddo Words at the beginning of the book which makes for a nice glossary, as the terms are peppered throughout the story. Along with this is shifter law and other information as is pertinent to the author’s world. I found this intriguing and helpful to get to know the story I was about to read.
And, while I enjoyed the first chapter with Haven, from there it became difficult for me to follow what was happening as I wasn’t exactly sure when I was. There are jumps in time that, while not always bad, left me scratching my head. The first chapter, for example, takes place ten years earlier. And as I read, I couldn’t figure out ten years earlier to what? The start of the actual story that I haven’t gotten to yet? The second chapter is another shift in time to twenty-one years earlier. Here is where I became even more confused. Was it twenty-one years earlier than the present (which I still haven’t seen), or twenty-one years earlier than the first chapter, which puts it thirty-one years before the start of the story? Maybe it’s just me and I’m bad at math (truth) and I’m making more of this than needed to be made, but it just wasn’t clear to me. To further frustrate my complete inability to calculate time, chapter three has yet another time jump of five years earlier. Again, compared to what? As I read, it did become mostly clear, but to be thrown at the beginning of the chapter was frustrating and it took me out of the story in order to try to figure out when in time I was.
I also wish the story had been told solely from Alexander and Haven’s perspectives. I think that would have strengthened the story and streamlined it. As it’s written, there is a lot of head-hopping between characters—even very minor ones—on the same page. In one instance, readers are briefly taken into the perspective of a minor character for two lines, and then back out again into others. It made for a disorienting experience, as I couldn’t stay with one character and experience events from their eyes. Had the author stayed with Alexander and Haven, yes, some events would not have been in the book, but I don’t think that would have detracted from the story. Some scenes, particularly at the beginning, might have added to the backstory, but overall wouldn’t have been missed had they been removed.
There will be a sequel to this book, as it is the first Caddo Norse book; however, I will likely skip it. If you’re a reader who doesn’t mind multiple time skips and a book from the perspective of many characters, then you might enjoy this book. But for me, it just didn’t work.
You can buy Haven’s Revenge here: