Excerpt & Deleted Scenes
Release Date: April 24, 2012
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
For werewolf Natalya Stravinsky, the supernatural is nothing extraordinary. What does seem strange is that she’s stuck in her hometown of South Toms River, New Jersey, the outcast of her pack, selling antiques to finicky magical creatures. Restless and recovering from her split with gorgeous ex-boyfriend, Thorn, Nat finds comfort in an unusual place: her obsessively collected stash of holiday trinkets. But complications pile up faster than her ornaments when Thorn returns home—and the two discover that the spark between them remains intense.Before Nat can sort out their relationship, she must face a more immediate and dangerous problem. Her pack is under attack from the savage Long Island werewolves—and Nat is their first target in a turf war. Toss in a handsome wizard vying for her affection, a therapy group for the anxious and enchanted, and the South Toms River pack leader ready to throw her to the wolves, and it’s enough to give anybody a panic attack. With the stakes as high as the full moon, Nat must summon all of her strength to save her pack and, ultimately, herself.
COVETED is a character driven, heroine-centric first book in the series. SMadison invested more on the world building and introducing her Russian werewolf OCD heroine, Natalya Stravinsky, than piecing together a string of intense mystery and adventure. I have to admit, there are a lot of back story that I feel SMadison just gleaned on or swept under the rug like downplaying what triggered Nat's OCD, why exactly her pack doesn't want her, why another pack wants her dead and what exactly happened with Nat's relationship with sex-on-a-stick Thorn, her ex-boyfriend and current Alpha of the pack.
But despite these holes I loved the story and Natalya. I felt her confusion and the lengths she has to go through to manage her OCD and the attachment she has with her Christmas ornaments. At face value, Nat doesn't seem to be a strong heroine, she seems mousy and ordinary, but her complex personality and background combined with the group of strong characters around her made the story so vibrant and engaging for me. When pushed, Nat is truly extraordinary but currently she's broken and regrouping so I find her character development very interesting and worth following.
SMadison made COVETED all about the characters which in retrospect I can now appreciate because there are a lot of people to remember in Nat's story and if SMadison combined that with speed induced action sequences, I think a lot of them will get lost in the mix and that would be tragic. Nat's traditional Russian patriarchal family is potent and the Stravinsky's have a bright future in reality TV. Then we have Nat's quirky bestfriend Aggie, her wood nymph sister-in-law, an Old Magic weaving Grandma (Love Grandma Lasovskaya) and a rowdy group of supernaturals she goes to group therapy with. But despite the intimidating amount of characters and kinds to remember, each one of them had their own timbre and texture and I have to applaud SMadison for this. Main characters are difficult to write and as it is, ensuring the supporting characters can float on their own is proof of meticulous work.
I also like the conundrum which is Nat's love life and personal relationships with Thorn, South Tom's River Alpha and Nick a white wizard. Obviously these men has the hots for her and Nat is attracted to them on different levels and for different reasons but it's still a toss up as to who she'll pick eventually. Thorn is unrequited and forbidden while Nick is dependable but of a different "species" so to speak.
Overall I felt food after reading COVETED, it's not as action-packed compared to other UF series but what it lacked in adrenaline it made up for the world building and well fleshed-out characters. SMadison planted a lot of seed in this one and I want to be there when she starts reaping them one by one, harvesting it all too could work. Nevertheless I want to be there when it happens! Nat's a great heroine and I want to be in the sidelines come her happy ending.
Coveted Reading Order
Natalya Stravinsky, the charmingly neurotic werewolf from Coveted, is featured in this prequel novella. Before Thorn Grantham returned to South Toms River, New Jersey, Natalya lived alone with her stash of holiday trinkets. Her life takes an interesting turn when she faces a difficult challenge: to find a stolen figurine she'd recently won from a magical creatures auction website. It should be simple, just demand for it back from the pesky thief. But a set of events occurs that puts not only her life at risk, but her family's as well.