Guest Review: Wolf, Becoming by Rory Ni Coileain

Volyk learns very young that he has to hide what he is—oboroten’, shape-shifter—after his father is killed and skinned by a hunter, and the pack that takes in his pregnant mother is hostile to his kind. When Volyk is ordered to fight the pack’s beta to prove his fitness, but instead obeys his hormones and tries to mount him, he’s declared an abomination and forced to flee.

Ilya, too, hides a secret. Being young and gay in modern Russia is dangerous, and he knows it. But the truth eventually gets out, and his brothers lure him into the forest to kill him. They’re stopped by Volyk, who hides the mortally wounded Ilya in his den. The only way to heal the human is to turn him into an oboroten’.

Unfortunately, Ilya’s gentle nature is ill-suited to the life of a wolf. But when Volyk’s old pack returns, seeking to take away Volyk’s magickal den, Ilya will have to embrace—truly become—the wolf Volyk made him to save both his mate’s life and his own.

Guest Reviewer: Chelsea

This is such a unique story! I love when authors make it their own, and play with the ideas of what a shifter can be and do. Coileain definitely did this, and did it beautifully!

Ilya and Volyk are both exiles in their own way, and both got there by very brutal and sad means (there are definitely a few characters I would have happily seen murdered). The first 30% of the story shows glimpses into Ilya and Volyk’s separate but slightly intertwined lives over the course of 18 years. It starts from the day Ilya’s dad kills Volyk’s, until the day Volyk saves Ilya from his brothers attempt to murder Ilya (hint: these are the characters I wanted to see dead).

As stated previously, the uniqueness of this story comes from the idea of what a shifter can do. Volyk is born Oboroton (shifter) and that means he is born a wolf and will stay a wolf until he can find a place that holds the magick that can change him into a human. He will only be able to change into his human form while in this place of magick and not elsewhere. While in their Wolf form they can communicate telepathically to other Oboroton as well as understand human and standard Wolf communication. I don’t want to waffle on, but as I’ve said I find it so incredibly creative when authors do this! Loved this concept.

This story is told almost in a fairytale type way, which felt very appropriate with snowy Russian landscape as a setting and the Russian language interspersed throughout the story. The Oboroton have an interesting way of talking as well, which makes it feel more historical.
“You take my breath, wolf-mine.”
Which brings me onto the important stuff, the love story. Volyk has seen and thought about Ilya a few times since his father's death, and already cares a great deal for him and protects him as he would a mate. Therefore he wastes no time in getting ‘closer’ once Ilya is revealed as Oboroton. The sex scenes were very sensual, and very very sexy!

These two connect hard and fast as mates tend to do in shifter stories, and confessions of love are spoken rather quickly. I would call it Insta-love for Ilya, but because Volyk knew more of Ilya and felt a connection before their official introduction. Their desire for each other is plain to see and the connection between these two isolated people as they form a new and safe home together is beautiful.
“I need to hold you.” “And I… need to be held.”
One thing I really didn’t like was we never saw Ilya’s brothers get any comeuppance. I may be a little blood thirsty but I seriously wanted them (and his dad) to be mauled by all the wolves… that ever lived…. ever!!

I definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes shifters and mates stories. It was a very easy and enjoyable read with such a unique concept!

For more information, check out:

Dreamspinner Press

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