Book Review: Wolfsbane by Ronie Kendig

I began reading Ronie Kendig's books with the release of her SciFi space opera Brand of Light and became hooked on her writing.

An established author with more than two dozen books in her arsenal, I can see why she has so many devoted fans.

I read the Tox Files this year (fantastic series) and chased it with the Book of the Wars starring Leif, the youngest member of the Metcalfe family. In the course of those series, Canyon Metcalfe (Leif's older brother) pops up, and we are introduced to the large Metcalfe family. Given the snippet of Canyon's backstory in the Book of the Wars and with the upcoming release of Stone, when I discovered Canyon's story had already been told in the Discarded Heroes series, I had to go back and read this book.

Canyon Metcalfe has made some whopper mistakes in his life. It seems to him that despite his desire to do what is right, he finds himself in the thick of doing what is wrong. A verse by the Apostle Paul in Rom 7:15 comes to mind... "For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate." Canyon loves his family and is devoted to them, but past mistakes created a rift between one of his brothers and himself that he has never succeeded in mending, and he still feels the burden of his family's judgment. To add to that burden, while serving in the Army Special Forces, a mission went terribly wrong and cost him the lives of people he cared for and his career. Being sworn to secrecy, he could not fight the charges or explain to his family why the media blamed him for the incident. I appreciate Canyon's struggle to redeem himself from his past mistakes and the very real (very wrong) ways he tried to cope. His character is vivid, dynamic, and believable. From the outset, the reader is rooting for Canyon to be proven to be the man we know he is on the inside.

Enter, Danielle Roark. Daughter of a powerful senator, the Demolitions Expert with the Corps of Engineers was captured while on mission in Venezuela and held captive for six months by a general. At his hands, she was brutalized and suffered abuse of every kind. After planning and executing her own daring escape, she is picked up adrift in the Caribbean Sea. Though she makes a full physical recovery, the severe psychological trauma incapacitates her for a time. Into that state of depression, a bomb is dropped on her head--the bureaucrats think she's lying about everything. Forced to go back to Venezuela to prove her innocence, Danielle is escorted by an under-the-radar special forces team which includes our beloved Canyon, one of the few men Danielle has encountered since her capture with whom she feels safe.

In the film industry, there is a phrase used to describe the timing of a scene that exemplifies Ronie Kendig's writing style: Show up late and leave early. We are dropped straight into the action in Wolfsbane, action that doesn't let up until the Epilogue. I began reading this book one evening and was so fully engrossed in the story (a whopping 440 pg story) that I couldn't put it down till I finished it the next day. Not kidding ya'll, I had my kindle in one hand and was flipping french toast slices on the stove with the other. The plot was that good.

I love the courage of Danielle and Canyon amidst their fallibility. The chemistry between these characters is everything a reader wants to see in a story. Canyon is able to see past Danielle's brokenness after her captivity to the spunky fighter beneath the trauma. Danielle, in turn, sees Canyon for the hero he is and demands that he live up to her expectations and his potential. Behind the hero and heroine are a cast of supporting characters that could all (and some do) have their own books owing to their 3D nature. I'm beyond excited to see the stories of the Metcalfe family play out beginning with the release of Stone on January 6th. We get a good snapshot of his character in Wolfsbane, a character that deserves a happily ever after.

All in all, I give Wolfsbane Five Stars. It's going on my re-read shelf right next to the Tox Files and the Droseran Saga. I strongly recommend this book if you like high action, modern military novels. (Ronie Kendig's publishing imprint is named Rapid-Fire Fiction, if that gives you any clues to how she rolls.) However, I would caution readers that although this story is not graphic in its descriptions, it does discuss sexual abuse and the resulting mental trauma. As such, I wouldn't recommend it for young teens or someone who is sensitive to those topics. Not a light read by any definition, but oh so good and has a phenomenal happily ever after.

Wolfsbane is available on kindle, paperback, and you can request your library to order a copy.

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