Author: TJ Klune
Publication Date: June 20, 2016
Page Length: 400 pages
My Rating: 5 / 5 stars
Ox was twelve when his daddy taught him a very valuable lesson. He said that Ox wasn’t worth anything and people would never understand him. Then he left.
Ox was sixteen when he met the boy on the road, the boy who talked and talked and talked. Ox found out later the boy hadn’t spoken in almost two years before that day, and that the boy belonged to a family who had moved into the house at the end of the lane.
Ox was seventeen when he found out the boy’s secret, and it painted the world around him in colors of red and orange and violet, of Alpha and Beta and Omega.
Ox was twenty-three when murder came to town and tore a hole in his head and heart. The boy chased after the monster with revenge in his bloodred eyes, leaving Ox behind to pick up the pieces.
It’s been three years since that fateful day—and the boy is back. Except now he’s a man, and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them.
“You gotta smell him and then tell me why it’s all candy canes and pinecones and epic and awesome.”
I am just emotionally destroyed by this book. I’ve read a few shifter books before, but this is the first book that has just left me sobbing at odd hours in the morning because I just couldn’t put the book down. I think the difference might also be that this is the first shifter m/m book I’ve read which changes a bit of the power dynamics in a wolf pack? The story is told solely from Ox’s POV. We see the story from his eyes from the time his dad left him when he was twelve, to the time he is twenty-three. It soon becomes evident that Ox’s dad really messed with his head and how he sees himself. It’s heartbreaking to read how little Ox values his own merits, even when he has his friends at the car shop, Gordo’s, and his mother who love him a lot. His dad told him he would never amount to anything, and that he would never have what it takes to be a man. And as a kid, Ox has internalized this and it festers within him. When he meets the Bennett family, who moves into the long-abandoned house at the end of the lane, it changes his life.
I knew my manners. But even the bottoms of my feet were itching to take a step and another and another. I was often at war with myself over the little things. What was right and wrong. What was acceptable and what wasn’t. What my place was and if I belonged.
I felt small.
This book is about choices, but I can’t help but wonder if Ox really had a choice? It seems like his life has been a series of decisions made by others and he’s always just had to make the best out of the situations he’s given. From the first day he meets the youngest of the Bennett family, Joe, an 11-year-old kid, it seems like his destiny has been chosen for him. I like that the author never hesitates to poke fun of his own characters. Because in Wolfsong, Ox is a bit of a special snowflake character filled with a destiny for being different. Ox’s friends even call him out on it, and I find it hilarious, with the characters even making some comments comparing Ox’s life to Twilight.
So, the age difference between Ox and Joe isn’t as creepy as it sounds? Ox is sixteen when he meets Joe, but he never, ever sees Joe as someone other than his friend for the longest time. I think I had a more difficult time seeing Joe as a man as the story progressed, because I was so used to seeing him as a kid. Events happened to Joe when he was younger that left him heavily traumatized, and by the time Ox meets him, Joe hadn’t spoken for almost two years. But when Joe meets Ox, he finally speaks, and can’t stop talking. I love Joe, even though reading from Ox’s POV, I feel like I can’t really understand the decisions he makes either. Joe is young with a heavy burden thrust upon him, and perhaps his decisions aren’t meant to be completely rational.
Later, after the sun had set and the stars came out in the sky, he said, “I won’t ever leave you.”
I love the characters. And there are a lot of characters to focus on in Wolfsong. Besides Ox and Joe, there’s Ox’s mother, Gordo (Ox’s father/brother figure who hires him on to work at his car shop), Joe’s entire Bennett family (even a mother called Elizabeth Bennett which kind of makes me want to think of this story as a post-Pride and Prejudice contemporary AU), some really intense villain characters, and some side characters who get more important as the story progresses.
…hearts are a funny thing; they beat strongly in our chests, even though they can shatter at the slightest pressure.
Ox is called “simple”, but he is anything but simple. He is not quite perceptive at times to what’s going on around him, but he has heart. Ox always means well, and that in itself is the devastating part in all of this. His live gets ripped apart from him and there’s nothing he can do to stop it because everything has already been set in motion. This book doesn’t shy away from violence and the sheer intensity of the story just really knocks you down. The book does take an emotional tool, or maybe it’s just because I read this longer-than-average-romance-story in less than two days.
It should have been obvious. It should have been obvious what they were, but then I wasn’t looking for the incredible buried in the ordinary.
Wolfsong isn’t necessarily what I would call a steamy romance novel. It focuses more on the characters and character growth while the romance is just a nice thing to have as part of the story. The ending does kind of fee like a HFN, and leaves the door open for a sequel as far as the plot goes. Will there be a sequel? I certainly hope so, because I loved reading about all these characters and would love to see more of their stories.
I should have tried harder.
I should have asked more questions.
But when the fantastic reveals itself in front of you, it’s easy to go blind to all the rest.