Because Zoe Winters was generous enough to allow G L Drummond to guest post on her site during her blog tour last month, I got curious about what she wrote, and read a number of her blog entries. Sufficiently piqued, I was thus drawn into her series “Preturnaturals”–this first installment of which was actually the omnibus edition of three novellas. In the spirit of supporting an indie author who was supporting other indie authors, I went ahead and bought the eBook for myself (especially since her blog whetted my appetite for the rest of the stories with a free offer for the first novella, “Kept“.)
Typically, I’m not big on novellas; it only takes me an hour or two to plow through the tale (especially when, as in Winters’ case, the writing is well-done, and the plot-line tight) and if the story is engaging, I am done with the world almost as soon as I’m into it. In this case, that problem is mitigated by the existence of two follow-on stories, so I had an enjoyable night of reading.
This is definitely an adult novel, with explicit love scenes–and well-developed-enough characters to take them out of the “gratuitous sex” category. The three parts to the novel tie together through the friendships and rivalries of six individuals, who turn into three couples.
The first novella deals with a special kind of shifter who has reached the age that would have, in past times, meant she was sacrificed for the good of her tribe. Her mother is able to warn Greta about this impending doom, as well as give her cryptic directions to seek refuge with a known “evil” sorcerer. She is able to get him to agree to protect her in exchange for a sample of her blood, and the plot thickens from there.
The second act involves Greta’s close friend Charlee, and takes off on the events in the climactic scene of the first story. Now, a vampire Dayne (the sorcerer) had enlisted to help with Greta’s rescue needs to make amends for the results of his feeding frenzy. Anthony (the vampire) is old enough, and has spent enough of his long life avoiding entanglements, that it takes him most of the story to realize his uncharacteristic loss of control with Charlee speaks to deeper feelings than he generally accepts.
The third act tells the story of a supposed vampire-wannabe who was attached to a competing vampire in the “vampire games” Anthony had been focused on in the second story. Jane had been trying to hide in plain sight by attaching herself to vampires from the time she was 16 and discovered that her own antecedents included a vampire parent. She ends up being handed off to a werewolf to satisfy a gambling debt, and discovers there is a hidden benefit to the curse she’s lived with for so many years.
All three pieces tie together nicely, with the leitmotif of a woman who has been hiding some key element of her being, and consequently feels rather like an outsider. The resolution of that inner loneliness through the discovery of her perfect equal and opposite makes for meaty romantic entanglements, complete with the fraught tension of whether the woman can trust the man with her secrets and burdens–and discovers that she’s not alone in bearing the burden of loneliness. I would gladly recommend the novellas, and am looking forward to seeing how the novels continue.