Werewolves Be Damned by Stacey Kennedy
Series: Magic & Mayhem #1
Source: Personal shelf
Nexi Jones—part witch, part guardian, and wannabe kick-ass warrior—can’t throw a punch or conjure the simplest magic. But that doesn’t stop her from hunting the werewolves who slaughtered her human family. She’ll have her revenge, but only if Kyden, the elite guardian, would get the hell out of her way.
Kyden can’t decide if Nexi wants to get herself killed or if she just has no clue what she’s doing. But her father made it clear: keep Nexi safe…or else. Of course, the more Nexi runs toward revenge, the more she needs Kyden’s aid, and as she grows into her power and confidence, so does his desire to protect her. The only problem? She’d rather he dropped dead.
But when a vampire paints a bull’s-eye on Nexi’s back, she’s hard-pressed to deny Kyden and the help he’s offering. Even if it means getting her revenge will be a little bit harder. At least it will still be as sweet.
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I tried so hard to get a review copy of WEREWOLVES BE DAMNED when I saw it on Netgalley but I think every other blogger on the planet snapped it up before I realized it was available. So, naturally, I had to purchase it just as soon as I had a coupon. 🙂 I’m pleased to report that all of the hype I read online was right — WEREWOLVES BE DAMNED is a really fun, action-packed beginning to what could be an amazing new urban fantasy series.
WEREWOLVES BE DAMNED involves one of my favourite genre tropes: the one in which the protagonist realizes her previous life was a façade and she’s really something else, and she’s forced to learn all about her true heritage in the face of overwhelming danger. Some many series start out this way but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done in a fresh way. In this case, Nexi grew up thinking she was just a regular old human but learns she’s actually part-witch and part-guardian — a member of a secret supernatural world — after werewolves kill her family. Nexi learns that her father is actually a guardian and her mother was a witch, and that she’s also the only half-breed in existence. So you know she’s going to be all kinds of special but knowing it doesn’t detract from the physical and emotional journey Nexi experiences. I thought Nexi’s reactions to a lot of the news and her situation were realistic and I really empathized with her, particularly in the early parts of the novel.
The rest of the characters are also quite interesting. Kyden has a major alpha male vibe but he draws short of the jerk line since he’s also got a softer side, which Nexi sees fairly early on (and the reader learns about even earlier). I love tough characters but I’m not a fan of men who are so alpha that they’re complete buffoons, and Kyden is strong and masculine without being terribly overbearing. Don’t get me wrong — he has his overbearing moments but I thought they were nicely balanced with some more tender scenes. I was also quite fond of Haven, a witch that Nexi shares a soul-bond with. They can tell what the other is feeling, and it’s something all witches share with another witch, and I thought that was a neat twist on things. I was also quite interested in the leaders of the different supernatural factions, who we get to know to varying degrees over the course of WEREWOLVES BE DAMNED.
The attraction and romance between Nexi and Kyden progress nicely but I was honestly more interested in the non-romantic storyline since Nexi is out for vengeance, which leads her and Kyden into a much larger battle. I needed to know who was being the werewolf attacks and how they were linked to Nexi and the resolution of this storyline was quite satisfying.
I’m not sure when the next Magic & Mayhem story will come out but you can be sure I’ll have it pre-ordered once I find it. I really liked the world that Kennedy has created and I’m curious to see what will come next in the series.