From the BLURB:
Wilder Harding is a bloodhound, created by the Guild to hunt down and kill vampires on America’s frontier. His enhanced abilities come with a high price: on the full moon, he becomes capable of savagery beyond telling, while the new moon brings a sexual hunger that borders on madness.
Rescuing a weapons inventor from undead kidnappers is just another assignment, though one with an added complication—keeping his hands off the man’s pretty young apprentice, who insists on tagging along.
At odds with polite society, Satira’s only constant has been the aging weapons inventor who treats her like a daughter. She isn’t going to trust Wilder with Nathaniel’s life, not when the Guild might decide the old man isn’t worth saving. Besides, if there’s one thing she’s learned, it’s that brains are more important than brawn.
As the search stretches far longer than Wilder planned, he finds himself fighting against time. If Satira is still at his side when the new moon comes, nothing will stop him from claiming her. Worse, she seems all too willing. If their passion unlocks the beast inside, no one will be safe. Not even the man they’re fighting to save.
Warning: This book contains a crude, gun-slinging, vampire-hunting hero who howls at the full moon and a smart, stubborn heroine who invents mad-scientist weapons. Also included: wild frontier adventures, brothels, danger, betrayal and a good dose of wicked loving in an alternate Wild West.
‘Wilder’s Mate’ is the first book in a new paranormal series by Moira Rogers.
The paranormal genre is so versatile; it constantly throws me for a loop. Urban fantasy put vampires and werewolves into modern, everyday settings. But many authors are putting an historic twist on the old paranormal tale – Gail Carriger writes about high-society vampires and werewolves in a twisted alternate Victorian-era. Likewise, Lydia Dare has written about werewolves in the 1800’s. Moira Rogers has taken the historic spin into a whole new frontier – the Wild West.
Roger’s new ‘Bloodhounds’ series is set in an alternate mid-western universe. Vampires and their ghouls live in middle-of-nowhere old west townships, in the Deadlands. Bloodhounds, or werewolves, act as sheriffs for these frontier towns, warding off the vampires and maintaining the peace.
In ‘Wilder’s Mate’, a young weapons apprentice called Satira is desperate to rescue her mentor who has been kidnapped by the vamps for nefarious purposes. Enter Wilder, the Bloodhound assigned to investigate the kidnapping. . .
‘Wilder’s Mate’ is ‘True Grit’ and ‘The Quick and the Dead’ meets steampunk paranormal romance. It’s a veritable smorgasbord of genres and a delicious new fantasy mixture. If werewolves are your thing, then wait until you read about these rough and tumble old-west werewolves who rule the frontier. Woah!
As much as I enjoyed the gun-slinging and rough-riding in this book, the romance stands out for being old-worldly romantic. Satira and Wilder have exchanges that are reminiscent of old movie sirens in classic Western movies. Think Elizabeth Taylor (R.I.P.) in 'Giant' or Jane Russell in 'The Outlaw'. Swoon-worthy scenes that could only work with a Wild West backdrop to heighten the romance and drama;
The heat of him burned through her, leaving need in its wake. She pressed one hand to his chest, fingers spread wide as if she had a hope of holding him back. "And I'd be one to let you, if you're so dense about women that you think I don't want you.""You're a prickly sort. Hard to figure you out."So strong. So close. She closed her eyes and rubbed her cheek against his, though his rough stubble scratcher her skin. "I'm lonely."Just like that, his touch gentled. "Shh, you're all right. Safe.""Be a fool," she whispered. "Kiss me."
‘Wilder’s Mate’ is a shorter Kindle read than I expected. Because Rogers has come up with such a magnificent old-world western setting, I thought the book would be long enough to delve into the universe and really take readers on a journey through the steampunk frontier. As it is, we only gain bits and pieces about this world from the limited exchanges between Satira and Wilder. We learn that the vampires are the villains of the west, and many people succumb to the lavish lifestyles they promise (the payment for which is your neck and blood). We learn that the women in these times either become wives or whores, and Satira is the daughter of the latter, but she has been determined through her weapons inventions to avoid the same career path. Bloodhounds are strict lawmen who discourage their hounds from taking mates and settling down.
I can understand why Moira Rogers perhaps felt she didn’t need to go into a lot of explanation about this world. Most readers will have some knowledge of spaghetti-westerns and will be able to picture the frontier universe Rogers is creating without pages and pages of detail. But still, because the old west setting is what makes this series so unique, I do wish there were more specifics.
I also wish there was more time taken to nut-out the specifics of the plot. Readers are dropped into the thick of the action, and the book begins when Wilder arrives on his rescue-mission for Satira’s mentor. We learn nothing of the actual kidnapping, we are merely there when Satira and Wilder set-out to save the inventor. Once again, this comes down to the book being quite short and sweet, and me wishing there was more page-time for such developments and details.
Moira Rogers has invented a wild new frontier setting for the popular werewolf myth. The paranormal genre has been infused with old-world brilliance as Rogers writes about Deadlands vampires and werewolf sheriffs with a healthy dose of steampunk thrown in. I hope the books are longer in the future, because half the appeal of this new series is the setting, and I don’t think Rogers gave herself enough page-time to really immerse readers in the old frontier.