I’ve been looking forward to this book since I first met Tru back in Nightfall. Pen was in that book too, but she was a kid and didn’t interest me in more than a vague way. I had the feeling that they would end up together, but I never expected things to develop the way they did. I’m actually glad that it unfolded this way, because it made the characters feel richer than I expected.
Pen and Tru haven’t seen each other in years. Tru split off on his own after a few years, hoping to experience the world and make it on his own. Not only did the new magic of the world finally kick in and turn him into a skinwalker, but he’s suffered through some serious personal tragedy. I don’t know why I was so surprised by what we learned about the years he spent on his own, but I was. I was a little angry that he never troubled to return and check in on Jenna and Mason, but I also understood what held him back.
In some ways Tru is exactly the same as he was in the first book, but in others he is completely different. He’s still the same little punk who hides himself behind a wall of attitude, but the years have stripped him down and added a layer of harshness to him. He comes across as more amoral and selfish than young and full of attitude to hide his insecurities, as he used to. The first couple chapters highlight a rather off-putting side of him and it’s difficult to predict whether or not you’ll even end up liking him. I didn’t expect that, really. I thought that his time with Mason had changed his behavior in irreversible ways and made a man out of him.
And it did. He just had to stop long enough to really see the person. Too much time spent in animal form and too little contact with humans had led him to discard social niceties and not notice people beyond what he wanted from them. Even Pen, who he had a history with, didn’t really register as a real person until a while down the road. When I learned more about what led him to behave that way, I found myself much more sympathetic and understanding toward him.
When I was first introduced to Tru and saw the man he had become I thought that he would be the main impediment in the future relationship. How surprising to be wrong! After her mother died Pen had a hard time connecting emotionally with anyone. She viewed the world through an impenetrable shield of armor, which is particularly surprising for such a martyr-like figure. She spent her life doing good deeds and selflessly helping people and became known as The Orchid. After that it was even more difficult to connect once people found out who she was. They spoke about her in hushed tones and looked at her in awe. Tru was the first person to come along in a while that didn’t cater to her.
I liked Pen, but I found her frustrating as well. I was very uncomfortable with how quickly she was willing to use her body as a bargaining chip with Tru. I was uncomfortable with him accepting her offer, too, but she was the one who brought it up in the first place. I liked how their roles in the bargain swapped as they traveled along. Tru became more and more reluctant to play the game and Pen became more and more determined to take the pleasure he had teased her with. When the time came to fulfill the bargain I thought things would have turned out differently than it did. The actual outcome made me grimace a little, to tell the truth. When that was paired with Pen’s next actions toward Tru, I found myself very, very uncomfortable with their sexual relationship–very uncomfortable.
Things eventually smoothed out and I was able to enjoy them together. Tru was the main reason I enjoyed them together so much. He did a lot of changing throughout the book. When he finally opened up, I loved his character. It made Pen’s determination to stay closed off jarring by comparison. She took so long to change and appreciate Tru that it was too little, too late for me. I liked that Tru refused to accept her words of love when her actions never matched them, but I was disappointed that he was so willing to settle for less with her. She eventually kicked it in gear, but I was left feeling a little sad about the disparity in the depths of their feelings and commitment.
I’ve really enjoyed my time reading this trilogy and am sad to say goodbye. If you haven’t given this series a try, I recommend you get out there and rectify that. You’re missing out.
”Now I see why you have no trouble getting laid,” she said softly.
Tru swallowed. “You didn’t before?”
“No. You’re kind of an asshole.”
“No more than anyone else,” he said with a shrug. “Less than some.”
She frowned up at him. “But you should be better.”
“Why the hell would you think that?”
“Because you’re Tru.”