Review: Kept by Shawntelle Madison

I am always on the look out for a good new urban fantasy series.  When I saw the blurb for Kept I was excited that I might have found one.

Fresh from defending her pack in battle, Natalya Stravinsky, a whip-smart werewolf with a lovable neurotic streak, wants a little rest and relaxation. Once an outcast, she’s now eager to rejoin the ranks of her New Jersey pack, and has even gotten a handle on her obsessive urge to hoard holiday ornaments.

I like the idea of the hoarding of holiday ornaments too.  It makes me laugh.  A kick ass heroine with hoarding issues?  What an interesting concept.

Kept by Shawntelle MadisonNatalya is trying to move on with her life after the recent fight.  She has decided to take part in the pack’s upcoming trials in order to return to the fold.  She must prove herself to everyone in order to be allowed back in.  Unfortunately she has a ton of issues that must be overcome.  Because of her neurosis she gives of the smell of fear and submissiveness something that makes other wolves dismiss her as weak and unimportant.  She has a nasty case of OCD and is a germaphobe on top of that.  She cannot touch anything without giving it a severe wipe down.

As she is preparing for the trials she gets word that her father has gone missing.  Her brother is expecting his first child to be born any day so Nat is on her own in finding her father.  She seeks out the person responsible for his disappearance and learns that her father owes him a blood debt.  Nat agrees to settle the debt in place of her father.  She is given a large dump truck and 24 hours to deliver the contents to another wolf pack.  The dump truck is magically sealed so she has no idea what is in there.  So we have a short deadline, Nat has never driven a dump truck before and she has a pack of imps chasing her every move.

She calls in the help of a friend and love interest, Nick.  Nick is a white wizard and when he arrives he brings two other friends.  The four of them must get the goods there on time in order to settle the debt.  While transporting the stuff the magical lock comes undone and Nat finds a child in the back of the truck.  She would never willing send a child in to harm so she releases the child even knowing that her family’s blood debt will now go unsettled.  The child turns out to be a powerful imp with a family that is willing to help.  Between the imp’s family and her friends Nat is able to settle the debt and return home to prepare for the trials.

When I started this book I was looking for a heroine like Kate Daniels or Mercy Thompson.  Those are my two UF favorites.  They are kick ass chicks and have awesome men in their lives that compliment them.  Unfortunately I didn’t get that with Nat.  She is so over the top OCD that she is painful to read about.  Everything she does is prefaced with how dirty something might be or the germs that will spread.  Pulling out a pack of baby wipes in the middle of a good scene is a total buzzkill.  I can handle my heroines having issues, take Chess for example.  She is a drug addict but she is not weak.  She does not drag the story down.  I like her in spite of her serious issues.  Nat is submissive on top of having major issues.

On top of that there is a love triangle.  Normally I am all for the alpha dude but in this case I wasn’t.  Thorn is the local pack leader and Nat’s ex boyfriend.  He is engaged to a real peach of a woman and still cannot stay away from Nat.  He is constantly taking phone calls with his fiancée right in front of Nat.  Nick is our other love interest and he is sweet.  He seems like someone that could have genuine interest in Nat and shares her OCD issues.  He does something to save Nat that really puts a damper on their relationship and Nat is turned away.  By the end of Kept our love triangle is mostly settled, from what I can tell anyway, but I am not sure where it will really go.

I will say Kept ended on a high note for Nat.  She managed to pull some dominance out of nowhere but I was a bit confused.  It wasn’t really true to her character or maybe it was?  Maybe this is really where the series is supposed to go?  Nat has now found her true self and things will go from there?  I am still curious about the next book because I wonder what will happen with the pairing and how Nat will react after the conclusion we saw.

Overall, if you are looking for a new UF series this one has potential.  Just don’t go in expecting Kate or Mercy like I did.  Nat is a bit different.  The writing is clean and fast paced though so you won’t have any trouble breezing through.  Final grade- C+

Favorite Quote:

No matter how much we run away, what we fear most always catches up to us.


Rating: C+
Kept by Shawntelle Madison
November 27th 2012 by Ballantine Books
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