Wilder is the conclusion to the Chosen Ones series by Christina Dodd. Charisma and Aleksandr are the only two Chosen Ones left without mates so it was a natural assumption they would be paired together. Aleksandr is a Wilder, grandson to Konstantine Wilder who is one of the main players in Ms. Dodd’s Darkness Chosen series. The curse from that series was broken by each Wilder son/daughter and they would never be able to take animal form again.
In a previous book Aleksandr is set to get married when he abruptly disappears. The Chosen Ones have no knowledge of what has happened to him. While he is gone they try to replace him with other Chosen however none of them stick. For one reason or another, they are just not right for the current group. Unfortunately in order to fulfill the current prophecy they need seven Chosen One.
What nobody knows is that Aleksandr was captured by the Others and forced to transform into a beast in order to escape his captivity. He was implanted with a homing device that keeps him from walking the streets. He must remain underground in order to block the signal. On top of remaining underground, he has no memory. He does not remember who he is, where he came from or his vital part in saving the world. All he remembers is the past months since he escaped. He has been taken in by the people of the Belows and given the title of Guardian. Living underground and killing demons is his only purpose in life.
Until one day he rescue Charisma from a demon attack. Though not able to get there in time to spare her from a venomous demon bite, he is still able to fend off the demon and get a doctor to see to her recovery. Charisma and Aleksandr are forced to spend a lot of time together while she recovers and they slowly start to fall for each other. Charisma has some thought that Guardian could actually be Aleksandr but there is no way to prove that.
I liked how matter of fact Charisma is with Aleksandr. Aleksandr is stuck in half man, half beast form and feels like there is no hope for him. The only reason a woman could be attracted to him is because they were “slumming” as he so graciously calls it. Charisma is pretty good at talking him out of his slumps and mini-fits.
“I don’t change with the moon. I don’t change at all.” He gestured at himself, realized he’d just directed her gaze downward, and hastily wrapped the towel around his waist. “This is me, all the time.”
“So you don’t like looking like this?”
“Did you think I would run away screaming?”
“No. You’re kind.”
Throwing back her head, she laughed-and she most certainly was laughing at him. “Kind is not usually the word applied to me, not even by my friends. No, you’re kind. You do the right thing. I’ve met enough men who were cowards, or cheats, or liars, to be able to look beyond your appearance.” She was still smiling, and smiling invitingly, when she said, “I find you attractive.”
Charisma was written very well and ended up being one of my favorite characters of the series. She is practical and level-headed even in the face of a whole slew of difficulties. She has to make some of the more difficult choices for this series and she always makes the correct one without whining or complaining. She was fully aware of what sacrifices would need to be made and the cost that came with them.
Aleksandr was just an ok character which kind of surprised me because I absolutely loved the books on the older Wilder bunch. Aleksandr came off as pouty and very much invested in his own pity party. He didn’t seem to try real hard at finding something different for his life. He accepted that he was stuck underground and the role he would play there. I think only once in the book did he try to go above ground. He redeemed himself in the end as most main characters do but up until that point I wasn’t really impressed with how he was represented. In the previous books he was still a young kid and even though this one was set at the end of the seven years, he still came across as that young kid. Almost as if Ms. Dodd had never allowed him to mature.
Since this is the final book in the series it is the one where we see the resolution to the main conflict. The Chosen Ones have to defeat Osgood/Satan and save the world. In order to do that they must act out the prophecy Jaqueline has given them. I didn’t care for this part at all. The acting out of the prophecy was so bizarre and vague that I was never sure how what they did could save everyone. I don’t want to spoil what happens but the final scene, while good because it involved all of the previous characters, was also bad in that it was silly. There surely had to be a more complex and thought out way for them to save the world. Somewhere along the way I must have missed why their actions were so vital.
There is a super cute epilogue that has couple and babies galore. I am always a sucker for those. Overall this was a decent ending to the whole series. It wasn’t my favorite book of the series but it wasn’t the worst. Samuel will remain my favorite for just being the jackass he is. If you follow the series it will be a must read, of course, because you need to find out what happens in the end! Final grade- B-/C+
“I have got a beast fetish. I saw the Disney movie about a dozen times. I even saw La Belle et al Bete. But the rest of this is your fault.”
“What did you think was going to happen when you….you snacked on me like I was a Hostess Twinkie?” She leaned her elbow on the table and widened her eyes at him. “Did you think I was going to not like it? Maybe your experience is from reading how-to books, but as a researcher, you get an A in Holy Shit That Feels Good.”