No Remorse, by MaryLynn Bast – Amber is a werewolf with very peculiar powers. She’s spent her life on the run, working odd jobs and living out of motels, all to evade the werewolf pack that murdered her mother’s family. But when her teenage crush, Blake, ends up in mortal danger, Amber swings into action—and so does their firestorm romance.
With her old pack and the Council of werewolves at her heels, Amber must fight to protect her new pack, and to survive.
Like vampires, werewolves have seen more than their fair share of literary action in the last decade—Twilight, the Sookie Stackhouse novels, Harry Potter—you get the picture. That said, No Remorse is exactly what you would expect in the era of True Blood and Underworld: a novel about werewolves living among us in packs, who change at the full moon, and who terrorize their human prey.
I do think there is a place for a novel like No Remorse in today’s literary world. Werewolves are well-loved, and there is undoubtedly still a market for them. Unfortunately, the craft of No Remorse fails to live up to expectations.
Like many independent publications (No Remorse is published by Bast’s independent publishing house, Werewolf Tails Publishing), I think the problem boils down to a lack of professional editing—it shows in the story development, frequent typos, and basic punctuation mistakes. Early in the novel, Bast struggles with the stretching and collapsing of time. She gives the early years of Amber’s life the summary treatment, missing a great opportunity to build the reader’s empathy. Similarly, Amber’s love interest, Blake, is introduced in a single sentence: “Since arriving at the school a couple weeks after she had, Blake had been a true friend and she trusted him.” We are never told how Blake became a true friend, or more importantly, why a girl running for her life would come to trust him.
There is also some confusion in No Remorse over which character is telling the story. At first, our third-person narrator only gives us insight into Amber’s thoughts and feelings; but as the novel goes on, perspective suddenly shifts to Blake, and even other minor characters. I wasn’t sure which character deserved my sympathies, and it left me unable to trust Bast’s narration. Of course, I’ve seen this phenomenon occur even in big-time publications with professional editors, so perhaps it is a matter of taste.
Bast does excel at pacing her action sequences and rolling out realistic, catchy dialogue, which helps carry the middle of the novel. As a writer, this is probably her strongest area; sequences with low tension seem to be harder. The sex scenes in No Remorse are long and gratuitous. I realize that erotica is often a key component in paranormal novels aimed at an adult audience, but as a reader I found myself skimming to get back to the story.
As for the rest of the novel? There were so many sudden revelations and twists in the back-story that I lost track of what was true and what wasn’t. I love a good surprise—don’t get me wrong—but at some point, I wasn’t able to suspend my disbelief any longer. Perhaps werewolves have simply outlived their time.
This book gets: ♥ out of 5