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Book: “Creatures of the Night” by Grace Collins
Publishing Info: Wattpad Books, July 2021
Where Did I Get this Book: Edelweiss+
Where Can You Get this Book: Amazon | IndieBound | WorldCat
Book Description: Milena’s twentieth birthday, the day she would join the ranks of her village’s hunters, should have been the most exciting day of her life. Being a hunter meant she would be able to help protect her village from the murderous wolves who take human form—the creatures of the night. But a chance encounter with Elias, the enigmatic leader of the creatures, leaves her questioning everything she has ever believed to be true.
Up until now, Elias has managed to protect the creatures of the night and keep the secrets of his past well hidden. Now, as tensions between the groups grow, Elias is forced to make hard decisions: ones that will cost lives. Nobody is safe, especially Milena, the person he is inexplicably drawn to even though it could destroy them both.
Review: I’ve really enjoyed the other books by Grace Collins that I’ve come across: the romances are solid, the dialogue has been witty, and the fantasy elements have been unique and refreshing. But the books I’ve read have all been from her back catalog, so I was excited to see a new book of hers on offer in Edelweiss+ last summer. Why I’m now reviewing it here in January, who knows? I blame my out of control TBR list.
Milena has never understood why her caretaker has made her wait until her twentieth birthday to join the rest of the villagers on the hunt when everyone else has participated since they were sixteen. But the day is drawing near, and she hopes that by helping protect her people from the vicious creatures of the night, she will at last be accepted as a member of the village. All is not as it seems however, when she meets the mysterious leader of the creatures of the night. Suddenly, her world is turned upside down and no one is who she thought they were. Including herself.
I had a few expectations going into this book based on my experience with other books by Collins. Like I said, the other two I’ve read had great romances and excellent dialogue and characterizations driving much of the story. All of that is right up my alley, and thus I really enjoyed those stories. I also liked the unique fantasy aspects. Sadly, while this story did come through on the latter, it missed the mark on the former.
But first, where it did succeed. Again, Collins has presented a fairly unique fantasy world to drive her story. Surprising no one, the creatures of the night are your fairly typical werewolves/shifters. But there were also two other fantastical beings, the hollowers and the whispers. Each of these last two were very intriguing, especially the hollowers who are the true villains of the story. I can’t go into much detail about either of these different beings as that would spoil a few of the reveals in the story (you can probably guess a few of the basic points already, but just in case!).
Sadly, I was less thrilled with the characters and the romance of this story. For one thing, the book desription seems to setting up a story that will have POV chapters from both Melina and Elias (this is similar to Collins’ M.O. from some of her other books), but instead we only have Melina’s perspective. And it’s just…bland. It was all the more disappointing because, given her history and set-up, there could have been an excellent story arch for her to traverse. And while there are hints of deeper moments of reflection but, in the end, they never come to much. She’s incredibly passive throughout the story. It’s understandable in the beginning, but again, she fails to grow into anything more as the story continues. She’s not particularly brave or kind or curious. Just a mellow, nice young woman.
For his part, Elias is similarly bland. His mysteriousness quickly loses its appeal and becomes more frustrating than anything else. By the time he does share some of his secrets, it’s too little too late and I was left wondering why he played some of these cards so close to his chest when, if known, they could have made everything a bit easier. Between these two fairly flat characters, there was little room for the romance to bloom into anything truly compelling. To make matters worse, because both characters were fairly noncommunicative (Melina for being a more quiet character and Elias because he’s “mysterious), there wasn’t a lot of dialogue between the two. As I’ve said, the fun dialogue between the romantic leads was one of the main draws for me to Collins’ other works. So I was disappointed to see this lost in this book.
Overall, this was an underwhelming story. It also ends on a cliffhanger, which was frustrating given the rest of the story. I’m invested enough to want to find out what happens, but I’m not enthused about the prospects for these two characters unless they both manage to grow personalities. I know Collins is capable of this, so I guess I’ll just keep my fingers crossed for the second book.
Rating 7: Not up to my expectations for this author, but not without merit.
“Creatures of the Night” is on this Goodreads list: Wattpad Books Publishing.