by T.J. Klune
Series: Green Creek #1
Also in this series: Ravensong
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication Date: July 4, 2023
I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
The Bennett family has a secret:
They're not just a family, they're a pack.
Wolfsong is Ox Matheson's story.
Oxnard Matheson was twelve when his father taught him a lesson: Ox wasn’t worth anything and people would never understand him. Then his father left.
Ox was sixteen when the energetic Bennett family moved in next door, harboring a secret that would change him forever. The Bennetts are shapeshifters. They can transform into wolves at will. Drawn to their magic, loyalty, and enduring friendships, Ox feels a gulf between this extraordinary new world and the quiet life he’s known, but he finds an ally in Joe, the youngest Bennett boy.
Ox was twenty-three when murder came to town and tore a hole in his heart. Violence flared, tragedy split the pack, and Joe left town, leaving Ox behind. Three years later, the boy is back. Except now he’s a man – charming, handsome, but haunted – and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them.
The beloved fantasy romance sensation by New York Times bestselling author TJ Klune, about love, loyalty, betrayal, and family.
While I’ve heard ton of praise for this author, it wasn’t until I saw Tor was reissuing this series that I decided it was finally time to pick it up. I don’t know what took me so long to read this because this is like angsty found family concentrate.
Ever since his dad left Ox and his mom, Ox has tried to help his mom out however he could. It doesn’t help that most folks in the small town of Green Creek consider him “slow” because he tends to think things over before he speaks so he has very few friends to rely on. That all changes when the Bennetts move back in and he meets Joe, the youngest son. And sure, there’s something a little different about the Bennetts, but why should that matter? That is, until the evil hunting them follows them to Green Creek.
Everyone looks down on Ox for being “simple.” But it’s more that his motivations are just so pure – he wants to take care of his mom, and as time goes on, his friends. Steps along that path – like getting a shirt with his name embroidered on it from the mechanic – that would seem like nothing to most people are milestones to him. Protecting, supporting and loving those he cares about are the bedrocks of his personality and all of his actions stem from that. How could you not love a character like that? It’s his unique POV that takes a well-worn plot (normal person discovers there’s werewolves!!!) into something that’s impossible to put down.
This does eventually turn into a romance. The “eventually” being because Ox and Joe first meet when Ox is sixteen and Joe is ten. It’s a deep friendship from the start for both boys desperately in need of friends – Ox needs someone who sees him for himself and not his large size and slow manner, and Joe needs someone who sees him and not the trauma he’s just been through. While Joe immediately knows that Ox is “his,” Ox doesn’t develop romantic feelings for him until Joe’s almost eighteen – and is immediately horrified by the age gap and the possibility of ruining their friendship. Ox, of course, is the last person to realize that Joe’s into him. But Circumstances occur and Joe is 20 and Ox is 26 before any real attempt can be made at a romantic relationship – and they have a lot more things to work through and trust to rebuild before that can happen.
The found family aspects were what really drew me into the story. The Bennetts immediately enfold Ox into their family, and before she knows it, his mom is included as well. Ox also has his mechanic friends at work – his original second family – and as the story progresses, the two found families interact in interesting and emotional ways. It’s hard to go more into that without going into spoilers, but there’s just as much angst and happy tears to be had over these relationships as Ox and Joe’s relationship.
Overall, an intriguing and engrossing take on werewolves with a generous dollop of found family. Highly recommended to any other found family fanatics out there!
Content notes: View Spoiler »