Mortal Ties by Eileen Wilks
My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Author Eileen Wilks was once best known for her light romance novels, which she has written in great number, and which have been very popular over the years. But hiding inside this Romance writer was an Urban Fantasy author begging to be released. At least, that’s my take on it. When Wilks created the World of the Lupi in 2004, she unleashed (pardon the pun) a werewolf series of outstanding complexity upon those of us who love things that go bump in the night. Tempting Danger, the first book in the Lupi series, was truly inspired, and each succeeding book has grown in every dimension. Her character development is excellent, and her plot lines beautifully done. But it’s the political structure of the various werewolf clans around the world that fascinates me the most. Wilks pays a great deal of attention to how things work within the clans, and has developed an entire language around the levels of clan hierarchy, religion, and magic that adds a real depth to these stories beyond that which is usually found in Urban Fantasy.
Reading these books, you find yourself becoming fascinated with learning about things like the Rho of each clan, the Rhej, the Lu Nuncio, the Mantle, and the Lady; or, as we would think of them, the Ruler or Leader of each clan, the clan’s historian or priestess, the Rho’s acknowledged heir, the power that settles over a Rho upon taking control of a clan, and the Supreme Being behind their religious beliefs and power. But in addition to this, the character development is very, very good, and not just of the main players, Lily Yu and Rule Turner. The secondary characters are just as interesting and finely drawn, and the clans as a whole are engaging on every level. Even the bad guys are well done, and not quite so cardboard as they can often be. And in addition to all of these…there are dragons. Happy sigh. DRAGONS! This is the series that taught me to love them. When you read about their power and beauty and intelligence, I predict you will love them, too.
The romance between former police officer Lily Yu, who is a “touch-sensitive” and can feel magic on others, and Rule Turner, the Lu Nuncio of Clan Nokolai, is powerful and complicated, and will pull you right in. However, Romance author or not, do not expect Paranormal Romance. What Eileen Wilks has created here is pure Urban Fantasy, in the best possible sense, with a strong love story involved. The wolves, the clan activities and the complex plots are the draw in this series, with all of it occurring right alongside every day humans in busy San Diego. Rule & Lily are the focal point, and their love (and mate bond) lends strength to everything else, but not to the extent of taking away from the story line, and the struggles of the clans to find a place for themselves in today’s world.
Mortal Ties is the 9th book in the series, and continues to set the stage for an epic battle to yet to come. It is fast-moving, exciting, and has all the best elements of the series as a whole included. There are new characters and old familiar ones, and moments of real pleasure as you watch the very clever Rho of Nokolai, Isen, play his mind games to ferret out a traitor in the clan. Lily also has opportunities to use her crime solving skills in a tricky negotiation sequence that I really enjoyed. I highly recommend this series to Urban Fantasy fans. And even if you really aren’t an Urban Fantasy fan, if you’ve ever wondered about giving the genre a try, this would be a good place to start. The books are listed below, and should be read in order.
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