Caged (The Caged Series Book 1) – Amber Lynn Natusch
Way before Twilight was even thought of, my love of werewolves blossomed while reading L.J. Smith in the 90’s. A wee girl of 11 or 13, I was transfixed, while curled up in my bed dreaming of my werewolf soul mate that was destined in the stars (or so I hoped).
Her creation of the Night World spawned my love. But in truth, it was always there.
I feel if you are a dog lover there is a natural inclination to love the inner wolf that materializes in legends. I have been obsessed with canines since a child. We personify our pets everyday, giving them human qualities that we want to believe they embody.
It seems natural then that we create creatures in our legends that can be both beast and man. Creatures that embody fierce instinctual behaviors and exhibit determined loyalty and bravery. There can be nothing more admirable (in my opinion) in a companion, whether human or beast.
There are of course, two different types of weres. You have the sexy, boyfriend kind that fiercely protect you, and you have the angry, monster kind that want to rip out your insides. I prefer a little pinch of both.
That is why some many moons ago, I bought this story. It was an impulse purchase, believing as I clicked the “buy” button the book would likely stink. But it had werewolves, so there you go.
It has been sitting in my Kindle que ever since.
So, did I like it? That is the question.
20 pages in, I was debating if I wanted to keep reading. A self-published story always comes with some reader hesitation from me. So I wasn’t surprised, when I struggled to get into the story. Who was this character named Ruby? Did I like her? I wasn’t sure. But I was bored and had nothing better to do, so I kept reading. And… it got better.
I ended up enraptured by the story. I read it over two days, spending my Wednesday night sprawled on the couch, the dogs scattered around the room.
What was the hook?
Well my readers, I will tell you. Natusch understands how to drag out a romance connection. If you are writing a book that has sequels, the romance cannot be satisfied in book 1. If it is, you have lost me. The best part of Christmas, isn’t Christmas, it’s Christmas Eve – the anticipation, the excitement! That is what you want to experience. Christmas is boring. The presents are no longer intriguing because I know what’s inside. Just like Christmas, the art of writing a good romance is in the building up to the final unification.
Love triangles and obstacles to the romance help to spread that out, which Natusch does well. Now, 20% into book 2 and the romance is closer to climax, but not fulfilled, thereby keeping me hostage.
The romance building is not the only positive to this story, the characters are all enjoyable. Ruby has grown on me, her sarcastic quips and quick tempter a growing endearing quality. The constant stream of attainable hotties spice up her life with drama, which keeps me spinning.
There were just a few issues I struggled with:
1. The lightness in tone during the dark, scary climax was a bit too light. I wasn’t feeling the danger.
2. The editing could have been a bit more thorough. With self-published novels, I tend to be more aware of the grammar issues and more offended by them. There were sentences that weren’t completely developed that needed a bit more work, but overall it was pretty clean.
Would I recommend this story?
Definitely, but only to werewolf loving, love struck teens (or adults who never grew up like me). If you enjoyed Twilight, you will likely enjoy this as well.
Synopsis: “I stood in the middle of the room, unmoving – I barely breathed. My life had just become surreal, impossible, and one enormous lie. I needed to go, to run somewhere, anywhere to beat back the reality that was rapidly closing in around me. The image of him was burned into my retina, flashing over and over again like a warning. He was trapped somewhere between human and decidedly not, and I realized that was my new reality.
I was too.”
After the death of her parents, Ruby awakens from a lifetime of shadows and finds herself alone, thrust into a world of lies, deceit, betrayal and the supernatural.
As her quest for truth continues to come up short, she realizes that maybe some questions really are best left unanswered.
When her true identity is finally unveiled, she is forced to choose between two of the mysterious men who continually seem to crop up in her life.
She chooses poorly.
Now abandoned, Ruby must learn to call on the darkness within to survive, or spend a hellish eternity imprisoned because of it.