Publisher: Lana Pecherczyk
Publication Date: June 8th 2021
Series or Standalone: Fae Guardians #1
Links: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Goodreads
CW: Sexual assault; physical assault; violence; torture; death of a pregnant woman
I was in a moody reading rut and decided to pick this up after seeing @bookdragontee binge-read it and rave about it. The Longing of Lone Wolves is an exciting start to the Fae Guardians series. The thing that sold me on the book by the end was the world, even if the world-building dominates this book a bit too much.
Rush is a Fae Guardian, a wolf-shifter whose powers make him a ruthless protector of Elphyne. That is, he was one until he broke the rules half a century ago and was cut off from his power and cursed to be invisible to everyone. Now, he serves as a lonely protector, keeping the monsters and humans away from his people until a human washes up on his shore and is the only being that can see him. Clarke wakes up with no knowledge of where she is, only that it is not the same Las Vegas she left. Clarke ends up getting tied to Rush as he sees her as his ticket to getting his curse broken, but she ends up being much more important than either of them knows as evils from the past have made their way to this new world and threaten everything.
This book has a lot of heavy lifting to do to explain the world and the magic system. It’s both a fantasy novel, yet also grounded in our reality. But it also involves time traveling and post-apocalyptic nuclear war with magic! A lot is going on in this world, and it takes a while to understand everything, detracting from the romance and story. But once all the pieces came together, I was fascinated! Pecherczyk managed to make a Fae and shifter story feel new and fresh. By the end of the book, I realized there are so many characters, races and places to explore in this world that I was excited about future books.
When it comes to the romance, I feel it did suffer because of all the world-building. I didn’t see the connection between Rush and Clarke as much as I would have liked. Because of everything else going on in the book, it also seemed like their relationship didn’t have much time to develop. It felt like they went from zero to a hundred, and because of the lack of chemistry, it was a bit jarring. I felt like I missed some important scenes where their feelings developed and grew and their relationship progressed.
I really liked the Beauty and the Beast vibes we got with Rush, especially as Clarke finds him while his magic is nearly depleted. Clarke really upends his quiet, lonely life. I struggled to get a read on his personality, even though we do get chapters from his POV. Rush has to serve as Clarke and the reader’s guide to this new world, which I think hampered my ability to get to know him better.
Clarke was a bit more of a fun character to explore. She’s out of her time and might be the cause behind everything. She has a lot to deal with, but I thought she handled it with a lot of spunk and perseverance. If I woke up a millennia later with weird creatures trying to kill me, I don’t think I would have handled it nearly as well as she did. She’s a feisty heroine who is willing to go down fighting. I think her having some psychic abilities back in the day helped her adjust and be more open to this new world. I also loved the snippets we got of her past human life; she clearly fell in with the wrong people and feels she has to atone for it. It will be interesting to see how all the people from her old life will make their way to this new world as I don’t think we’ve seen the last of some of them.
While the romance and main storyline fell a bit flat because of all the worldbuilding, I loved some of the secondary characters we meet and love this world. There is so much more to explore. This book reminded me of an open-world video game in that regard – it feels like we’ve only uncovered a small corner of the map and have so much more adventure ahead of us.
I’ll definitely be picking up the next book in the Fae Guardians series as I’m looking forward to where Pecherczyk takes the story and builds on the world. If you have Kindle Unlimited (or even if you don’t!) I think this is worth checking out!