Title: Wolf, Becoming
Author: Rory Ni Coiliean
Genre: Paranormal, Shape Shifter
Length: Novella (91 pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (24 Feb 2016)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts
Blurb: Volyk learns very young that he has to hide what he is—oboroten’, shape-shifter—after his father is killed and skinned by a hunter, and the pack that takes in his pregnant mother is hostile to his kind. When Volyk is ordered to fight the pack’s beta to prove his fitness, but instead obeys his hormones and tries to mount him, he’s declared an abomination and forced to flee.
Ilya, too, hides a secret. Being young and gay in modern Russia is dangerous, and he knows it. But the truth eventually gets out, and his brothers lure him into the forest to kill him. They’re stopped by Volyk, who hides the mortally wounded Ilya in his den. The only way to heal the human is to turn him into an oboroten’.
Unfortunately, Ilya’s gentle nature is ill-suited to the life of a wolf. But when Volyk’s old pack returns, seeking to take away Volyk’s magickal den, Ilya will have to embrace—truly become—the wolf Volyk made him to save both his mate’s life and his own.
Review: Wolf, Becoming is a wonderful novella by Rory Ni Coiliean. It is wonderful in the way that it is a dark and gritty view in the world of the paranormal. It is wonderful in the way that it looks at wolf shifters in a very unique and interesting way. It is wonderful in the way that it is purely about survival.
We first meet Volyk, a wolf shifter which are known as oboroten’. When tragedy strikes, a human killed his father, Volyk is left to protect his pregnant mother though he is still a child. That is when they meet a pack of real wolves. However, when it is revealed he is gay, Volyk is rejected by the pack and left to wonder as a lone wolf. I find it difficult to form an appropriate and brief explanation of oboroten’ vs real wolves – this isn’t quite the same as other shape shifter stories. Here, it is more like that the oboroten’ have a human skin beneath their wolf skin, rather than the other way around. The oboroten’ communicate telepathically, something they need to hide from normal wolves, which communicate via body language. This is definitely one of the main reasons that I find the story exciting to read.
Then there is Ilya. We meet him as a child and it is immediately obvious that he is more tender-hearted than his father and brothers. Then years later when it is discovered he is gay, his brothers plot to get rid of him. Ilya is a real sweetheart and the guys have real chemistry. This is where Ilya and Volyk’s worlds clash. Volyk goes to save Ilya and in the end the only way to do so is to turn him into a werewolf.
From there, it is about making sure Ilya can live as a werewolf. Then there is danger from the old pack who do not want Volyk anywhere near their territory. There are some surprises along the way, which in the end lifts some of the darkness from the book. This is, ultimately, a story of survival. Anyone who loves to read about shape shifters should enjoy this darker twist on the genre.