The second installment in the series, Strength of the Wolf revisits one of my favourite couples and a dearly remembered world, this time in the perspective of Tim and following his romance. This was a novel I enjoyed a lot, but I confess I'm guilty of constantly comparing it to the first one-- to which I found it didn't quite match up.
The setting of the novel was as intriguing as ever; reading about how the military is attempt to completely integrate werewolves and utilise their skills effectively is fascinating as well as observing all of the pack dynamics from not only Noah, but also Jeremy, a fledgling true alpha still trying to learn the ropes of his position.
Having fond memories of Tim from the first novel, I was excited to find out that he was getting his own novel and love, but I admit it threw me off a little. Previously we saw him as a steady, implacable well of knowledge and calm authority, so I admit reading in his perspective completely disoriented me, especially when he as constantly checking Lucas out in the beginning and describing him and Noah as attractive... Strange, to say the least. I suppose it was a rocky transition from seeing him as a mentor to reading about his .... dangly parts -- doing what dangly parts do.
In regards to Jeremy, our other main character and Tim's love interest, I admit I'm not completely sold on him. I did find him lovely after a while, yet he was still so unfamiliar; I felt as if even at the end of the novel we were never truly able explore his character intimately. Speaking of characters though: revisiting Lucas and Noah and their lovely lovely relationship, especially in the eyes of an outsider, was such a treat. And all of the supporting characters were likeable and interesting.
This leads on to my other point, which was the lacklustre romance. One of the biggest problems in this novel, in my humble opinion, hah, was the lack of interaction. Jeremy is a civilian true alpha, and as McKenna was not only writing in the POV of a Marine but also determined to keep the military side-plot occurring concurrently to the romance, there was a lack of detail between the Tim and Jeremy which left me unsatisfied and dubious of their love. In the previous novel there was balance as both were Marines and romantic development could occur simultaneously to the military plot, however in this case I feel as if there was a missing piece in the cake that I really really really wanted to fucking eat.
This issue, of course, mirrors that of reality, however the issue was unresolved in the novel. They still fell into true-love with little difficulty. I wanted to see interaction and development. I wanted to see them together. Honestly, precious development time was lost because they were fucking like bunnies on Viagra. When they did interact it was pure magic though. Not only that, I think it would've been more productive to ignore the military side because really, there were three plots going on with little expansion: Jeremy becoming true alpha and growing as a character (which was totally skimmed over...), military plot, romance plot.
Anyway, in spite of all my nitpicking and such I did enjoy this novel. Admittedly not as much as the first (still guilty about the constant comparison) but it as lovely and charming and damn was the little threads of plot interesting as hell. I'm hoping with fingers crossed for another book since there was a potential plot material slipped into this novel.
Rating: 3.5 - 3.75 solid read