Author: Shawntelle Madison
Reviewer: Jen Twimom
Compelled, the third story of the Coveted series by Shawntelle Madison, chronicles the final leg in the journey of werewolf Natalya Stravinsky, from life as an OCD-driven pack outcast to that of the alpha female. I strongly suggest that you do not read Compelled without having first read the preceding two stories, as Nat’s story does not start, but rather culminates in Compelled. Without knowing Nat’s struggles first hand, I don’t feel a new reader would enjoy this story nearly as much. With that, this review will contain spoilers from the first two books.
Compelled opens shortly after the conclusion of Kept, when Nat finally earns her way back into the South Toms River pack, and along with it, the acceptance of her family and the love of her mate, Thorn. Unfortunately, as we learned in Kept, Thorn has been cursed to death, with his health rapidly deteriorating. When Nat learns that Tamara, a distant relative, is working on a spell to remove curses, Nat rushes off to Russia without telling anyone. Once there, she finds herself in the middle of a war between Warlocks and Wizards, while fighting for the life of her one true love.
Overall I enjoyed Compelled for what it is: the culmination of Nat’s long journey and years of struggling to have the life of which she’s always dreamed. After seeing Nat overcome so much during the course of the first two books, it was wonderful to witness her final growth and see her blossom into the true alpha female of the South Toms River pack. Not only has Nat learned to stand up for herself, but she’s found ways to deal rationally with her OCD and other quirks. During Compelled, we witness Nat put it all together to save Thorn. I genuinely like the woman Nat becomes.
While the beginning of the book was a bit slow, and Nat made some bad choices, once she and friends Tyler and Raj make it to Russia, the story picks up a lot. The journey through the Nat’s ancestral homeland was both entertaining and exciting. Nat meets several new and interesting characters along the way, creating a rag-tag family in spirit.
However… Nat already has family and a group of close-knit companions, who were regrettably absent from the story. Nick, Aggie, and Heidi, Nat’s closest friends, had no direct part in the book. This made me a bit sad by the time the story was over. How could Nat’s final tale and last big hoorah go on without the characters that got her to this point?! While there was some hints about what’s going on with the other characters, I was disappointed that they did not have more direct involvement in this journey.
In addition, because of his illnesses, Thorn was sidelined for most of the story. This also was bothersome. The couple fought so hard to be together that I wanted to see them in action together. The pair did have some touching moments, and we did get to witness each learn to adjust to being part of a pair – respecting the other and learning to trust. But I wanted more.
While I was not happy with the lack of time spent with Nat’s previous friends and family, I did like many of the new characters. I especially liked Tamara. She is clever and sharp, mostly cruel, yet with hints of a nurturing grandmother. She is selfish and does not apologize for her actions. The more time Nat spent with Tamara, the more I wanted to get to know the character. She has secrets, and discovering what they are is an engrossing ride.
At the very end of the story, we learn a secret that made me smile. It’s a sweet and sentimental twist of sorts that took me by surprise. I then nodded my head and said “ah ha.” I hope it puts a smile on your face and warm your heart like it did mine.
Compelled is the concluding story in Nat’s journey, which spans three books. Although I wanted more Nat and Thorn time and was disappointed at the lack of time spent with the characters I’ve come to care about, the underlying story and adventure was exciting. It is a sweet story of coming full circle and personal growth. There is not as much emotional depth as I would have hoped for, but the high stakes, and Thorn’s life on the line, created an urgency that kept me engrossed. I also enjoyed the new characters who help Nat this time around. Finally, I am excited that there will be another book in the Coveted world, this one featuring Aggie. If it’s anything like her novella, Bitter Disenchantment, it’s going to be a wonderful story. Bottom line: Compelled is a must read for fans of the Coveted series.
For the past five years, Natalya Stravinsky has dreamed of two things: to rejoin the South Toms River werewolf pack and to be reunited with Thorn Grantham. Fate may have brought the pack back into her life, but unless she journeys to Russia to save Thorn, the love she’s found may be lost again. For a stubborn werewolf like Natalya, no distance is too far, no magic spell too complex to master, because one way or another she will find a way to have everything she has ever wanted.
Release Date: May 5, 2014
Series: Coveted #3
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format(s): paperback (276 pages), e-book
Book Source: NetGalley
Compelled (Coveted #3)
Reviews in the Series:
Bitter Disenchantment by Shawntelle Madison (Coveted #0.4)
Collected by Shawntelle Madison (Coveted #0.5)
Coveted by Shawntelle Madison (Coveted #1)
Kept by Shawntelle Madison (Coveted #2)