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Posted by Vanessa On Friday, May 30, 2014

Silver and her mate Andrew are the alphas of the Roanoke werewolf pack, the largest in North America. But they're more than just that, they've been sworn fealty by the alphas in all the other packs in North America, as well. There's a benefit to having two alphas--they can  divide and conquer, which comes in handy when there's an entire continent to manage.

When Andrew leaves for Alaska to intervene in a case for the human mother of an infant Were, Silver must manage everything else that comes up: the pregnant alpha of a sub-pack with a recalcitrant beta, a roamer from South America coming through her territory, and a step-daughter who doesn't know what to do with herself that doesn't involve causing trouble.

Her fragile mind handles Were issues fine, but when she deals with humans she risks looking insane--and that doesn't even include exposing the reality of Weres to the outside world. This makes her an obvious target of the vengeful European pack from Madrid whose balance of power was diminished in book two, TARNISHED (EBR review), as a result of her and Andrew.

The different thing about Held's book in the Urban Fantasy genre is her deep exploration of Were culture and behavior. I enjoy reading her take on it and the problems caused by the culture that have to be dealt with. It's something she handles with finesse across all three books. Silver is the star of the series, I find her fascinating as a broken Were who despite everything still has the dominance and confidence to be an alpha in her own right. She is insightful to others' problems and understands her own limitations.

But while I enjoyed SILVER (EBR review) and TARNISHED, REFLECTED felt flat for me.

It's pretty simple, really. Andrew spends 95% of the book off-stage (he's pretty cool and I wish we could see more of him). And while REFLECTED is told much from Silver's PoV, here Andrew's daughter Felicia becomes the central figure. It's been three years since the events in TARNISHED, so now Felicia is eighteen and must decide about the next stage of her life, whether she becomes a roamer, get a job, or go to college.

I don't dislike Felicia, but I also don't particularly enjoy her character. I'm coming to the realization that I haven't found many teenage girl characters I've truly liked (a hold-over from high school drama? dunno), and Felicia is more of the same wishy-washy, secretive behavior that makes this mom of a teenager go batty. I haven't been a teenage girl for...a while...and even when I was a teen I was more rational that most. So take that for what it's worth.

Even then, I think I have some grounds for being annoyed at Felicia's behavior with the roamer and the raw deal she gives Silver. The solution wasn't hard, she eventually finds it in the end after some colossally dumb behavior. Is the plot contrived? I think so. Did Felicia carry this story? She doesn't have Silver's charisma, that's for sure. These issues might have been glossed over by a YA audience, but the graphic sex scene at the start ruins that notion or else I might have let my teen read it. Perhaps the drama would have made more sense to her.

Recommended Age: 17+
Language: Minimal
Violence: Some fighting and blood
Sex: A detailed scene opens the novel; other references (more than in the previous novels)

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