Tally Adam’s first book in the Immortal Romance series has a lot going on. It wears its influences on its sleeve - Underworld, Supernatural, and many other vampire and werewolf movies and shows of the 90s and 00s. Shadow Pact follows William, a half werewolf half vampire who is the official executioner of the Coven, a shadowy organization that rules the immortals of the world. He and his surrogate father figure and friend, Paoli, act as the Coven’s hand to kill any who disobey their laws. When they go to a werewolf pack to exterminate a new target, they meet Emily, a human who is trying to save her estranged sister from the pack. Surprise, surprise, William and Paoli’s target is Emily’s sister. William attraction to Emily is immediate, and together he and Paoli discover that Emily must be his mate. But a werewolf has never had a mate that’s been human before!
It’s evident from the beginning that Emily is not all human. I’ve seen enough anime to know that when William compliments Emily’s purple eyes, that’s the author not so subtly hinting that she is not all human. Emily father is Lycaon, the head of all werewolves and co-ruler of the Coven. Lycaon heard a prophecy that if William did not find a mate worthy of him, his power as the only were/vampire would drive him insane and lead to his downfall. So he got busy and created many “potential mates” for William. Which, is kind of creepy. Though she isn’t a full werewolf, Emily has the blood of the immortals inside of her and the potential to turn. William fights his urges for Emily while trying to be respectful, but of course, both have the hots for each other because, wolf reasons, and that falls away quickly.
Shadow Pact is a confusing book. There are parts that I liked very much, such as the drama around the Coven and the vampires v. werewolves stuff. Again, it harkens back to fun 90s paranormal movies with high action and low story. But the story is very flat. There are times where things happen, and I felt like I was completely missing parts of the narrative.* Things jump around, and at a certain point, you had to embrace the fact that you are completely lost and go with it. The book’s plot has a lot going on that I can’t even get in to - not because I don’t understand it but because it barely affects the story. Emily and William are also reasonably dull characters, and I was more drawn to the side characters like Paoli and Sekhmet (who is maybe queer? Maybe I read too much into that).
I’m not a huge fan of the fated mates trope in paranormals. I find that many authors can use this an excuse to blur the lines of consent within some books. Just because you’re “meant to be” because your wolf says so, doesn’t mean you can’t check in for consent! Adams uses the fated mates trope without making it completely cringe-worthy, but there are some questionable moments. William is conscious of his urges and never lets the wolf take over (i.e., he’s trying not to be a total animal and be, I don’t know, a good person?), and he and Emily’s sex scenes together are always consensual. However, William does turn Emily into a were/vampire against her will. He does this to protect Emily - he’s commanded by the Coven heads to turn her, but also he accidentally feeds on her after being drained of blood and brings her to the brink of death. Which plays into another trope I’m not a fan of - the “manly” supernatural being that must protect the weak (usually female) human. William turns Emily without her consent but it’s to protect her, so it’s ok right? Ehhhhhh. It’s a trend I see over and over in paranormals that I’m sadly accustomed to, but I’d like to see change in the future.
There is no HEA in this book, but we do get an HFN with a promise of more stories from William’s new flock. The disruption of the Coven and William’s new mission are interesting enough to skim the next installment, and the promise of Paoli finding a romantic partner is enough to get me to read it. But Shadow Pact is just another mediocre paranormal that’s fun to read but doesn’t have much there.
* And maybe I was? The ARC copy of the novel that I read had some formatting errors, where sentences would stop mid-thought. This did not affect my reading or understanding of the story, but it made me think that maybe some parts of the story were missing more than a few words.
Content Warnings: violence, estranged relationship with sibling, estranged relationship from father, violent elements in a fantasy setting
Amy received a digital copy of this book from the publisher for review.