Title: The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf
Author: Molly Harper
Narrator: Amanda Ronconi
Audiobook Length: 8 hours, 4 minutes
Genre: Science Fiction, Romance
Origins: Mine. All mine.
Release Date: 29 March 2011
Bottom Line: Love. Maggie Graham is such a kick-ass heroine.
“Generations of werewolves have been secretly residing in a secluded valley a stone’s throw from Grundy, Alaska. So when a snooping Outsider comes to Grundy to investigate rumors of lycanthropic shenanigans in the area, the valley’s pack alpha, Maggie Graham, resolves to chase him away, even if doing so takes a quick bite on the butt. What a pity that researcher Nick Thatcher turns out to be so drool-worthy, and that his kisses make Maggie want to sit up and beg. Maggie just can’t seem to convince Nick to leave . . . and even worse, she can’t convince herself to stay away from him. Cross-species dating is problem enough for a harried alpha female, but on top of that, a rival group of werewolves is trying to move into the valley. With interpack war threatening, Maggie can’t afford to be distracted. Combining romance and a career can be tough for anyone; for a werewolf in love with a human, it may be disastrous. . . .”
Thoughts: Most of Ms. Harper’s characters are true girls. They like tea and shopping and frilly lingerie and romance novels. This does not mean they are weak; in fact, Ms. Harper’s heroines are anything but weak. They are just girly-girls. The wacky scenarios that occur around them are more humorous because of this fact.
Maggie Graham, heroine of The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf, is anything but a girly-girl. In fact, Maggie is the anti-thesis of a girly-girl. Not only is it a refreshing change from her previous characters, it provides the opportunity for some of the best internal dialogue that one will ever read. Readers will find themselves giggling over Maggie’s disdain for all that “girl crap” and “romantic shit”. They will admire her fierce independence and very strong will but snigger over her friends’ attempts to soften her image. Her makeover, both literal and figurative, is an absolute delight to watch unfold.
Then there is the surprising gravitas over Maggie’s role as alpha and her struggles with leading as well as protecting her pack. All of Ms. Harper’s novels have a more serious side to them to create tension and a story line beyond the romantic one. Yet, The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf’s serious story line is particularly intriguing, as Maggie’s problems are a bit more extreme than Ms. Harper’s other heroines. Generations, and the survival of her pack, depend on her decisions and/or actions, and the pressures she faces as pack leader are incredibly steep. Even though the story is supernatural given the werewolf presence, her pressures are also real. What mother has not lost sleep over a child or what military leader has not had to weigh the pros of battle against the potential loss of life? It is a welcome break from the silliness and general fun that usually define Ms. Harper’s novels.
This does not mean that The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf is serious and dull. Ms. Harper retains all of her wit and charm and infuses her characters with the same. The scenarios in which Maggie finds herself are every bit as amusing as fans will want and expect. It is just that this novel has a little something extra in the form of stressors to which almost all readers can relate in some fashion. It adds a welcome depth to an already great story.
With Maggie being one of the more sarcastic, non-feminine heroines in Ms. Harper’s canon, there can be no other narrator to bring her to life than Amanda Ronconi. Ms. Ronconi appears to be a natural smart-ass, so much so that the acerbic lines roll off her tongue with ease. This only serves to enhance the audio experience. While Ms. Harper’s novels are always humorous and fun, to miss the auditory sarcasm, perfect inflection, and well-timed pauses because of reading the novel in print is to miss out on an absolutely hilarious audiobook experience in which the narrator and the author create a perfect partnership.
Fans of Ms. Harper already know what to expect when starting one of her novels, and The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf will not disappoint. It remains every bit as funny, silly, and entertaining as all of her other novels with the added benefit of a character who does break the mold and a seriousness that fits with this very different heroine. Ms. Harper remains at the top of her game with this second book in the Naked Werewolf series.