Title: Camp H.O.W.L.
Series: Dreamspun Beyond: Book Seven
Author: Bru Baker
Narrator: Dorian Bane
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Run Time: 6 hours and 55 minutes
At a Glance: I could see this narrator doing really well with a gumshoe mystery—a detective or cop character that was meant to sound hard-bitten and weary. But in this case, I felt his range was a bit too limited to capably pull off performing an array of voices that included teenage wolves, women and older males.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: Moonmates exist, but getting together is going to be a beast….
When Adrian Rothschild skipped his “werewolf puberty,” he assumed he was, somehow, human. But he was wrong, and he’s about to go through his Turn with a country between him and his Pack—scared, alone, and eight years late.
Dr. Tate Lewis’s werewolf supremacist father made his Turn miserable, and now Tate works for Camp H.O.W.L. to ease the transition for young werewolves. He isn’t expecting to offer guidance to a grown man—or find his moonmate in Adrian. Tate doesn’t even believe in the legendary bond; after all, his polygamist father claimed five. But it’s clear Adrian needs him, and if Tate can let his guard down, he might discover he needs Adrian too.
A moonmate is a wolf’s missing piece, and Tate is missing a lot of pieces. But is Adrian up to the challenge?
Review – The Story: Adrian had adjusted as best he could to the fact that he was, in essence, a human wolf. While he was the pack alpha’s son and important in the pack business, he had never shifted during his late teen years like all the other wolves and was resigned to the fact that he never would. So, when he begins to feel funny he figures he must be coming down with something. Little does he know that it is his inner wolf ready to make an appearance.
Where pack is everything to Adrian, Dr. Tate Lewis has escaped his own pack and never intends to return to it or any other. Being a lone wolf is unusual and dangerous as packs don’t take well to those who run alone, but being a counselor at an exclusive camp for hormonal wolves experiencing their turn for the first time is a perfect place for Tate to hide out. When he gets the job of retrieving Adrian before the world realizes the man is turning wolf, he never expects to meet the man who will actually fulfill the mysterious legend known as a moonmate. The only experience Tate has with the romantic notion is that of his cold, cruel father who used the idea of moonmates to lead a polygamous life and essentially bind female wolves to himself whenever lust or whim dictated it. Needless to say, Tate has little time or patience for the idea that Adrian could very well be his moonmate.
Bru Baker’s novel, Camp H.O.W.L. spent a great deal of time inside the heads of Tate and Adrian as both fought to understand the attraction they had for each other. While the sexual tension built so did the walls that Tate erected in order to keep Adrian out. The problem I had with this novel was the constant alluding to Tate’s past and how it had left him scarred and afraid to trust anyone. I kept expecting this huge reveal where I would hear this brutal tale of abuse and neglect by Tate’s father. While there was a bit of that, finally, in the latter chapters, it was almost anti-climactic and not nearly as brutally descriptive as I had felt the book built it up to be. I understood that Tate was disillusioned by his father’s using the moonmate prophecy to lure women to his bed, but without more of the backstory of his upbringing, I felt his reactions to commitment and trust a bit over the top and unjustified. In the end, I felt there was so much buildup and veiled referencing to this past abuse that never really panned out or was clarified, which left me rather deflated.
Audio Review: Narrator Dorian Bane has a very distinct voice, one which tends toward raspy and sometimes sounds as though he suffers from chronic hoarseness. Consequently, his variation in tone is a bit more limited than some voice actors, leading to the problem of a character’s voice sometimes bleeding into his natural narration voice. This is most apparent when Mr. Bane is voicing Adrian. While he has given Tate a deep tone, Adrian’s is much like his normal reading voice and the lines of dialogue tend to blend into the prose passages with some regularity. There are several female characters in this novel, and I must say that Mr. Bane gives each of them a fairly distinct voice using a higher tone and, in one case, a southern accent to differentiate them.
I found myself wanting to clear my throat after listening to several chapters by this narrator. It was definitely a reaction to his cracking vocal range that sounded as though he was recovering from a bad case of laryngitis. In some ways this was really great when it came to voicing Tate—it gave him a deep and rough voice that definitely set him apart. Unfortunately, when the same cadence and breathy tone was used for both the narration and many of the other characters, I lost their distinct personalities due to the bleed through.
I could see this narrator doing really well with a gumshoe mystery—a detective or cop character that was meant to sound hard-bitten and weary. But in this case, I felt his range was a bit too limited to capably pull off performing an array of voices that included teenage wolves, women and older males. In the end, I got frustrated with the lack of pitch variance and the same repetitive feel when it came to the speed of the passages being read with no regard to whether they were tense and foreboding, sexy, or light and happy. I’d like to see this narrator take on a mystery novel where I think his style of delivery would really compliment the text.
You can buy Camp H.O.W.L. here:
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