Maria Lewis is an ex-New Zealand author, now living in Sydney, Australia.
It was interesting to read a paranormal urban fantasy set (partly) in my own country. New Zealand does not traditionally have a history of werewolf legends, we do not even have any large indigenous mammals, except for seals and cetaceans. So, the whole Maori werewolf pack was a bit of a hard sell to me, but once I got past that, I found Who’s Afraid to be an entertaining and engaging read.
Our heroine, Tommi, is as strong and independent as one would hope – she’s suffered anger issues in the past, and to combat this has taken up jogging and martial arts, all of which prepare her for the life she is about to have thrust upon her. She doesn’t need a man to save her (although that can come in handy sometimes) and is quite capable of making her way in the world. She has lived in Scotland for most of her life, but after her mother’s death seeks answers from her father. A father whom her mother has hidden her from since her birth. A father whose family will cast all she thinks she knows about the world into doubt. A father who was the leader of one of the strongest packs in the world.
I enjoyed the way Lewis doesn’t skirt around Tommi’s heritage, there is no disguising werewolves under a fancy name, no dancing around the truth as though to make the read unaware of what they already know, nope, it is simply stated outright, “She is also, most definitely, a werewolf.”
After this bombshell, things get even worse, as Tommi’s family trap her in their basement. The trauma and the stress of the situation, along with the full moon, brings out the beast lying dormant inside her.
Tommi’s not one to stay around and allow herself to remain a prisoner, however. She escapes the family and prepares to return to Scotland. But things are not going to be as easy from here on in. Enter Lorcan, an acclaimed warrior and ex-Praetorian Guard. Proclaiming himself to be her guide and guardian, he introduces her to a dark and complex underworld, as well as stirring her in other ways. Meanwhile, new revelations notwithstanding, Tommi attempts to continue with her previous, normal life. But things will never be normal again, and they become even more complicated and dangerous when she discovers that someone has followed her back. Someone very, very deadly, is after her, and will stop at nothing to get what he desires.
Despite the somewhat cliched premise, I thoroughly enjoyed Who’s Afraid? A bold, sassy heroine, a sexy, mysterious warrior and an involved and well-considered mythos, combine well with a fast-paced, engaging plot filled with blood, gore and a steamy dose of sexual tension. What’s not to love?
Reviewed by Angela Oliver
by Maria Lewis
Published by Piatkus Books