Wolfsbane, the sequel to Patricia Briggs’ debut novel Masques, was written later in her career and just published last month. It continues the story of the shapeshifters Aralorn and Wolf, whose relationship has developed significantly since the beginning of Masques. Aralorn has been called home after a ten-year absence because her father has died. When she and her “pet” Wolf arrive, they find some evil magic at work and a mystery to solve.
As you’d expect, Briggs’ writing is better this time. She has a smooth style that I find pleasant to read (or in this case, listen to, since I read this on audio, again read by Katherine Kellgren). I enjoyed spending more time with Aralorn and Wolf and agree with Ms. Briggs who, in the humble introduction to the book, said she wrote Wolfsbane because these characters deserve further attention. They’re smart, witty, and good, and their relationship is believable.
Though Wolfsbane may be a better crafted book, I didn’t find its plot to be as compelling as the plot of Masques. This may be partly because it felt very much like a sequel — the characters and the world are no longer something new to explore, so enjoyment of the novel must come from either spectacular style or truly engaging plot and Wolfsbane, though it’s a pleasant read, has neither. There was a lot of talking through ideas and coming to conclusions by discussion or spying rather than by active investigation, so I was bored in spots (but not for long because Wolfsbane is short and quick-paced).
The evil magic that Aralorn and Wolf must overcome directly affects their relationship, and this is the true focus of Wolfsbane. For this reason, I think readers of romances will probably enjoy Wolfsbane more than I did. The plot lacks thrills, but the romance is sweet and satisfying.