A Series of Fates by C.C. Dado
This entire series was a fun, light-hearted romp through a shifter community, from one gay pairing to the next. If you are looking for heavy angst, truly evil bad guys, layered plot, hot sex, or deep meaning from your books, move on. This is not your series. If you want warmth, romance, laughter, interesting characters, deep friendships, and a happy ending, these are perfect for you. These are like the cozy of paranormal romance. Perfect for when you’ve had a rough day and you just want to see somebody happy.
So, on that topic, being novellas they are also a great length to finish in a night, however, I feel like they could have benefited from some length and heftier plot lines. But you sit down, read one, and it’s all sunshine and happiness, so it gives you what it offers.
I actually read these books backwards, so the first one was the last one I read. By Denying Fate I knew the world and the characters. Really, each can easily be read as a standalone (but reading them in order is probably better). I had no problem understanding the world Dado had developed.
These are not steamy, and it fits the sweet, innocent nature of the series. These stories are ‘finding mates’ stories and have to do more with love and connection than passion and sex.
Max knows that Christian is his destined mate, which is a big thing, to find your mate. But Christian denies him. Max shines with a very large personality, and he’s a man who goes after what he wants, damn the consequences. He isn’t some ‘fall by the wayside and wait for the world to hand him what he wants’ sad little waif. Oh no, he works for his desires, and I appreciated that about him.
To me, Christian wasn’t as fleshed out as Max and his best friend Seth, and felt distant. I didn’t quite warm to him like I did the others. But Christian totally pulls through once he’s accepted his place in the world, as Max’s mate.
We don’t get to see the claiming, and even if the sex was fade to black (no sex in these stories, and I’m totally fine with that) I would have liked to see them commit to each other with the claim scene. That’s one of those sweet/dynamic/important scenes I like to have fleshed out in a story.
Seth and Max are best friends, but since Max found his mate, Seth has been living on his own. Then a new neighbor, Jack, moves in, and Seth’s wolf does interesting things when he hears Jack’s voice.
It’s a delightfully cute story. Seth is a kind, shy guy with a self-esteem issue and never expects to find his mate. He’s a master chef, too, with a good business, so why the low self-esteem, I’m not sure. His best friend is boisterous and outgoing and the two balance each other very well.
One of the delights of Embracing is the banter between Seth and Max and the humor tied to their deep appreciation and affection for each other. It’s all ribbing all the time, and Max doesn’t really seem to have an off button, but it’s fun to read and had me laughing out loud several times. So, Seth decides to pretend to be Max’s unruly pet and the hijinks unfolding from that were fun and light-hearted. There’s the pregnancy lie that keeps on giving (poor Zeus) and Seth’s rotating dog name.
The work is short, so there are certainly scenes I wish I could have read, like seeing Jack’s reaction when Seth willingly shifts for him. I wanted to see that!!
A very sweet paranormal romance that delivers a wonderful HEA and warm feelings. Toren gave my heart a squeeze, and I just wanted to comfort the guy. And Zeus was solid and kind and dedicated, all my favorite things!
Zeus has watched his closest family and friends all find mates. He’s big and strong and the beta of the pack and seems fine to just protect everyone. Then a stranger shows up and his instincts kick in.
Zeus is wonderful. It’s nice to see him fleshed out in this story, especially after how he reacted to the pregnancy lie in book 2. He’s a well-developed character that fans of paranormal romance will adore. He’s a huge and kind man, that soothes babies and fosters orphaned dogs. He looks out for his people and puts up with his friends. Toren, even though his back is to the wall, still wants to do the right thing. These two are perfect for each other.
The mystery with Toren and being a shifter was great, and I wanted to sink into it. It’s a shame this is a novella because I feel there were a lot of ‘missing’ scenes and moments that could be fleshed out. I really wanted to be there when Toren shifted for the first time (!!!) and see them work through that. And the story suffered from a bit of repetition and I couldn’t help but wonder why Zeus didn’t just confront Toren the minute he found him instead of drawing out the stalking-plot that seemed unnecessary.
But even with these slight flaws I thoroughly enjoyed the characters, the humor, the world, and the romance. There’re enough loose threads to suggest a sequel (like who is looking for the kids!) so I’ll be keeping my eyes open for those.