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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
West of Jaws by Capes is set in a world where witches and wolves have a turbulent history. Helisent, a powerful witch known for her everyday magic use, and Samson, a future alpha wolf seeking his mother's whereabouts, cross paths with a shared goal of finding the elusive Oko. Their initial differences, fueled by Helisent's brash demeanor and Samson's stoic nature, give way to a reluctant alliance. As they venture into the mystical realm of Mieira, the complexities of their partnership deepen, marked by a growing sense of trust amid their private motives. The ghosts of past conflicts between their kind loom large, but their journey becomes a tangle of curiosity, trepidation, and camaraderie as they navigate a world where cooperation is the key to discovering the mysteries that bind them together.
It takes a great deal of trust from a reader for us to embark on a new fantasy literary adventure, as we must learn a whole new world, social hierarchy, magic systems, and sometimes even a new language, among many, many other things. In a series, this is compounded, but in West of Jaws, the first novel in the Sennenwolf series, I am so very happy I placed that trust in its author, Capes. Capes uses unique but accessible terminology and concepts that elicit wonder. For example, from demigods, nymphs, wolves, and wielders to the creation myth of Luz, I loved Cape's use of symbolic language. For example, the term "desita" and the idea that "pleasure vanquished violence" harness underlying themes related to the power of positivity and unity in the face of conflict. The prose is fantastic, and there is a whole lot of excellent sizzle, making this book an exceptional entry into what is sure to be a series worth committing to. Very highly recommended.