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Reviewed by Kim Anisi for Readers' Favorite
Werewolves are nothing but slaves in the novel Wolf Unleashed by Jessica Meats. They are treated worse than pets, and even worse than black slaves used to be treated; after all, a werewolf's wounds heal quickly. So what's a few stabs with a knife? Thomas is one of the werewolves labelled as "violent", and he's been locked up in a werewolf centre for a while because people don't want to buy him as a slave. This changes when Crystal, a young woman, turns up. Her original aim was to find her friend Danny, who had been bitten by a werewolf and transformed into one. She had hoped to find him and buy him. But Danny is not in the compound. When Crystal sees Thomas though, she has two reasons to buy him instead: he's the werewolf who's been in the compound the longest and might know something about Danny, and she feels pity for him. Her purchase is met with skepticism from all sides. Nobody thinks a young woman could handle a werewolf like Thomas, and Thomas thinks he'll have an easy time getting away from her. But then things change, and suddenly there is far more at stake than just the destiny of one single werewolf.
I have to admit that I'm very skeptical about modern werewolf tales. They often lack depth, a good plot, and have no compelling characters. So I picked up Wolf Unleashed by Jessica Meats with some doubts about whether I would enjoy it. The page count was a good sign. It's not a short flimsy novel that I could read in just a day or two (I guess, if you read ALL DAY long, you could read it in a day, but real life does not permit that for me). But would it be a GOOD decent sized book? Fortunately, in short: Yes. For a few days, I spent a couple of hours or more with Crystal and Thomas in the early mornings and evenings/nights. I usually have more than just one book on the go, but these last few days, I focused on only one. It was a story that drew me in, written in a language I enjoyed, and with just a handful of characters - not plenty of people whose names you can't remember and don't feel connected to.
I enjoyed how the story developed and how werewolf slavery was tackled by some very brave characters. They took on a fight against a system that needed to be changed, and often it looked like they would be torn apart. It was quite an exciting read because I've learned that you can never be sure about whether authors want their characters to have a happy ending. This one is, in part, a bitter-sweet story, with its ups and some very, very deep downs. It's definitely not your usual werewolf story and I wish there was more of this quality writing out there. A fantastic read!