Monday, January 16, 2012

Coyote's Pup by A.M. Burns

Title: Coyote’s Pup
Series: Coyote’s Pack
Author: A.M. Burns
Length: 3325 Kindle Units
Rating: 3.5 stars

The Plot

Chance was on an ordinary camping trip with his parents when they are attacked by a were-coyote. He suddenly finds himself orphaned and in the company of an assortment of witches, vampires, and were-creatures of varying shapes and sizes. As Chance adjusts to this new reality – one in which he himself may be not only a were-coyote but a magic-user as well – he realizes that the danger has not passed. Because the coyote that attacked him still has something he wants from Chance, and he won’t hesitate to hurt Chance’s new friends in order to get it.

The Good

Chance and his fellow characters are all quite likable in that they consistently behave in a pro-social manner, and I do like books about people who are undisputedly on the “good” end of the good and evil scale. The members of this Coalition of supernatural creatures are all genuinely interested in helping each other with their magic or anything else that they can help with. The teens risk danger and exposure in order to save a family from a cave-in.

Coyote’s Pup also gave me a whole new appreciation for badgers – were-, dire, or otherwise. I’ve always seen badgers as having gotten the short end of the stick, animal power-wise, and they have always been my last choice for animal companion and/or alter-ego. But it turns out that badgers are kind of useful and exactly the creatures you want on your side during a cave in.  Clearly the were-dragons still have a leg up in most competitions, but I’m not counting out the badgers anymore.

The Bad

There were a lot of characters in Coyote’s Pup, and I had a difficult time remembering who was who. At first I thought this was my fault for not paying enough attention during the introduction scenes, but then I looked to see where I had missed the explanation of who the twins were, only to discover that there wasn’t one. At that point I accepted that I was not going to be able to keep a mental catalog of all the characters, and I would just have to hope that any important information about a character would come up when it was plot-relevant.

I also kept getting frustrated with how stupid the kids in the book were. Like, they knew there was a dangerous and psychotic were-coyote out there, and they had evidence that he was seeking out Chance. They knew that there was a group of trained professionals looking for this were-coyote. The adults repeatedly asked them to stay out of it, and when the kids did get involved, things tended to go very badly, very fast. Yet they still concluded that going off on their own to a serial killer’s house was a good idea. But guess what? Things went badly. I realize that without these efforts, there would have been no plot. But even the most exciting plot loses something if the reasons behind it are insufficient.

The Romance

Chance spends most of the book hanging out with three people who I come to assume are teenagers similar to him in age. They are Trix, the pretty, red-haired weather witch, Mike, a werebadger who enjoys shopping, and Mike’s twin Mel, who is described as looking extremely similar to her brother in spite of being a girl.

It does not necessarily surprise me that of these, Chance is most interested in Trix. After all, he is a teenage boy; of course he likes the pretty girl. What does surprise me is that Mel seems to be automatically excluded as a love interest because she is not attractive. When the four are hanging out together, often Mel and Chance are together on the sidelines, rolling their eyes at the shopping escapades of the other two. I consequently get the impression that they have more in common than Chance and Trix do, but he doesn’t even look twice at her.

I am choosing to pretend that this is because we are inside Chance’s clueless teenage boy head. If the story were told from Mel’s point of view, I’m sure the whole thing would have a more complex and probably more depressing slant.

Will I read more?

A.M. Burns has apparently written several stories that take place in this same world about some of the other characters, and there is apparently going to be a series of books about Chance’s ongoing adventures. I confess to having some interest in the stories about the multi-thousand-year-old were-dragon (who I think is gay and dating either one of Trix’s brothers or one of the other guys? Gods, these characters are confusing!) But I’m not sure that I have sufficient interest to invest in another book.

See Details for Book on    Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Smashwords


Post a Comment