Publication Date: August 7, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Page Count: 320 pages
Source: Borrowed from library
Challenge: September Is For Sequels
Synopsis From Goodreads:
In Rivals and Retribution, the fifth book in the 13 to Life series by Shannon Delany, Pietr and Jessie will find themselves caught in a pack war with a new breed of werewolves.
Jessie Gillmansen is in trouble again and she's in for the fight of her life--and Pietr's! With Marlaena’s dangerous wolf pack putting more pressure on the Rusakova family, change is inevitable and when it comes, it brings a heavy price that forces Alexi into action to save his youngest brother's heart, head, and life. In the stunning conclusion of this celebrated paranormal series two werewolf families fight for control of the small town of Junction, control of each other and--most elusive of all--control of themselves.
I have had so many ups and downs with the 13 To Life series. The first book introduced us to the characters and sets up what happens in the rest of the series. There was not much action until the last 30 pages or so and really left off on a cliffhanger. The second book was a little scattered and all over the place. Too much stuff going on, too many characters involved, and new plots introduced. Surprise, surprise, the second book also ended on a cliffhanger. The third book I really enjoyed. It was more focused, had a better plot, and the writing was much clearer. It also had dual POV between Jessie and Pietr's brother, Alexi. I loved getting to know Alexi better and I found him fascinating. The fourth book I really didn't like so much. Not only do we have Jessie and Alexi's POV, but we get an added POV in a new character, Marlaena. It was a jumbled mess that I didn't enjoy sorting through. And a neutered Pietr was just so boring!
So what did I think of the 5th (and final) book in the 13 To Life Series? To be honest, I was less than impressed. The first 70 pages or so were dedicated to rescuing Jessie (yes, AGAIN). With the story told from the same 3 POVs as book 4, and perspective changing literally from page to page, it was hard to get immersed in the characters or the story. I also felt that Marlaena's POV took too much focus away from Jessie and the Rusakovas.
Since I don't really like any of the new characters (the new pack), I don't care about them. It's hard to read a book that is one third (or more) about characters you don't give a shit about. I found myself wishing all of the Rusakovas, Jessie, and her friend, Amy, were written with the same care and attention that was in the first 3 books. The romantic relationships also suffered from lack of attention by the author. Jessie and Pietr were at a horrible point in their relationship in book 4, and it never improved in book 5 (which makes me sad.) Max and Amy didn't have anything important going on with their relationship. Alexi is over and done with acting like an ass, so we get none of the smoking and drinking and acting all Russian every time he thinks about Nadezhda. I thought he was more interesting (and hot) when he was dark and moody. Basically, everything that I had grown to love about these couples in the first 3 books was missing here. Also missing was the closeness of the Rusakova family, and that was something that I really felt the loss of.
I'm not at all satisfied with the final book of this series. So many subplots were introduced throughout the series that it was a little hard to sort through who knew what by the end. All of the goings on were cleaned up nice and tidy by the last page. I just wish things hadn't been previously dropped and then randomly picked up in book 5, only to have a simple, yet effective, resolution. It was just too easy. The ending was rushed and gave me no satisfaction.
You definitely need to read this book to have closure if you've read the first 4 books in the series. Why give up now, right? Overall, I did love the series, but I didn't always agree with (or enjoy) the the things that were going on. I felt a lot of ups and downs over the course of reading this series. I loved exploring the relationships, both personal and familial, in the first 3 books. The complete neglect that these relationships suffer through in the last 2 books is just wrong and it really breaks my heart.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars