Black Dog by Rachel Neumeier

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Neumeier has pack behaviour down to a fine art, which is something other Urban Fantasy authors often get wrong or don’t think they have to adhere to in a story. Personally I think getting the strict rules of behaviour, dominance, submission, gender and status in the supernatural world of pack animals just right is imperative to the story, especially a good one.
There was one thing about the story that really bugged me though. I am not sure why Neumeier chose to change this into YA book and indeed it doesn’t matter because it is a good one that would have survived both YA and adult market. I assume that in making it into a YA story the ages of certain characters were possibly changed so younger readers would be more likely to relate to them.
So here is my issue, Nativida is a 15yr old girl and one of the major sub-plots is her being made available or becoming of mateable age at 16. At that time she becomes a free for all for the males around her. I found that hard to digest. Even if the age of consent is 16 I am not sure I would want my child thinking at 15 that she counts as female mature enough to be matched with a marital partner at the age of 16. Under 18 they are still children, even if they don’t look like it. Now you can say the boundaries of fantasy allow for this bending of rules when it comes to pack law, which she isn’t because she is a so-called Pure, but I think it is more about the message that is being sent out to readers. It would have been the same solid story if Natividad had been 17 going on 18.
Aside from that tiny issue this was a fantastic fast paced plot driven story with solid characters and the potential for further books. The black dog angle in relation to myths created by vampires was an interesting venture.
The romantic interludes were minimal and that made the anticipation of possible later interactions to come much more enticing.
I will be looking forward to the next in the series.
I received a copy of this book via Netgalley.

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