Rivals and Retribution

A 13 to Life Novel, #5

All right guys this is it. This is the final book in Delany's 13 to Life series and holy werewolf babies does it punch it. There's no real 'downtime' for Jessie and our Rusakovas. If its not an emotional crazy, its a medical crazy and if its not a medical crazy its a personal problem and that doesn't begin to cover the other werewolves running around Junction.

Surprising of all was the turn Jessie and Pietr's relationship took. I knew it would change, with the fourth book's ending it HAD to change because Pietr had changed and certain folks didn't make it any easier for him to adjust to those changes. I should say the turn wasn't so surprising, more the way I felt about it. I thought I was feel...differently. More upset I suppose, like I was in the first two books and the problems their relationship underwent then. I think Delany handled this shift in dynamic better.

As for the other Rusakovas--no one is spared the insanity. Alexi undergoes quite a bit in his quest for redemption for his sins (perceived and otherwise). I forgot somewhere between books 3 and 4 how much Alexi made me ache for him. He really tries so hard and he's so under appreciated. He shines in this book, and deserves every moment of it.

Let me put this forth however, reading the last chapter's first page or two had me ready to tweet my displeasure from here to next year. I was almost ready to toss the book, no joke. I'm glad I kept reading though because Delany ties it up in such a way that I forgave her. Mostly. I demand those ten years I lost when I thought the worst idea ever was coming true.

As a finale to a series that I've loved more often then not, with a cast of characters I liked from the get go and a blend of genres I found irresistible this was good. Better than good. Some of it felt rushed; the final confrontation with the bad guys and resolution for instance. It was bam bam bam in such a way I had trouble digesting each new piece of information quickly enough to comprehend the next event.

This series did convince me that Shannon Delany is one of my favorite YA writers in the last five years and whatever she writes next I'll grab before someone can blink and say 'Hey!'

Book Blurb for Rivals and Retribution

A rival wolf pack puts more pressure on the Rusakova family by making a bold move against Jessie in hopes of pushing Pietr beyond the cure. Realizing the impact of Pietr’s change, Alexi rushes to find a permanent solution to the life sentence lycanthropy brings in hopes of also remedying an unexpected side-effect that may finally destroy the relationship between Pietr and Jessie. Unsatisfied with his role in the pack, Gabriel is determined to be rid of Pietr permanently. Meanwhile, at Junction High, the company’s meddling with the school food may have stopped but it doesn’t mean things have gotten easier--it is still high school. With the enrollment of the rest of the pack’s pups, new bonds are made and tested. But Dmitri’s influence is far-reaching and even pacifist Gareth must make a dark decision or risk the destruction of everything he holds dear.

Night Owl Reviews Jul, 2012 4.00