LONE MARCH YA series by Erin Irvin-a review of books 1-4
MOON-LINKED (Lone March #1)
MOON-LINKED is the first storyline in Erin Irvin’s young adult Lone March series focusing on 15 year old March Howe and the discovery she is not human. The basic premise is interesting-March finally reaches puberty at the age of 15 and in a 24 hour cycle, she gets her period, develops unusual body hair, increased hearing and sight, falls in love and grows several inches. And to complicate matters, her new boyfriend’s father has taken a dislike to March. But what March will discover is that Ethyn Harper’s father knows exactly what has been happening to March and why.
March will discover that she is a shape shifter- and the last of her kind. There are several different species of ‘were’ including raven, cougar and wolves, but March is the last surviving female of her clan due to a war between the species. Every female was eradicated to ensure the species did not continue, but we will learn that March did not meet the same fate as the other females.
The first 2/3 of the book we follow March as she tries to figure out what is happening to her body, and the last 1/3 she must follow the dictates of her new clan and the impending full moon. Her first shift isn’t pretty and what she discovers is that she will become the pawn in a war between the clans. The clan with the female holds the power.
I had a couple concerns with Moon Linked but one in particular involved a ‘real’ wolf and its need to be with March. Yes, I know this is a paranormal storyline that involves shifters and werewolves (What? Werewolves are NOT real? ) but it made for a few uncomfortable moments. Everyone knows I am NOT a prude and I do not have too many issues with the content in most storylines, but this one had me a little–unsettled.
MOON-LINKED is an interesting and different look at a ‘were’ shifter series. There is some humor as our heroine tries to deal with her new and improved body. There is a potential for the requisite YA love triangle and of course, the popular and cool crowd wants nothing to do with March and her friends. I suspect there are others of varying species about to evolve and manifest in the halls of the local high school. The writing is simple, the storyline is fast paced and easy to read and, Erin lets the reader in on her version of the ‘were’ myth and how it has affected the varying species on earth.
MOON-ACHE (Lone March #2)
MOON-ACHE is the second storyline in Erin Irvin’s Lone March series. It has only been a few days since March’s first change and already the ‘were ‘world is very much aware of her existence. When her new pack ran into some internal troubles, March would find herself back with the Harper’s. Running from the pack only made sense when the new self-proclaimed alpha was determined to make March his mate. But life wasn’t about to get any easier, when she discovers that the only family she has known is gone and social services has placed her with a religious zealot who doesn’t stop at anything to keep March in line. Once again, escape is her only option and this time she will find herself back with the Harper’s. When Avery Harper reveals to what extent her new pack has had to endure because of her existence, March decides that to take matters into her own hands.
Meanwhile March’s personal life runs into a little trouble. The requisite YA love triangle has emerged. We all saw it coming. As the only female of her species, she is wanted and hunted by all of the clans, and life as a breeder is not on her agenda. But when a young were from her pack begins to have feelings for March, territorial instincts will kick in and March’s high school boyfriend will become the victim of a jealous rage. Knowing her presence in his life could possibly lead to further problems and attack, it is March’s decision to let go and move on with her new life.
MOON-ACHE reveals the existence of a few more ‘were’ species and further develops upon the animosity between the groups. There is still no revelation about what has happened to create such hatred between the supernatural powers but we are closer to discovering why this has occurred. And the were-ravens-all I can say is Victorian England probably never looked so stuffy—“quoth the raven-Nevermore.”
MOON-BURN (Lone March #3) by Erin Irvin
MOON-BURN will find March on the run with an unwelcome partner. Knowing his intentions towards March are for personal gain and power, she takes control of the situation from the start- using gun power at every opportunity- the former alpha wanna-be becomes her personal target. The girl should not be allowed to hold a gun but we will discover that she had a good reason to keep him under control. At this point and throughout most of this particular storyline March’s anger is out of control, but it is explained away as wolf-rage. When March attempts a rescue of the pack, Avery Harper will once again drop in like the super hero and help March save the day. But March will remain the number one person on every were-wolf’s hit list. Whoever is in possession and marks the female, has power over the other packs. And there are other packs looking to claim March as one of their own.
To complicate matters, everyone at school is now treating her like a celebrity. With at least 2 abductions (and a runaway) to her credit, March has topped the A-list for wannabes cliques and one-time enemies seeking information. But it is her ‘relationships’ with Ethyn and Greyson that amped up my angst. She continues to play a game with their hearts. Her Jekyll and Hyde persona is disconcerting for both me, as the reader and the storyline characters. Werewolf rage is not pretty, and definitely, not an easy read.
One thing that made me uncomfortable in this particular storyline- March has developed sexual feelings towards her guardian Avery Harper. Avery is the father (and were-raven) of her on-again/off-again boyfriend Ethyn and at every opportunity March is throwing herself into Avery’s embrace. To say the least, when a 15year old girl has a fascination with an older man, it becomes more than uncomfortable in a young adult storyline.
MOON-BURN divides the storyline between her life with the pack and her life back in school. There is no easy solution in the short term, but some major anger management is definitely something that has to be considered.
MOON-SWELL is the latest (November 2012 release) storyline in the Lone March series and with it comes some major revelations. We follow March as she travels between pack den and the Harper household but her feelings become conflicted when she believes everyone is hiding secrets-and they are. Not knowing what the future holds, she is fully aware that the pack is preparing to go to war to protect the only remaining female werewolf. There is a feud between the species, and the wolves are at the center of it all.
March’s relationship with both Ethyn and Greyson will hit some rough patches as she learns to deal with her wolf hormone-induced aggression. Her friends will eventually turn their backs on March and, Greyson’s decision to leave will force March to take another look at the damage she has inflicted, but it won’t take long before the young shifter finds another target for her affections and finally gives in to her hormonal drives. But this new target is more than just human and his involvement with March will bring out another side that can only be explained by the very people keeping her true heritage under wraps. Although the sexual encounter was not graphic in content, there was a sexual encounter-none the less.
March’s relationship with Avery will continue to be uncomfortable for me. Avery reveals his feelings for March –that of a father to a daughter, but with that realization, March is once again conflicted with her own emotions towards the man who has sworn to protect her from the others and in most cases, from herself.
March in many ways is your typical rebellious teen but with the added difficulty of being a shape-shifter and the only female were-wolf in existence. But that doesn’t excuse her self-centered attitude and self-appointed god-like status. She actually considers herself royalty among the wolves. The history of the ‘were’ will reveal some major turn of events, when the players involved are closer to March than she could have imagined. This is a story of stereotypes, racism (as in species) and prejudiced attitudes to towards anyone with a differing set of DNA.
MOON-SWELL continued to run up my YA love triangle angst, especially when March continues to deny any responsibility or culpability for her actions towards the opposite sex. She is in a perpetual state of anger, rage and arousal, and lashes out without thinking about the consequences of her actions to others and especially her friends.
Once again, the storyline is fast paced although I would like to see more interaction between March and her pack. There are also some Harper family secrets that have yet to be revealed when Avery’s flock of ravens alludes to some major indiscretions in his past. Moon-Swell is another interesting storyline and look at a shape-shifting phenomenon.
Overall, The Lone March series is an interesting and fascinating read. Erin Irvin has put her own spin on the shape-shifter genre centred on the ‘lone’ survivor of a war between the species. Erin has written a series that takes many of the human problems of hatred and animosity between race and religion, and applies the same to the varying species in her shifter world.
But as you can guess, I had a couple of issues as it pertained to the Young Adult storyline and the heroine’s need to ‘have sex’ and ‘mate’. The storyline tells of a young, 15 year old (turned 16 in Moon Swell) shifter girl adjusting to life as an angry, hormonal female wolf but I did not consider her behavior with the boys (and men including her guardian) as role model material for the YA genre. I am especially concerned with her attempts (to) and fascination with seducing her boyfriend’s father. The series is directed at young adult females and the sexual aggression and actions of the 15 year old female heroine were disconcerting and uncomfortable (for me).
Copies supplied by the author.
Reviewed by Sandy