Set in Dunvegan, the same cozy town in Southern Ontario where the first book in the series, Changeling Moon, took place, Changeling Dream is James Macleod's story. After 30 years of being trapped in wolfen form, Connor's estranged brother rises to humanity when a vaguely familiar new face, Jillian Descharme, comes to town. James has never met Jillian before but recognizes her somehow-he knows her from the soul-but comes to realize the person he really doesn't recognize is himself-neither as wolf, nor man.
The storyline with the mysterious connection between Jillian and James is compelling but everything else was a disappointment for me. I didn't totally love the first book, but wanted to give this second book a try because the "lost brother" story intrigued me; however, I didn't enjoy it at all. Typically with series, I am particularly fond of later installments because of the recurring characters, but even with the reprise of Zoe and the Macleods, I felt pretty much nothing.
The main characters, for one, I had a huge problem with. James's guilt over a family tragedy 30 years ago has given him an overactive sense of responsibility, which is why he overcompensates by desperately trying to keep Dr. Descharme out of danger. This would be a great alpha male quality, but it was written so simply and choppily that it actually makes him rather stalkerish... showing up in her bedroom in the middle of the night, visiting her at work every day, coming to her rescue at every possible moment. Yeesh. And then there's Jillian, who just may win the "Least likable romance heroine" award. Described as feisty and independent, this girl's maddeningly sensitive, and an irritatingly raging feminist. She only comes off as cold, pigheaded, and can just never cooperate, so the fact that she ends up "falling" for James is not only uncharacteristic, but also unbelievable. Even though she has her own demons, I felt no sympathy for her whatsoever, and found most of her points of argument very trivial and illogical. 80% of the book is her talking to herself (she talks to herself more than she talks to other characters... what the f*ck?) and apprehending over a stagnant relationship. It isn't just the attitude I found distasteful, it was everything.
And then we need to talk about the so-called romance itself. All it is is terribly angsty, with no formidable foundation or realistic expectation... and yet Jillian and James are absolutely soul mates. She doesn't even like the guy one minute, then is yearning for his touch and affection the next. Finger. Down. Throat. Now.
I literally had to keep asking myself why I was bothering to finish this book. I found it painfully boring, annoying, and although not completely unreadable, something I mostly skimmed-particularly for the last half (aka the part where everything happens).
Pros: Captivating premise about dreams and guardian wolves
Cons: James is suffocating and dislikable // Jillian is inflexible and dislikable // Unrealistic, tiring "relationship" // Messy, inconclusive story // Terrible climax
Love: "James was very much like the river. Calm and steady on the surface, but somehow [Jillian had] been drawn in and captured by the deep current beneath. Would she escape? And did she really want to?"
Verdict: "The lycanthropic and mystical aspects of Changeling Dream were enough to hold my attention, but I definitely had to grit my teeth through this one. James's story was nice to read, but the exasperating rising action, a messy, premature climax, and ridiculous insta-romance between him and Jillian had me rolling my eyes."
Rating: 3 out of 10 hearts (2 stars): Not a fan; I don't recommend this book.
Source: Complimentary copy provided by FSB Media in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you, Leyane!).show more