Thursday, 26 April 2012

Review: The Pack by Jason Starr (Pack #1)

Publisher - Berkley UK
Publication Date - 26th April 2012
Paperback - 368 pages
Genre - Urban Fantasy

Source - Received from publisher for review

Rating - 2 out of 5: It was ok

Reviewed by - Chrissie

Book Info - When Simon Burns is fired from his job without warning, he takes on the role of stay-at-home dad for his three-year-old son. But his reluctance pushes his already strained marriage to the limit. In the nestled playgrounds of the Upper West Side, Simon harbours a simmering rage at his boss's betrayal.

Things take a turn when he meets a tight-knit trio of dads at the playground. They are different from other men Simon has met, stronger and more confident, more at ease with the darker side of life - and soon Simon is lured into their mix. But after a guys' night out gets frighteningly out of hand, Simon feels himself sliding into a new nightmarish reality.

As he experiences disturbing changes in his body and perceptions, he starts to suspect that when the guys welcomed him to their 'pack', they were talking about much more than male bonding...

My Thoughts - When I first heard about this book, I was excited about it and looking forward to reading it. I thought that the whole 'stay-at-home dad' thing was a great new idea for the Urban Fantasy genre and not something that I had come across in fiction before. The premise sounded great and I was looking forward to finding out how being a father affected Simon as he was going through all these changes. But I think I may have got my hopes up a bit too much with this one and I actually found I was pretty disappointed with the book.

My main problem with The Pack is that the author focuses too much on the small details of Simon's life. There is a huge amount of detail about the day-to-day things that a stay-at-home parent does. Not only did I feel that this does not necessarily add much to the story, but I don't particularly want to get bogged down in all that detail either. I am a stay-at-home parent - a lot of what is described in the book are things I experience everyday (except for sprouting fur and fangs and stuff :P) and I don't find it at all exciting to read about. It also means that the plot moves along at a slow pace and the real action doesn't start happening until the last 50 pages or so.

On the whole, I liked the character of Simon. He finds himself out of a job and having to look after his young son on a daily basis. At first he is a bit reluctant - as I think most people would be with such a major life change - but he soon takes it on the chin and makes the most of his time with his son. He is a devoted husband and father and, although he doesn't always get things right, he always does things with the best of intentions. However, I didn't really like his wife Alison at all. She is the type of person who is never happy with her lot in life and unless things are going her way she is prone to the odd temper tantrum. There were a few moments in the book where I felt that Simon would be better off without her.

I really liked the author's style of writing. I have already mentioned that there isn't much action in the book until the end, but even so, I still found the book incredibly easy to read. I think that without the action to drive the reader on, there is the possibility that this book could take a long time to get through but I actually managed to read it over two evenings - very quick by my standards - and I'm impressed that the author was able to pull this off.

My final complaint will have to be a bit vague I'm afraid to avoid leaking any spoilers, but I wasn't very happy with the way the book ended. Although everything is wrapped up nicely - phew, no cliffhangers here - I still felt dissatisfied with the way things turned out. Although I can appreciate that it had to end this way to allow for further books in the series, I just wish everything could have ended differently for Simon.

Summary - A premise that held a lot of promise, but that becomes too bogged down with the details of everyday life. If you are a hard-core werewolf fan then this book may still be worth a try, but if you're looking for edge-of-your-seat excitement then this may not be the book for you.

Other books in this series:
1. The Pack
2. The Craving

Other reviews of this book:
Smexy Books / The Salted Peanut

This book counts towards the following challenges:
Book #27 for 2012 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge


kimba88 said...

I have seen many books that could have been awesome..ruined by mundane is such a fine line btwn detail and overkill...i love the premises of this novel too..bummer.
Great review my dear :)

Jenny said...

I'm always confused by books like this. I don't have to have nonstop action but in a urban fantasy there shouldn't be hardly any!

Chrissie (Once Upon a Series) said...

Kimba - There is soooo much detail in this one that the author crossed that fine line by miles! Such a shame really :/

Jenny - Yeah, normally Urban Fantasy means a lot of action - but not this one :P

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