Tour’s Books Blog

August 13, 2009

Book Review: Three Dog Night by Tymber Dalton

  • Title: Three Dog Night
  • Author: Tymber Dalton
  • Type: Paranormal Erotic Romance
  • Genre: Shifter – Werewolf, Series
  • Sub-genre: Permanent menagé
  • My Grade: B+ (4.3*)
  • Rating: xxx
  • Where Available: ebook from Siren

Three Dog Night is the third installment of Ms Dalton’s Triple Trouble series and it is the best by far of the set, to date.  What was intended to be a trilogy is obviously going ito be more as we are still in the middle of an unfolding drama at the end of the book.

Elain Pardie had a hard won spot on the local news channel when Brody and Cail approached and began the process of making her their mate. At the end of book one it seemed Elain was settled in with them, until Ain makes it clear to his brothers he has no real intent of allowing Elain to go back to work – and she overhears.  Feeling trapped and betrayed, she runs back to her mother – the aunt who raised her, Carla, and was her de facto mother for as long as she can remember.  Brody brings her home where she beings demonstrating signs of being a werewolf alpha, making Ain chase her and dominate her.  At the end of book 2, Ain is starting to look into Elain’s past, afraid she is an unclaimed Alpha female from another pack, a situation that could bring a world of trouble to their clan.

Three Dog Night, opens with a prologue that reveals a blood oath on lovers hundreds of years ago.  A promise of one clan to another that the first female alpha werewolf would be sent to the bride’s clan as a kind of payment for a beta from another clan taking their alpha sister as a mate.  This oath lays heavily on them over the years.

In present day, Elain is back on the ranch and has agreed to take 6 months off work to give life with the brothers a try before deciding whether or not to return to the news station, but behind the scenes.  But the three are still getting to know each other.  Elain knows her need to be chased upsets Ain, but she find it hard to suppress.  It builds in her until it needs an outlet.  Initially Cail agrees to chase her, with his brothers to make sure it doesn’t get out of control, but Elain manages run directly into a tree and knocks herself out.

Cail and Ain are concealing their concern about Elain’s behavior and her parentage from both Elain and Brody.  Also coming into play are the strange circumstances of their parents death in a car accident 25 years ago.  They were involved in an underground railroad moving women and children out of danger, but kept their sons well away from their activities.  The day before the accident they call and say they have something urgent they must discuss with them, then they die the next day.  All three are convinced they were murdered.

The dubious consent comes back here a vengeance when a Lyall cousin, Micah, finds his mate – and it’s a human, another man – Jim.  Neither is gay.  Through Elain, we see her horror at what transpires in a mating with a unwilling partner.  She still views it as rape, but a Edict from Ain keeps her silent during the battle.  Her outrage is reflects my own.  I think Ms Dalton did a decent job of showing that it actually works out and the man is actually happy with the mating afterward, thanks to the chemicals the mating releases,sending both partners into sexual overdrive.  Regardless of the outcome, it was rape, IMHO.  The human male part of the pairing was helpless when the chemicals changed his personal needs.  The position of ‘the end justifies the means’ and the sense that the werewolves consider themselves somehow better than humans and therefore exempt from human moral arguments is rather tenuous.  An act cannot be morally acceptable when there is no ‘informed consent’.  The act makes disagreement nearly impossible for the human, so where is there fairness or equality in that?  This argument is a kind of recurring theme in shifter books and other paranormal and futuristic worlds.  I think this is possibly the best example I’ve seen of an author tackling a difficult moral question in an erotic romance.  Ms Dalton does frame the argument from the werewolf perspective, as if seeking understanding within their mindset, but allows Elain to maintain her ambivalence even as she accepts that the two men are apparently happy.  I think the underlying morality is more complicated, but remain amazed that Ms Dalton actually took the time to explore the subject in a novella.  Kudos to her.

The story has lots of sex, more than book 2, and a very mature scene where Elain goes to explain to Brody’s old love that he’s mated now.  She managed to get over her hurt and behave like a mature adult, regretting the pain she causes the other woman.  All too often these are shouting matches of bruised egos, so a woman with some empathy for another is a welcome relief.  But it’s when Brody ‘chases’ Elain that things take a huge turn.  Brody seems to understand this part of Elain better than either of his brothers and he’s more willing to answer Elain’s need than they are.  Despite his always being called Bonehead for not thinking things through, he does understand many things better than either Ain or Cail.  Brody kind of comes into his own in this book and to a lesser extent Cail, and it’s Ain who takes the most modest role here – other than the edict regarding the mating.  The concerns that Ain and Cail had been keeping from Brody can no longer be hidden.  The mates of the Pardie alphas are being murdered.  Brody is sure Elain shfted during the chase and he smelled a strange wolf on their land.  Now Brody knows that Elain might be the child of a shifter.  But it’s the unexpected early arrival of Elain’s mom that puts paid to any chance of further deception.  Carla drops an information bomb that will be the foundation of the next installment – and I’m looking forward to it!

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