Author ~ TJ Klune
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 20 June 2016
Genre ~ Paranormal M/M Romance
Ox was twelve when his daddy taught him a very valuable lesson. He said that Ox wasn’t worth anything and people would never understand him. Then he left.
Ox was sixteen when he met the boy on the road, the boy who talked and talked and talked. Ox found out later the boy hadn’t spoken in almost two years before that day, and that the boy belonged to a family who had moved into the house at the end of the lane.
Ox was seventeen when he found out the boy’s secret, and it painted the world around him in colors of red and orange and violet, of Alpha and Beta and Omega.
Ox was twenty-three when murder came to town and tore a hole in his head and heart. The boy chased after the monster with revenge in his bloodred eyes, leaving Ox behind to pick up the pieces.
It’s been three years since that fateful day—and the boy is back. Except now he’s a man, and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them.
Nothing I say will do this book justice, so if you’re a fan of TJ Klune, just go read it. If you’re a fan of werewolves/shifters, just go read it. If you’re a fan of stories that stress the bonds of family, friends and lovers, just go read it. If you are a fan of laughing one moment and crying the next (full on Wookie cry face), just go read it. Still not convinced? Guess I’ll have to ramble then.
This book is one of TJ Klune’s more serious, angstier stories. To me it was like a love-child of The Art of Breathing (Bear, Otter and the Kid #3) and Into This River I Drown. It’s an emotional tale, infused with magic, where fathers have a big impact on their children and where family is what you make it, not just what you are born with. The cast of characters is varied, not one of them out of place, and the range of emotions will warm your heart, tear it to shreds and piece it back together.
With a writing style that could only be TJ Klune’s, where the simplest of language and the smallest of words imparts huge emotion, Wolfsong follows Ox and Joe for more than a decade. From their first meeting, to their intense friendship and finally the realization that they are meant to be so much more, the two boys, and then men, forge a bond like no other. Yet that is just one of the amazing relationships that you will find in this story.
Ox has been beaten down in life. By the time he is twelve, he already has been told he is stupid and that people will give him shit throughout his life, and that was just the loving words of his father as dear old dad walks out of his life. He’s been picked on in school and doesn’t have any friends. There is so much Ox doesn’t understand, regardless of how his mother tries to build him up. She tells him he’s worthy and special, but his father’s words won’t let him believe it.
I was often at war with myself over the little things. What was right and wrong. What was acceptable and what wasn’t. What my place was and if I belonged.
On his sixteenth birthday however, he meets a ten year old tornado named Joe, who just moved in down the lane, won’t stop talking and insists on bringing Ox home to meet his family, because Joe needs to know why. That introduction goes something like this…
You gotta smell him and then tell me why it’s all candy canes and pinecones and epic and awesome.
It is clear to everyone that Ox and Joe have an immediate bond. The two become the best of friends and often Ox is the only one who can comfort Joe, who has suffered horribly in his short life. Although Joe knows that Ox is meant to be his from the moment they meet, neither he nor Ox really understand what is going on at the time. They both have to grow up and live their lives until the time is finally right. When that time comes, when Joe is seventeen, it hits Ox like a ton of bricks and it’s amazing. Seventeen year old Joe is fierce and full of passion and is determined to make Ox his, leading to some hysterically funny moments and some tear jerking ones as well.
“And I’ve been waiting”, Joe said. “For him to look at me like I looked at him. And he finally did. He finally did. And I’m going to do everything I can to make sure it stays like that. Because I want him for always.”
Soon after, tragedy strikes and Joe and Ox are separated. Ox feels abandoned and though he has a strong bond with Joe’s family and his crew at the auto shop, nothing can replace Joe. But life goes on and people need him and this is when Ox finds out just how special and how strong he really is. Three years, one month and 26 days is a long time. When Joe finally returns, as much as Ox still loves him he is hurt and angry. Forgiveness is not going to be easy, especially when things have changed so drastically in Joe’s absence, and danger is constantly lurking. Everybody will be tested and the bonds that were once so strong will need to be repaired and rebuilt.
This is a beautiful and emotional hurt/comfort love story. Both Ox and Joe feel that they are a bit broken so it’s heavy on the angst, but with enough humor to keep you from drowning. There is pain, healing, growing up and the struggle of finding your place, your people, and where you belong. Every secondary character is well drawn and has their own distinct personality and reason for being there. From the strength of Ox’s mother, the way Joe’s father Thomas becomes a surrogate father to Ox, Gordo’s mentoring and caring and the rest of the Bennett family’s influence on Ox, there are just so many beautiful relationships forged over the course of this epic tale.
I haven’t said much, but there is plenty of paranormal story here as well. Shifters and magic are a major part of the story, but I won’t be giving away anything more than the blurb does because I want you kept on the edge of your seat just as I was. There is a complete story here, but there are still bits and pieces that are hanging at the end. I can only hope that TJ Klune will grace us with more of these wonderful characters in the future.
So to recap, this story is amazing. Just go read it.
Meet TJ Klune
When TJ Klune was eight, he picked up a pen and paper and began to write his first story (which turned out to be his own sweeping epic version of the video game Super Metroid—he didn’t think the game ended very well and wanted to offer his own take on it. He never heard back from the video game company, much to his chagrin). Now, over two decades later, the cast of characters in his head have only gotten louder. But that’s okay, because he’s recently become a full-time writer, and can give them the time they deserve.
Since being published, TJ has won the Lambda Literary Award for Best Gay Romance, fought off three lions that threatened to attack him and his village, and was chosen by Amazon as having written one of the best GLBT books of 2011.
And one of those things isn’t true.
(It’s the lion thing. The lion thing isn’t true.)
Tj can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.