Review: Black Rook by Kelly Meade

Posted July 14, 2014 by Carmel in Carmel, Paranormal Romance, Reviews, Werewolves / 76 Comments

Review: Black Rook by Kelly Meade
Black Rook by Kelly Meade
Series: Cornerstone Run Trilogy #1
Published by InterMix
Published on: July 15, 2014
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Werewolves
Pages: 334
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
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She never saw this coming…

Brynn Atwood is a low-level Magus whose unpredictable precognitive powers have made her an outcast among her people—and an embarrassment to her highly-regarded father. After a frightening vision in which her father is murdered by a loup garou man, Brynn decides to prove herself by finding the killer, and stopping them at any cost.

Her target is Rook McQueen, the son of a small-town loup garou Alpha. Despite being the youngest of three, Rook is first in line to inherit the role of Alpha, a duty he isn't sure he's capable of fulfilling. When Brynn finally meets Rook, she doesn't expect the attraction that draws her to him—and him to her.

No longer believing him a murderer, Brynn and Rook strike an alliance to find her father's real killer. But when his older brother is targeted by an unknown enemy, Rook will have to choose between his growing feelings for Brynn and his duty as the future Alpha of his community.


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Urban Fantasy author, Kelly Meding, has made the jump to Paranormal Romance in style with the first book in her CORNERSTONE RUN TRILOGY, BLACK ROOK. To say that I fell head over heels in love with the McQueen brothers would be putting it mildly when in fact this series might just be the best thing that’s happened to werewolves since sliced bread. I adored the loup garou mythology, three dimensional characters, chess inspired plot maneuvers, and slow burn romance. My only complaint is that I had to wait until the 90% mark for Brynn and Rook to get horizontal, but really that’s more a personal preference than a legit gripe, so I won’t hold that against Meade (much) because otherwise, this novel was exceptional!

Being the werewolf fanatic that I am, the number one thing that I look forward to whenever I start a new series is the author’s own unique spin on my favourite supes. And, Kelly Meade most certainly did NOT disappoint with her loups garous! Usually I expect there to be one or two twists on the typical lore, but in this case what I received was a whole new world. I loved the use of a wolf’s colour as a power/rank indicator that also comes with its own exclusive traits that range from procreation to special abilities. I was especially fascinated by Meade’s white loups garous, but of course… she’s saving Knight’s novel until last. Shifting is well explained, and I really enjoyed the run (pack) dynamics. The buck doesn’t stop here though, there are also Magi, vampires, and hybrids in the CORNERSTONE RUN TRILOGY universe which makes it a very well-rounded read from a paranormal perspective.

The plot is ingeniously crafted, and reminiscent of a chess match where the opponents take turns and must adjust their strategy depending on what moves their foe makes. The character names and wolf colours tie in to this as well which only further added to this book’s one-of-a-kind story line. In the earlier chapters the pawns and chess master are clearly identifiable, but as the tale progresses and the power shifts, things get a lot more interesting. The author’s Urban Fantasy background is evident in the main story arc, and will continue to serve her well in future installments. In no way did this novel feel like your typical werewolf Paranormal Romance, so if you’re a reader that lives in constant fear of mate insta-love, you can rest easy because you’re safe with Meade.

Brynn is kind of the black sheep of the Magus thanks to being born the ‘second’ child, and gifted with unreliable precognitive powers in a community that prides itself on control. I admired her bravery, and loyalty to her father in the face of a heartbreaking vision, and her determination to do whatever it takes to set things right. Rook is a colourful character with his rockstar past, and potential Alpha future. I think that his brother, Knight, stole a bit of his thunder, but I still liked him as a match for Brynn. The romance is subtle and flirtatious, and culminates in one sexy scene towards the end. This book doesn’t score many points on the Richter scale which was a tad disappointing given the genre and the reason why I’m deducting half a rating.

BLACK ROOK was a fast favourite with this rabid reader making the CORNERSTONE RUN TRILOGY a surefire winning series that’s not to be missed.

Cornerstone Run Trilogy
White Knight

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Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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76 responses to “Review: Black Rook by Kelly Meade

  1. Sometimes I can be a little wary of mate insta-love, so I’m glad to hear that Meding avoids that in this one! I love the idea that loup garou’s status is determined by the colour of their fur. And you were not kidding about those chess piece names! If Rook and Knight are any indication, then maybe book three will be about a wolf named Bishop.
    Danya recently posted…Audiobook Review: Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews

    • This book has a nice mix of paranormal elements, and you can’t beat the writing. I like that it’s a blend of UF/PNR too, so you get the best of both worlds.

  2. LOL! “My only complaint is that I had to wait until the 90% mark for Brynn and Rook to get horizontal.” Can I borrow this, Carmel?! I also have a hard time waiting till the end when it’s a pnr, you’re expecting more sprinkled throughout those pages. I’m excited that this a book one (yay) and the chess theme, color and world are so interesting. I’m going to have to check this one out some more. Thanks for the wonderful review 🙂

  3. “My only complaint is that I had to wait until the 90% mark for Brynn and Rook to get horizontal”

    You’re like me Carmel! I’m not a big fan of having to wait so long for characters to finally get together, and by 90% I’d be wondering what the hell was going on. Boo. Otherwise though, this book sounds like a complete winner, and I can’t wait to give it a try!

  4. Berls from Fantasy is More  

    Sounds fantastic! I’m very intrigued by the new world she’s created for the weres – I’m not as big a fan as you (but who really is?) but I do love my weres and love seeing new twists. I also love that her UF is coming into the way she builds the plot, since I’m totally a UF girl fist than PR girl 2nd. Adding to by TBR – Great review Carmel 🙂
    Berls recently posted…Death of the Mad Hatter by Sara J. Pepper | #COYER Book Review

    • This is shelved as PNR, but with Meade’s UF roots I’m convinced that fans of both genres will like this book. And yeah, NO ONE loves weres as much as I do. LOL

  5. Your minor problem with the book really cracked me up. Haha. 🙂 I’m not much of a Paranormal reader (please don’t hurt me) and I think it’s because I seemed to pick up those books that have tropes that annoy the hell out of me. But I’m glad that this book didn’t have this problem and it brought a whole lot of newness on the table. I think if I’d start reading Paranormal again, I’ll start with this one. Fantastic review, Carmel. 🙂
    Sarah recently posted…Review: Breathe, Annie, Breathe (Hundred Oaks #5) by Miranda Kenneally

  6. I finished it this weekend and really enjoyed Kelly’s twist on the weres and those yummy McQueen brothers! For a minute there I was worried with the fate of Rook and Knight but I’m glad they got that bitch…LOL I really wouldn’t call this PNR, but I guess the romantic element falls under this genre. I can’t wait to find out what happens next, looking forward to Bishop’s story! Great review.
    Lori recently posted…Blog Tour: Meet Rook McQueen from BLACK ROOK by Kelly Meade + Giveaway

  7. “Best thing that’s happened to werewolves since sliced bread”?! That’s high praise indeed, especially coming from you, O Voracious Reader of werewolf fiction. I don’t mind a slowburn romance, in fact, I think 90% for the horizontal bop is just about right for me, lol! ^_^
    Mogsy recently posted…PANELS: X-Men: Regenesis #1

    • You haven’t been stalking me long enough then, cuz that’s like all I read. LOL But yeah, that’s pretty much it, and there’s usually modern technology too.

  8. The plot is ingeniously crafted, and reminiscent of a chess match where the opponents take turns and must adjust their strategy depending on what moves their foe makes.” I absolutely love chess and anything to do with strategic planning, so this sounds right up my ally with all it’s twists and turns and reveals. Definitely going to give this a try! Thanks for sharing Carmel, and, as always, BRILLIANT review! <3
    Zoe recently posted…The Merciless

  9. I haven’t been reading as much paranormal or urban fantasy as of late as I once did, but this series sounds very interesting, and even more since it’s a trilogy! I don’t think I can invest myself in another ongoing long series, so this sounds like a great compromise!
    Thanks for the great review and recomendation, Carmel!
    Pili recently posted…Tell Me Tuesdays #3!!

  10. Oh Carmel, you have sold me on this book! And I was just telling a friend that I need more PR/UF in my reading diet. 😉 I like the fact Meade gives an entirely new world. The characters and plot sound fantastic. And since you are a connoisseur of werewolves and loved Black Rook, it’s a safe bet I’ll love it too. 🙂

  11. Oh, man, I love the sound of the plot! It seems like that kinda thing where there are so many twists and turns and you really don’t know what will happen next because so many stuff keeps changing depending on what’s happening. I’m pretty certain there’s some internal politics included there, too, somehow XD Would read this just for that! I want me some unpredictable novels!
    Faye recently posted…Potato Podcast #2: Sailor Moon Crystal Review & Comparisons

    • And, you would be right, the Magi are all about politics. I didn’t go into detail about that aspect because well, I’m easily distracted by werewolves. 😀 LOL

  12. Oh I really enjoyed this one. I think she did a good job with this PNR series. I didn’t really liked the first book in her UF series but after this one I think I should try to read more of them to see if my feeling changes. Great review Carmel!

    • I didn’t really care for book 1 in her MetaWars series—superheroes aren’t my thing—but I’ve heard good things about her Dreg City books. I’ll read ’em one day…

  13. OO! Looks good! I LOVE werewolves and urban fantasy and all the fun! I’m a bit wary of trilogies – they rarely end well and I like knowing there will be more. This goes on my maybe list for sure – the trilogy issue working against it but otherwise looks really good! Thanks!
    Jessica Cooley recently posted…Days of Blood and Starlight