Rivals and Retribution

Caution!  If you haven’t read the first four books in Shannon Delany’s 13 to Life series (13 to Life, Secrets and Shadows, Bargains and Betrayals, Destiny and Deception), turn back now.  I just finished the fifth and final book in the series, Rivals and Retribution, and I don’t want to ruin things for you…but I will.

I started reading the 13 to Life series a couple of years ago, and I completed the journey through this series earlier today.  I’ll try not to go into too much detail here just in case you haven’t experienced these books, but I’ll admit that I’m a little sad that the story of Pietr and Jessie (and Max, Alexi, Cat, Marlaena, etc.) is over.  Rivals and Retribution seeks to resolve the many issues and problems that have plagued Jessie, the Rusakova family, and those close to them.  Was this resolution all that I hoped for?  Well, we’ll discuss that in a bit…

Can Jessie Gillmansen’s life ever be normal?  (With her boyfriend being a Russian werewolf, probably not.)  Any semblance of normality dissolves when Jessie is kidnapped by a rival pack who wants to force the Rusakovas, especially Jessie’s boyfriend Pietr, into action.  Action that will, hopefully, force Pietr to once again embrace the wolf that lives just under the surface of his skin.

Well, it works.  Almost too well.  Not only has Pietr regained his wolfish nature, he’s also determined to end any threat to his family.  But that may be easier said than done…particularly when he’s unaccountably drawn to Marlaena, the alpha female of the pack that tried to kill his beloved girlfriend, Jessie.  Why is this girl, this enemy, invading his thoughts?  Why do all of his instincts scream for him to be around her?  And why is he becoming sick the longer he’s with Jessie and away from Marlaena?

Alexi, Pietr’s brother, thinks he knows the answer, but he’ll have to make some unsavory deals and mend some fences to even have a chance to come up with a solution.  Will he be able to solve Pietr’s dilemma–and finally find a cure that lasts–before it’s too late?  Before his family, his life, and his brother’s love for Jessie is destroyed forever?  Read Rivals and Retribution, the conclusion to Shannon Delany’s 13 to Life series, to learn how the werewolves of Junction–and those who love them–finally take control of their own destinies.

For those of you who’ve read this series, I’ll tell you that this final book does answer several questions…but it does leave a few unanswered.  (I’m still not sure what makes Jessie’s blood so special or why Derek’s thoughts kept invading the minds of Jessie, Sophie, and Sarah.  Maybe I’m missing something.)  The action in Rivals and Retribution is super fast-paced, almost too much so.  When I had just a few chapters left, I was really worried because I knew that there wasn’t enough time to get the closure I was looking for.  Was there some closure?  Sure, but it kind of felt rushed to me.  For all of the action in previous books–and even in this one–the ending was a little too neat and anticlimactic.  I hate to say it, but I would have enjoyed a little more violence and blood-letting in this conclusion.  Maybe that’s just me, though.

The 13 to Life series, as a whole, is definitely one worth reading, especially for those who are enamored of all things werewolf, but I have to say that Rivals and Retribution was my least favorite book in the series.  It was a fast-paced, enjoyable read, but I would have liked just a few more chapters with a little more meat to flesh out some plot points.  Do with that what you will.

For those who would like to learn more about author Shannon Delany and the 13 to Life series, visit http://www.13tolifeseries.com.

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