Ali Hazlewood’s Bride is an urban monster mystery that will keep fantasy and romance lovers thoroughly entertained!
Bride is Ali Hazlewood’s first, and hopefully not her last, fantasy romance novel. This was my first time reading any of Ali Hazlewood’s work, but after reading Bride, it won’t be the last!
Set in a modern-day world where humans, vampyres, and werewolves coexist, Bride is a compelling tale of the balance between duty, power, and love. Hazlewood’s take on vampyres and werewolves brings something fresh to a genre that has become commonplace in romance. There is political intrigue, hot monsters, witty banter, and a strong leading lady. What’s not to love?
The story centers around a wayward vampyre named Misery. When her oldest and dearest friend goes missing, a clue sets off a chain of events that pushes Misery into enemy territory and ultimately binds her to the newly appointed alpha Lowe of the Southwest werewolf pack.
The plot follows a typical whodunit formula, but the supernatural elements keep things fresh. I greatly appreciated how the rules of the world were laid out early on. While vampyres and werewolves have enhanced abilities such as strength, shifting, and long lives, they are not immortal. This makes them feel more human, and thus more accessible in the story that follows.
Over the years, frequent battles have left both sides with dwindling numbers, while humans pose an ever-growing threat. New and old alliances will threaten vampyres and werewolves alike. As such, Misery’s dear old dad—and head of the vampyre council—offers to wed her to the alpha of the neighboring wolf pack as a gesture of goodwill. The marriage presents the perfect opportunity for Misery to unravel the mystery of her friend’s (Serena) disappearance and prevent a war that would end life as she knows it.
The friction between vampyres, werewolves, and humans serves as a clever parallel between the complex race, progression, and geopolitical problems we face in the real world. Hazlewood expertly demonstrates how societal ethics and personal morals don’t always align and the character development/pacing make for an enjoyable read.
That said, as much as I enjoyed the book overall, I did feel some of the major plot points were fairly easy to figure out early on. The big “aha!” moments weren’t as fulfilling as they could have been. Perhaps with a little more complexity and maybe even a different villain reveal.
As an avid romance reader, I love a good slow burn and this book definitely delivers on that. The chemistry between Misery and Lowe is evident from their first meeting. Misery is intelligent, funny, and just emotionally stunted enough to be relatable.
She also has some of the best one-liners of any character I’ve read in recent memory. Many of us can relate to searching for our place in this world. All while navigating burdensome family dynamics and unaddressed childhood trauma. I was rooting for her from the beginning.
Lowe is the tall, dark, and handsome alpha of every woman’s dreams. His emotional yo-yoing was tedious at times, but the guy is likable and a good leader. It’s easy to see how Misery could fall for him, even though it was a bit frustrating watching their love story unfold at times. For someone as intelligent as Misery, she’s unbelievably dense about romance. I understand she’s inexperienced due to her isolation, but no one is that clueless.
Our leading man, unfortunately, seems almost equally hapless. Regardless, the build-up was still pleasant to read, and the spice is well worth the wait! I won’t spoil the specifics, but I’m sure you can gather that things would get pretty steamy between two monsters of different species!
Overall, I really enjoyed the book and would recommend giving it a read. While the story has a satisfying conclusion on its own, I would definitely read more from this universe. The cliffhanger in the epilogue leads me to believe that a sequel may be in our future!