Oh my god, the pain.
He’s a fucking WERE HEDGEHOG. LIKE. AS IN. A SMALL SOMEWHAT PRICKLY THING THAT WUFFLES AROUND IN HEDGES.
ONLY A WERE.
I can’t even.
As far as plots go….there really isn’t one. Honey (yes, really) owns a bar, and has been in an antagonistic relationship with Blake, who is seriously over compensating for the fact that he’s a WERE-HEDGEHOG by being a bad-ass biker dude who wears leather and beats up any guy that looks at Honey at all. He wants her, she secretly wants him (and fantasizing about him while masturbating, which he finds out because he followed her home one night and snuck into her house).
She also adopts hedgehogs.
Of course she does.
Anyway, Honey has an employee in the bar, Katie, who is also a female were-hedgehog (and Honey knows that she is, so we are spared the whole “What do you mean there are were-things and YOU TURN INTO A FUCKING HEDGEHOG” conversation). Blake convinces Katie to beat the shit out him in were-form so that Honey will take him in and take care of him so he can get into her house that way….
He doesn’t factor in that she’d take him to the vet, which results in getting his temperature taken rectally (which he totally deserved) and then she takes him home and arranges a date with the vet. The vet then says to a buddy of his, while Blake is listening, that he’s going out with a fat chick who is obviously desperate for sex and will totally put out. Blake pees on the vet and chews on his fingers, and the vet throws him against a wall. (This kiboshes the date quite neatly.)
Honey lets Blake sleep on her bed (as a hedgehog still). But he turns back human in the middle of the night and they start making out…. until she wakes up and it’s all awkward. She throws him out, and he promptly gets into a motorcycle accident and Honey… brings him back into her house to nurse him back to health. But they still want to bang eachother, but neither of them know the other wants also wants the banging and Honey is all sneaking into the shower to jerk off….
And then they finally end up in bed and it’s perfect because you KNOW were-hedgehogs are able to BRING IT, and that’s basically the end of the book.
Here’s the thing: I think that the book knows how ridiculous it is. It has a “I am not taking this seriously, so you shouldn’t, either” tone that yes, alpha were-hedgehogs are a silly concept.
[Blake] grumbled low in his throat as she turned the car off and climbed out, being careful not to jostle him. On a normal day, he’d gripe about that; just because he was a hedgie didn’t mean he was that delicate. But after the experience with the vet tech from hell… Just let the bastard try and euthanize a werehedgehog. Blake would show him exactly what hell was.
That is the correct tone to take with this premise. I was deeply concerned that this book thought it was the shit, and once I decided that it, like Hansel and Gretel: Witchhunters (IN 3D) knew what it was and made no apologies for it, my reading experience was improved.
But the thing about writing a book with a knowingly ridiculous premise is that you have to be a good writer to pull it off (Hansel and Gretel: Witchhunters (IN 3D!) was awesome at being the precise type of movie it was). And they aren’t. I did a dramatic reading for Alina, one of my podcast co-hosts, and she didn’t even make it through two paragraphs before she made me stop. The writing is just awkward and clunky.
Blake with his tight leathers that outlined everything he had to offer, from a large package to lots of long, lean muscle. He even had the cliche bad boy tattoos on his biceps. Tattoos she’d like to lick all over… when she wasn’t pissed at him starting fights, that is….
…All right, truth be told, she wouldn’t mind a roll in the hay if she could be sure it was no strings attatched. Except she had a feeling that Blake wanted a little more than a straight-forward friendly fuck. He was one of those, she internally shuddered, long-term kind of guys despite his outward short-term attitude.
It’s never clear why Honey has this problem with Blake. She wants him, but she’s sure he doesn’t want her, except that she knows he does, but she only wants him for a FWB situation, except maybe not, and she thinks he goes for skinny blondes anyway, and not curvy chicks like her, so he's not really interested… none of this makes any sense. You need to have consistency in character, even when the book is silly. ESPECIALLY when the book is silly, or it can’t sustain itself.
While it might have been fun to see Honey come to terms with the existence of were-hedgehogs, I can appreciate the decision to make it clear that she already knows about them, and has come to terms with that paradigm shift. Now she only has to deal with the fact that Blake is one (although it wasn't clear to me if he knew that she knew that shifters are a thing.) (Look, it's a very knowledgable cast, okay.)
While I, as a woman who is not small, liked seeing a heroine who is pointedly not skinny, Honey's constant obsession with the size of her butt or how guys only go for skinny chicks was tiresome. Yeah, okay, it's true a lot of us do that some of the time, but that doesn't mean I want to read about it.
I do feel like the authors understand and love hedgehogs, which added a level of sincerity. (I admit that my experiences with hedgehogs are holding one at a zoo one time and watching youtube videos of hedgies taking baths, which are amazing and adorable and worth every second.)
On the whole, though, this book is utterly ridiculous and knows it, but not well-written enough to hold that up. If it had been trying to take itself seriously, we might be in the coveted F+ territory, but alas, we are not. If it had been well-written enough to take the ridonkadonk to new levels of ridonk, I'd be all over it! Mostly, I'm sad at missed opportunities. As I wrote this review, I got more and more sad.