“The Blessing of the Black Wolves” by JS Murphy

The Blessing of the Black Wolves

JS Murphy
Independently Published (2021)
ISBN: 978-1989860038
Reviewed by Megan Weiss for ReaderViews (10/2022)

“The Blessing of the Black Wolves” by JS Murphy is a tale of star-crossed lovers. Laran is a slave owned by an abusive lord. One of the only positive aspects of her life since she was enslaved was seeing glimpses of The Smiling Man—the only person who seemed to show her genuine kindness for no other reason than just pure human goodness. Sheftu Morrow, The Smiling Man himself, always noticed the tiny, elf-like girl, but the two never actually interacted until one day when Laran prevents an assassination attempt from succeeding. Now indebted to the bewildering beauty, Sheftu promises to return her to her family and free her from her captor. The only problem is that the Mirren-Bar and Soldat are far from allied lands. At first, merely taken by their physical attraction to each other, their trials across the sea, marooned on a lonely shore, and betrayals at the hand of those they assumed were trusted allies transitions their relationship to one of fierce, steady love. 

“The Blessing of the Black Wolves” was filled with characters striving to overcome expectations. Sheftu wanted more than the safe, sheltered life as the second son of a nobleman. He wanted to do things that mattered—to do good. When Laran essentially tackles him into her life, it seems as if she might be the purpose he has been looking for all along. Likewise, Laran learns that not all men from Soldat are treacherous. While the physical growth and attraction in their relationship was quite palpable and explored in depth, it seemed like there was not as much insight into their emotional connection and growth as a couple. Of course, sometimes living through tragedies, such as a shipwreck, can bring people together closer than either could have ever imagined—but it felt like as a reader we missed a piece in the building blocks of their relationship. I think the pacing also may have played a role in this, since time seemed to move very fast, when really the plotline probably was much more spread out along a longer timeline instead of taking place within a few weeks. 

“The Blessing of the Black Wolves” provided several likeable characters to become attached to and want to watch grow and triumph. The images drawn of Mirren-Bar, as well, brought to mind a vivid, beautiful place. It was always easy to picture what the characters were seeing, hearing or feeling with their hands, faces, etc. That provides a very tangible reading experience and makes it feel like you’re really right there inside the story. I also liked how, while the love between Laran and Sheftu made up an important part of the story, it was still only one major piece of a much larger puzzle. Aside from the romance and passionate scenes, there were also tough instances of being betrayed by family members, having to escape from savage and despicable human beings like Du-kar and the Barraidi men who tried to take Laran captive, and the simple human conflict of trying to win over oppressive forces. 

“The Blessing of the Black Wolves” was like seeing into a fantastical version of past civilizations, such as that of the Greeks or Romans. It is a rich story filled with adventure, intrigue, heartache and, of course, love. Fans of fantasy fiction and epic fantasy romance will certainly fall in love with this series from JS Murphy!

One thought on ““The Blessing of the Black Wolves” by JS Murphy

  1. Thank you for this comprehensive review. Your comments were noted and much appreciated. I hope you will try Raven Seeker, Book Two in the series. It has a different feel and, as always, has a love story at its core. Epic Fantasy Romance and Fantasy Fiction. Good wishes and thank you again.


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