Full disclosure, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The corresponding YouTube video is available here.
I meant to do this book weeks ago but I’ve just been… so emotionally drained with everything in the world right now that I couldn’t focus. Thankfully, I did finally get to it, and I’m glad I did! An Angel’s Wylder Assignment by Tena Stetler was an intriguing story about a Scottish warrior angel and a Shoshone-Arapaho shapeshifter couple who get an assignment from the powers that be (higher up angels) to travel back in time to Wylder, Wyoming in 1878 undercover at a blacksmith shop to stop a demon from changing the timeline. I mean, just that description alone. Wow. I’m hooked.
As usual, I will do my best to avoid any significant spoilers!
The writing style relied heavily on the dialogue, and the dialogue was definitely the strongest point for this book. The prose was good too, absolutely, but I felt the dialogue was the true gem. That said, there were some technical issues of missed closed quotes, random commas, a missed capitalization, and a name that was supposed to be spelled Cissy was spelled Crissy once. But, honestly, after going through the editing process myself, I’m so much more forgiving of typos now-a-days. The technical issues aren’t enough for me to not enjoy the book.
The main characters of this book are the Scottish angel Killian and the Shoshone-Arapaho wolf shapeshifter Chinoah. They are both fiery and passionate characters and enjoyable to read. Their confidence helps them leap off pages for me. I confess that I was worried about Chinoah’s portrayal as a Native American character potentially slipping into stereotypes when it was mentioned she previously worked at a casino and that she’s a wolf shapeshifter, both of which are stereotypes for Native characters, but she does stand on her own as a spit-fire character. I do feel I should note that I am not an expert in Native American culture nor do I know enough about Shoshone or Arapaho tribes to be able to analyze a character with that heritage. A positive thing I noticed was that Chinoah wasn’t any more sexualized or exoticized than her Scottish partner in any way that wasn’t appropriate as a romance novel protagonist, avoiding the negative trope of over-sexualizing brown bodies in comparison to white ones, which was nice to see the even footing there. If I had to make a guess as someone whose only claim to knowledge is working with a sensitivity reader once myself, there are some points regarding Native American representation that a sensitivity reader might have wanted to fine tune, but nothing egregious. Again, cannot emphasize enough: I’m not an expert! Overall, the characters were great fun.
Worldbuilding: The worldbuilding was very firmly set in the wild west, and I liked getting to visit places in town, meet the people, and explore the time period through the lens of modern time travelers. Do note here that I am not particularly familiar with the wild west beyond playing Oregon Trail 2 as a kid, so in my non-expert opinion, the wild west setting was very well executed!
There is more to the worldbuilding of course – the paranormal aspect! I liked everything that was there and felt that it fit in well. Personally, I’m curious to know more about the dynamics of angels and demons in this world, their hierarchy, how all that technical stuff works, but that’s my fantasy brain for you. As a romance story, it works well as is. I did appreciate that this book isn’t heavily religious – I’m often weary of angel/demon paranormal romances because I’m not too fond of heavily religious stories, as they can sometimes feel alienating to non-Christian readers such as myself. This book, I can happily say, is not alienating.
Plot: the plot premise is excellent. It was a fun plot, though also at times felt a little slow, even though it’s a relatively short book. Luckily for me, I was in the mood for that lately. There were moments with some action and paranormal intrigue to carry the plot forward, and I never felt like I needed to put the book down for boredom or anything like that.
The romance was absolutely sweet and sexy. There’s a forbidden-ness to the romance, as in this world, once an angel has sex, that’s their spouse for eternity. It’s just a little bit of a big decision, and so while Killian and Chinoah clearly want to have sex and are sex-positive minded, they’re putting it off to make sure Chinoah’s certain it’s what she wants, which is responsible and a good decision. Now… on this point, I do feel I need to interject my opinion as a queer woman. I do understand that this is a heterosexual romance. However… it is stated that stuff that isn’t penetrative penis-in-vagina sex but is still sexual activity is fine and non-binding, a loophole for them to have fun without marriage. As a queer woman, I just feel like more people should accept that non-penis-in-vagina sex is just as valid, emotional, binding, and life changing as penis-in-vagina sex, even between opposite-gendered partners. And yes, it is sex. Heck, sometimes it’s better because there’s more focus on a partner’s pleasure. Personally, I would have liked it better if maybe the rule was that instead of penetrative heterosexual sex being the magic wedding, sharing an orgasm together was what did the binding magic. That would also bring in a whole denial aspect to the teasing that could be fun to play with. But, again, it is a heterosexual book with heterosexual focus, so I understand why it was written this way.
On the subject of the relationship, it did seem overall healthy! They were able to communicate and Killian respected Chinoah. I didn’t see any red flags while reading and was happy to see them as a couple.
I’d rate An Angel’s Wylder Assignment the following, with 5 being the max:
⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4/5 for the writing style. I enjoyed the dialogue and the prose, but there were typos.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5/5 for the characters. Killian and Chinoah are both confident and fun to read!
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5/5 for the worldbuilding. Interesting paranormal aspects, and interesting wild west setting!
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5/5 for the plot. The premise is very interesting and even if the story felt a touch slow at times, I never had cause to put it down.
⭐⭐⭐ 3/5 for the romance. For me personally, as a queer woman with a queer view of sex, there were some things I did not care for. Straight women will likely view this differently.
🩺🩺🩺🩺🩺 5/5 for the health of the relationship. Killian and Chinoah respect each other and don’t have issues communicating. They’re a good couple!
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Overall, I’d rate this book a 4.5, which rounds up to 5. If you’re interested in a fun story about some paranormal beings set in the wild west, give this one a read!
🔥🔥🔥 For the heat level, which is not part of the rating, this is a 3/5 as it does have hot sex scenes that aren’t just allusions, but doesn’t have super intense detail or long scenes, so not crossing into erotica territory by my standards. But it definitely has its sexy moments!
You can find An Angel’s Wylder Assignment available for purchase at these links:
You can find more information about the author, Tena Stetler on her website, Authors’ Secret’s Blog, My Say What Blog, Facebook, on Twitter, and on Instagram. She also has 15 other books to check out!
Thanks for reading!
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