-Review by Kazza K
This is a hard book to review on a few levels. 1) I don't wish to give away spoilers and I'll state this now - unless you have read the other two books don't read this review because it gives things away 2) there are a lot of names in this book and their relationship to one another can be complex.
Tristan and Ushna are still on their ranch in Oklahoma, Clearwater. Tristan's pregnancy is progressing. The first chapter (there is a prologue) sees Tristan nine weeks pregnant and counting down to the birth of his twins, or as it is headed up throughout the book's chapters - (number of days) until the birth of the heirs to the Seat of Zeev, the Wolf Throne. Tristan is having dreams that disturb him they seem so vivid at the time of having them. What makes the dreams more disconcerting is Tristan's broken Twin Flame bond with Theo Sullivan, the death of Ushna's Twin Flame, Brian, and Tristan's predator gradually getting louder in wanting to mark Ushna. In his dreams Tristan identifies as a man, Seth, who has strong feelings for two men - Nikita and Angelo - but has a Bashert in another male - Arsenios. The dreams continue throughout Tristan's pregnancy and the words -
"You know what I want to hear."
"Tell me. Say it."
- are important. Tristan doesn't share his dreams with anyone, including Ushna, for fear of what they might mean. In their world past lives and future lives are incredibly important. Your TF will always find you again and again. So why is Tristan having these dreams which tug at his heart and soul? Adding to this, he can see other faces transposed onto Ushna's and it is creating some internal and physical havoc on Tristan.
In the mean time, two friends from childhood, Stan and Jory, arrive at the ranch to see Tristan. Or is that really the case? Is there another agenda? Given the threat to Tristan and his position all newcomers are suspect until proven otherwise, even those who have been in Tristan's life previously. Tristan is glad to have part of his original pack back with him, Ushna and Gregori are protective and unsure.
Also throw into the equation that Daniel Sullivan, the last lover of Theo Sullivan, Tristan's ex (Twin Flame), and now guardian of Theo's three children, is causing problems. Daniel irks Tristan and his predator. They do not like Daniel one iota. But others have previously thought this was a jealousy over Theo. But Tristan, and his predator's, dislike of Daniel is given just cause when they find Justus, Neoma and Dawn in a bad situation - dishevelled, underfed and facing down older children with no sign of Daniel. It turns out Daniel has been out of town for weeks leaving three young children to fend for themselves. I LOVED the way Tristan went into full parent mode with these children/pups - they're not his, they were conceived and born through affairs Theo had when he should have been with Tristan, and yet he protects these children with everything he has. I suspect Tristan and Ushna will be remarkably good parents to their own pups.
A lot of the book introduces new characters, none without some purpose, but there are a few - old friends, Stan and Jory, Neesie's fiancée, Lonnie 'Fucking'-Fowler, Bixx Decimus and his Warriors, supposedly members of the Order of Ophidians, the Magi Circle of Three, Jynx, Devlin and Nacht, Ki is now replaced by Ashur, guiding Tristan in his Earth connection, The Simurgh, Theo's children Justus, Neoma and Dawn, Ira Weatherby, Marek Gillander, and their parent's - Kent and Joyce, and Stephen and Denise. I may have left some out but I think you get my drift. The book also looks at the factions that have formed and a clearer picture is painted of the factions. There is a LOT of world building here on the back of prior building and introducing new angles. Two sides are becoming apparent in their belief of who should rule the Tribe of Enkidu. Who they believe is the rightful alpha and Xenres to king. The Magi Council has disbanded but they have already shown their hand in the last book and are still lurking.
Tristan and Ushna use the ring of illusion to hide the fact that Tristan is pregnant with heirs to the throne. Only those loyal and in his inner sanctum know. Of course, on occasion, events occur that can't hide his pregnancy but for the most part they have done a god job keeping things from those they don't want to know.
I enjoyed Dreams of the Forgotten, I love both Tristan and Ushna. Lexi Ander writes both characters consistently throughout, and with much love. If anything they have grown and that is the way it should be. Ushna was so protective, so grounding and caring. Tristan was assertive when he had to be and forgiving when he needed to be. He is a fair Xenres. He cares about his tribe. He's pregnant and things were getting more and more difficult for him and his cravings, his appetite, and adjusting to being a pregnant alpha and warrior were easy to either relate to and/or laugh at at times - 'warriors don't waddle.' There is not much sex in this book and at the risk of sounding like the perv I am, I missed that. It was nice when it happened -
The door had hardly closed behind Gregori before Ushna had one of his hands under my shirt, another hand down my boxers . He gave me open-mouthed kisses on the back of my neck and shoulders, his tongue came out to tease my skin here and there.
"Am I going to have to make you relax?" Ushna asked between kisses.
"Ahm..." Hell yes if this was his relaxation technique! I'd have said no if my mouth hadn't disconnected from my brain at the same moment Ushna wrapped his fingers firmly around my shaft, squeezing slightly before he stroked.
But I want to add some concerns now. This book finishes like the other two, with more to come. I'm okay with that. What I'm not okay with is a series that concentrates on one couple for more than a few books. I don't last very long in these types of series and as much as I love Tristan and Ushna, and I really do love them, I also want closure for their relationship. I'm hoping for that closure in the next book, and for the love of any god or goddess you choose to name, that there are NO NEW BLOODY CHARACTERS introduced in the next book. I have a very good memory but I would stop, on more than one occasion, and think "who was that character again? Oh, yes." And as well written as the book is that is a big problem for any reader. The other problem is that with all the new characters, all the world building, and angles there is little time for secondary character development. I like Gregori but not enough to want a book about him. I really do like Randy because he has been an enigmatic and interesting character from the start of their ranching, and quite a bit more came out about him in this book, but still not enough. His relationship with .......(no, no spoilers) is going to be....interesting if it is done right, if not it will be weird. As much as I like action and respect a well built paranormal I would like things to settle a bit and get back to some basics with Tristan, Ushna, their life on the ranch, closing up the bad guys plot, dealing more with the children in their charge, including their new pups when they arrive, which should be soon, and creating an opportunity for some secondary characters to take centre stage. I never want Tristan and Ushna not to be in it, if the series continues on, but I would like to see some others get a chance to shine.
Overall, this is a very good series. It is why I come back to it. If you like supernatural/paranormal shifter books, good world building, mythology, a truly beautiful pair of protagonists, and writing that draws you in, then I recommend the well named Dreams of the Forgotten.