Clay’s Hope by Melissa Haag

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Pages: 266

Series: Judgement of the Six Companion Series, Book 1

Genres: Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Shapeshifter, Supernatural

Publication date: April 25, 2015

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Clay is a man with few human talents, yet as a wolf he hunts well and can fight off a grizzly twice his size. The idea of a Mate is one he never seriously entertained since he knew the chances were nearly non-existent. Then he meets Gabby, a human girl. She hates him at first sight, but everything other than her has become unimportant. Winning her over has become the only thing that matters.

“A good home, huh? I wonder if Gabby likes dogs.”

Probably not. I sighed, laid my head on my paws, and have Rachel my best woeful look.

“Aw, I’m sure she does. Look at you. What’s not to like?”

My thoughts exactly.

Chapter 4

While some authors write the same story from a different perspective in what seems to be a simple a cash grab, this is definitely not what Haag has done. (Though I will have a review coming out in a couple of days about a book that does just this in my opinion.) Instead, this story manages to give great insight into the world from a werewolf perspective. While many of the scenes are the same as those in Hope(less), they read almost as completely different scenes coming from Clay’s perspective. And I love it.

This story shows Clay transforming from a sad and lonely werewolf to a man with passion and a reason to live. I adore it as it shows a man pulling himself out of a sense of hopelessness and into the light. It shows him coming to terms with his current shortcomings and putting the work in to overcome them.

It also shows the way that he struggles to be the man that Gabby needs him to be. Of course his patience works out in the end, but that doesn’t stop him from getting frustrated at the slow progression of their relationship. He grew up knowing the rules of his world while Gabby did not, Gabby grew up knowing the rules of the human world while Clay continues to struggle with understanding them.

But my favourite part of this story has to be getting so see the way the same interaction can be interpreted from both perspectives. By reading Hope(less) and Clay’s Hope back to back, it’s clear how different a situation might seem to the people in it. More on this later. If you’re looking for a cute little romance surrounding a shapeshifter plot line, you might enjoy this story. While the first book in a series that I enjoy reading from time to time, it also holds up as its own love story. However, if you read it – or the two of them – without carrying on with the story, be prepared for some plot lines that’ll never get resolved.

That being said, there are some very serious things that happen in this story that I am in no way endorsing in real life. While it’s not explicitly written this way, there are moments that could be considered stalking or coercion. These things are not things that should ever be done in a real relationship.


*Spoilers ahead*

Before getting into the nitty gritty of the story, I want to clarify the last thing I wrote in the spoiler free section above. Clay’s stalking is clear in his following Gabby from a distance as she goes to class at College, but it’s even more glaring when he runs from the compound to Sam’s house to watch her during the summer and then again when she moves across the country for school. It’s used in this story as a tool to show Clay’s total commitment to Gabby and the knowledge that they’re Mates, but this is never something to be done in the real world. Even if a relationship that starts out this way ends up “working out” that is not okay. Please never stalk anyone.

Likeway, Clay very clearly coerces Gabby to do things his way. While it’s seemingly with small things – such as appearing to Rachel first so Gabby can’t just send him away, or waiting until Gabby is asleep and getting Rachel to let him into her room so he can sleep in bed with her – this is still a form of manipulation. Yes it’s Clay’s way of slowly breaking down Gabby’s walls and showing her that it’s a good thing to have him around all the time, but that’s in a work of fiction. Please never use these kinds of tricks to get the people around you to do what you want.

Getting that out of the way, I’d like to talk about what I really enjoyed about the story.

Such as getting to see the way that Clay interprets things differently from Gabby in even the most minor instances. When Gabby is looking for a car, Clay jumps up to look at the engine as a way to separate the man selling the car from Gabby and also to check to see if it looked similar to what he’d seen with Sam’s engine. Here, we learn that Clay was nodding to himself and he didn’t yet know anything about cars. However, in Hope(less) Gabby uses this subtle nod at Clay’s approval at the car and a hint that Gabby should purchase it. She already trusted his opinion on this matter, not knowing that he had yet to start learning about mechanics.

We also see this later on when the Urbat shows up while Gabby and Clay are on a walk on their way back from breakfast. Gabby starts “calling for help” as a warning to the challenger while Clay sees it as her not trusting in his ability to protect her. For Gabby’s perspective we know that’s not it; instead she’s worried for Clay and hoping that he won’t have to worry about protecting her at all.

There are numerous other instances in this story that show their growth in understanding each other. Clay picking up orange juice and chocolate cake because he figured Gabby would like it. Doing the laundry while Gabby is at class so she won’t have to worry about it. Gabby rushing home on Tuesdays to enjoy her nights alone with Clay the man.

It’s downright adorable to see the way the two grow together.

While I already know what happens next in the series, I look forward to rereading what goes on. I absolutely adore Haag’s writing in this world and the characters she’s created. If you’ve read these stories I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions on them. If you haven’t yet, I hope what I’ve said here at least gets you interested in them.


Other reviews for this world:

  1. Hope(less) [Judgement of the Six, Book 1]

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