Bound Gods: Crocuta Crocuta

Bound Gods: Crocuta Crocuta - Adrienne Wilder Review originally posted at Sinfully.

In this installment we leave Leo, Kaleb and Aaron and follow Cerberus, who we’ve gotten glimpses of in the previous books. As we found out in the last book, Cerberus’ father was a hyena and his mother human. Cerberus is a combination of both. His outward appearance includes a hunched body with mottled skin, thick fur-like hair on his body, and sharp teeth. It is enough to strike fear or revulsion in anyone who gets a glimpse. The doxies who have served him spread word of his brutality. Inside, however, there is plenty of that human nature. Cerberus has taken to avoiding being with the doxies that don’t want him, paying for sex in dark rooms. The rejection and whispers he’s dealt with for over a century hurt and he doesn’t want to force himself on those who don’t want him. He can’t help his nature, the loss of control and the rough sex that leaves a doxie battered, his human and hyena sides are both inextricably a part of him.

Owen was sold at 13 and has been working as a prostitute since. He is 26 now, he thinks, a junkie, feeling used up, lost and about to be kicked out of the brothel he’s called home. He is unaware that he is a doxie. Cerberus is there and buys him, tries to get him clean and explains to Owen just what he is. Any disgust at his initial take on Cerberus is lost once Owen realizes Cerberus can take away that emptiness he has always felt. There is a strange attraction that Owen can’t deny. When Owen is awakened after ingesting ambrosia that Alton has provided, his need to be near Cerberus becomes urgent. Even being separated for the briefest time has Owen climbing the walls. The sex is beyond rough, it’s brutal. Owen is desired by the man, hunted by the hyena, and mated by a combination of both that leaves him bleeding, almost broken – nothing the ambrosia won’t heal, but the nature of the beast causes harm to a doxie and Alton won’t accept the harm when it comes from Cerberus. His care for Owen in the aftermath leaves no question that his humanity will always win out where Owen is concerned.

When there is no option but to return to Sanctuary, things begin to fall apart. Alton is keeping secrets, something even bigger than a war is coming and Cerberus’ desire to do what he thinks is right for Owen causes all sorts of problems. Breaking Owen’s heart is only the start of events that Cerberus and Owen might never recover from.

Even though this book focuses on another god, I wouldn’t recommend reading this story without the background of the prior books. It is very different from them, as Cerberus is very different from Leo. Cerberus is a big old softie inside. He would do anything for Owen, or so he thinks. It turns out the one thing Owen needed was for Cerberus to fight for him. The heartbreak when they are separated is palpable. Adrienne Wilder never lets the reader forget about Cerberus’ animal nature, but he also broadcasts Cerberus’ humanity loud and clear. There is no way you won’t fall for this guy. Owen was a little less well-drawn, but then again, his past is very cut and dried. A throwaway and a whore for thirteen years, no family, no prospects and a readiness to end it all. It took a bit of time to warm up to him, but his need for and acceptance of Cerberus won me over. I also adored the three new doxies who took Owen under their care to teach him about his true nature.

The larger arc of the series is also addressed here. There is a new god introduced whose appearance heralds a new cataclysmic event coming that could wreak all sorts of havoc on the world. There is discussion of the fate of Pandora, who was sent away in the last book, and I am so hoping that we get that story very soon. Alton also reveals more of what he is up to in re-engineering the ambrosia plant that is key to survival for both the gods and doxies. I like the intricacies of what is building and am eagerly, waiting to see what comes next.

While not everything that was left hanging in the fourth book is addressed here, it only has me anxiously awaiting the next. I definitely recommend it to anyone who likes to immerse themselves in a different world and who isn’t scared off by sex that otherwise might be bordering on non-con or abuse. It appears that Cerberus’ and Owen’s story completed its arc here, but I do hope to see more of them, especially after the abrupt ending. This is a series that builds on each book, with a complex story underlying the god/doxie love stories and I’m hooked.