I debated writing this review since I had already wasted enough time reading the book. I like paranormal romance when it's done right. The Mating was a case of a paranormal romance done wrong. Very wrong. This book was a freebie for me and I had feeble hopes of mediocrity, but this book was downright terrible. I would strongly advise you not to read this book UNLESS you like the following:
1. An idiotic heroine. Elise, oh Elise. The heroine is an 18 year old who has a noodle for a backbone. She barely resists: an arranged marriage; forced taking of her virginity; manipulation by Marla at every corner; rape; and having her whole life dictated to her like she's a subhuman being with no rights. Worse yet, she doesn't even complain after the events happen. Elise was a perfect combination of stupidity, passivity, and weakness. Also, she may have been part zombie and deaf-mute as she barely talked or emoted. I'm pretty sure the amount of her actual dialogue only added up to 2 pages.
2. Dubious Consent, Non-Consent, & Rape Scenes. There's this trend nowadays in erotica to incorporate uber dominant males and aggressive sex scenes. Nothing wrong with that. However, when aggressive sex trespasses into "non-consent" territory? That's where I have a problem. That's rape, ladies and gentlemen. The sexual encounter in the beginning of the book is in the dubious consent pile and even though Elise didn't want to go along with it, she did. But the sexual encounter towards the end of the book where she blatantly says she doesn't want it? Rape. And Elise (via the author's poor writing) never even addressed that she had been violated. 0_o Great message to send out to women (and men): rape is a-okay IF: the rapist is extremely attractive, the sex is orgasmic, and you were too lazy to at least pretend to fight him off. So "no" in fact means "yes" essentially. This is irresponsible writing, and I'm disgusted that it's becoming more commonplace in romance and erotica novels.
3. Insta-love. I detest it. Elise supposedly is in love with her childhood friend Bryan but does nothing to fight her arranged marriage. Within 2 days, she's already in love with Kane and Bryan is a distant memory. What was the point of bringing Bryan into the story if there was no angsty love triangle? I attribute this to weak character development and amateur writing skills.
4. Anti-feminism. Outside of about 3 female pack members, most don't have a college education or a job. They are used as breeders, shoppers, housewives, maids, etc and tend to do copious amounts of laundry, cooking and showering. Enhancing your intellect or at least having a hobby? Meh, not necessary. Needless to say, my delicate feminist sensibilities were offended.
5. Third person. The entire book? Narrated by dumbo Elise? I hated it. I hated that Elise supposedly had all these detailed and bold thoughts in her head but came across as a 2-d robot when it was time to act. Boo Nicky. Boo.
Gems of Elise's stupidity and ignorance:
"Is being pregnant really difficult?" ARE YOU 12??? She's already had sex with Kane numerous times and is just now asking about the consequences of the birds and the bees? Come on, grow up.
"We talked about it. My heat will start next week and I think I'll go drug free and see what happens, especially since I don't react well to the drugs." Wait... 2 pages before she wanted to hold off on having kids but now wants to go off birth control? And then just "see what happens"? What do you think is going to happen idiot?
I'm going to advise Nicky Charles to take quite a few writing classes. Everyone is not meant to be an author (well, a for-profit author). Also, keep this book priced at FREE DOLLARS in order to gain more feedback and non-hostile reviews. If I had paid for this book - this review would have a lot more expletives. In fact, because I read it within the 7 day frame, I'd be returning it to Amazon. Luckily it was free. Unluckily, the preposterousness of this book will not be forgotten.