The Tower in the Woods by Tara Quan is a paranormal romance with an interesting premise. It is a spin on the Rapunzel fairy tale but set in a post zombie apocalyptic world. Nel is posted to the eponymous tower as a sniper but is completely cut off from the rest of WITCH (Women’s Independent Territory Church) apart from weekly visits from Mother Goethel, the prophet.
Nel Zapur picks off zombies before they can reach the border of WITCH territory and she is exceedingly good at her job.
Dane Prince is the man who upsets the Status Quo. Nel spots him in the woods injured and being followed by zombies, she takes the zombies out and eventually decides to allow him into her tower.
This novel is thankfully very short. It’s easy to read, but there was a lot about the novel I didn’t like and a few parts I actively hated. Firstly the character of Dane was portrayed as a bit of a beast. I found the descriptions of his near constant arousal to be irritating, and for him to be barely controlling himself in not raping Nel all the time was hard to read. In addition to this Nel is portrayed as virginal, because of her closeted upbringing, and I got annoyed by the idea that both characters instinctively wanted each other.
Dane is also kinky and into bondage, the scene where he takes her virginity made me feel a little ill. Nothing against bondage, but this wasn’t portrayed as safe or sane, and only borderline consensual. I like reading Alpha Male characters, but they have to be done well, it is hard to balance the dominance with being attractive and I don’t think that Quan was successful here. Likewise, Nel as an inexperienced young woman accepting him without question felt strange to me.
Stylistically the book jumps around, with scenes being repeated from the opposing point of view. This was tiresome, confusing, and pointless. Other elements I didn’t like was the epilogue which jarred horribly with the tone of the novel. I think my main issue was that I found it increasingly difficult to believe in, and relate, to the characters. The backstory, whilst a great idea was let down by poor execution and focus too much on the sex, rather than the development of a satisfying plot.
If you are after a quick read with some bondage flavoured smut then The Tower in the Woods may work for you. However, for me there were too many issues around the plot and characters to engage and enjoy.
BUY YOUR COPY