Book Review: Weavers Circle Series by Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott

This post includes reviews of the books in the Weavers Circle series:

Broken Warrior (#1) | Wild Warrior (#2) | Blind Warrior (#3) | Tangled Warriors (#4) | Storm Warrior (#5)

Broken Warrior (Weavers Circle #1) | book cover of Broken Warrior (Weavers Circle #1) by Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott

This series contains many urban fantasy concepts that I love, and the authors are two I have read and enjoyed before. It was only a matter of time before I launched myself into this series, and after reading the first installment, I know that I’ll be here for the long haul.

Drake and Elliott may lean into some common urban fantasy and romance genre tropes, but the spin they put on them makes for a unique story arc. This could have been a mess of characters as the first book; however, we meet only the first three Weavers and one soulmate, which allows the reader to learn about the full scope of this world at the same pace as the characters. I especially appreciate that instant friendship doesn’t bind the Weavers together because innate trust cannot always make up for inherent personality differences. Clay and Dane experience an immediate physical connection in the same vein, but the soulmate aspect doesn’t translate to “insta-love,” especially in light of Dane’s painful past.

The overreaching external plot also contains interesting twists. The goddesses are not rooted in any known religion (even a “dead” one), and the invading forces are not wholly supernatural. Though some of the bad guys might be referred to as “witches,” I look forward to learning whether the invasion is based on more magic or whether, in this case, magic cannot be distinguished from advanced technology. On the downside, the enemy is presented as default evil in these first encounters (and as suggested by the goddesses). I’m interested in whether this changes in the future, as the Weavers learn more about the pestilents. One complaint I don’t have is how Clay, Baer, and Grey have faced their enemy so far, using a mixture of magic and contemporary guerilla warfare tactics. The men use every weapon at their disposal rather than forgetting mundane options just because they now have magical abilities.

One of my few actual complaints about this novel is that I occasionally found it difficult to differentiate between Clay and Dane’s narrative voices in their respective point-of-view scenes. A personal issue I have that I am not counting against the authors is that every Weaver in the series (based on the back-cover copy I’ve already read) will be male. I’m inclined to forgive that for this round of their reincarnation because this is an MM romance series, but I hope that we find out that this wasn’t always the case if we learn about the Weavers’ past lives.

Overall, I look forward to meeting more new characters and diving into this epic conflict in this excellent blend of romance and fantasy elements.

Rating: 4 (out of 5) stars
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Wild Warrior (Weavers Circle #2)

Most fantasy books that lean on elemental-based abilities as part of their magic system usually stop with the usual four. This book also includes animals and humans (soul) to create the weaver brotherhood of six, and Baer is precisely the type of character I’d imagine with the ability to shapeshift and “hear” animals (even aside from the on-point name). He’s a bit of a himbo, but his heart is in the right place, especially when he insists on taking Wiley back to the plantation after they face unexpected danger together.

It’s obvious early on that the other weavers know something that Baer doesn’t because subtlety is none of their strong suits. They also need to get much better at working as a cohesive unit when they face the pestilents on the streets of Savannah. Especially since the pestilents have upped their game to coincide with the introduction of another weaver to the family.

I enjoyed the adorable burgeoning relationship between Baer and Wiley, which had a sweet opposites-attract vibe (thematically enforced by their pets). Unfortunately, one of the main “reveals” of this book was telegraphed a bit heavily from the beginning. Once the full story became clear, it was less of a let-down and more of a “finally everyone is caught up” moment. In addition, new powers achieved by the weavers and co. had convenient timing that lessened some of the tension.

This book ends on a soft bit of cliffhanger that leads directly into the next book. I do look forward to seeing what comes next.

Rating: 4 (out of 5) stars
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Blind Warrior (Weavers Circle #3)

Though I still enjoyed the book overall as the further adventures of the characters and events set up in the previous installments of this series, I think the authors wrote themselves into a bit of a corner with this particular main character. Once they set up the fact Gray could see the soul mate bond, they had to figure out how to take that power away from him to give finding his soul mate any sense of surprise. I try not to penalize authors for how they tell a story when I might have told it differently. Unfortunately, I had a lot more trouble getting into this one even when, at the same time, I continue to love the characters and concepts at play.

So, of course, the fact that Gray and Cort are soul mates isn’t exactly a surprise from the beginning. Some angst does come into play over whether they are or not, but it feels almost pandered even as it definitely tugged at my heartstrings. I was also a little shocked by how easily they revealed so many secrets to Cort at the very beginning, but I do understand that time was of the essence and some battles have to be chosen. Unfortunately, so many little things added up to feel like the initial relationship between Gray and Cort is based more on a trauma bond than the potential for a lasting romance.

I certainly don’t have all negative things to say, though! A significant plot point in this book I loved was that our heroes finally get to have an adult conversation with a representative of the pestilents they are keeping from over-running our world. It’s a rational conversation even, and despite how much I know it will all end horribly, I appreciate that the Big Bad of this series now has a face. He also reveals some interesting backstory for the Weavers that affects the bonds of brotherhood they are building now, another twist I didn’t see coming.

Overall, this book suffers from some typical “middle book” issues, but readers who are already invested in this series shouldn’t give up here. I didn’t love it, but I had no problems reading through it, and I’m still more than interested in finishing this intriguing series.

Rating: 3 (out of 5) stars
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Tangled Warriors (Weavers Circle #4)

This book acts a bit like the dark moment for the full series, though it isn’t as angst-ridden as that implies. Half the overarching conflict of this series has been to get the full group of weavers together, which is necessary to make any sort of solid strike against the invading pestilents. That doesn’t mean the battles haven’t increased in intensity for the weavers we already know, who open the book with a very public battle and end up spilling their secrets to so many others before the story ends.

Of course, the other overarching arc is about the weavers finding a secret weapon against the pestilents they did not have in previous fights: their soul mates. Lucien and Calder have a fascinating dynamic even before we meet Gio, though it’s as obvious to the reader as it is to the other weavers that the tension is all misplaced lust. Gio happens to be the missing piece that allows all three of them to fit together.

I loved that Gio was 100 percent down with helping out the weavers any way he could because of his burgeoning affection for Lucien and Calder—but also that he immediately hesitated when he learned that the best way he could help was to tie himself to them permanently. Although soul mates are an integral part of the relationships in this series, Drake and Elliott don’t hesitate to remind us that it does not translate into an instant happily ever after.

The external plot of this specific story involves finding the final weaver. Even though I haven’t found this series addictive, I’m invested enough in the full story to look forward to finding out how everything ends. The authors haven’t backed themselves into a corner with their storytelling, but they’ve consistently remained on point with the limits and opportunities afforded to them with this fascinating world they’ve built.

Rating: 4 (out of 5) stars
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Storm Warrior (Weavers Circle #5)

The conclusion to this paranormal romance series was as epic as I could have wanted. It leans into some elements that have been hallmarks of this series while also throwing in some excellent surprises along the way. With the arrival of the final Weaver at the end of the previous book, the authors don’t waste any time launching us into the action right at the beginning of this one. The first scene literally opens with bullets flying. However, they also don’t waste any time making Hale wait for his soulmate. Of course, half the fun of these books has been the characters discovering this connection that the readers already expect.

Harrison’s introduction to the Weavers Circle also blows open the world-building Drake and Elliott have built into this series so far. At first, I went back and forth about whether some knowledge should have been offered earlier in the series, but by the end of the book, I understood and agreed with the direction they took with the greater scope of the plot.

The clock starts ticking toward the final battle when Hale gets his powers. The Weavers exist for one purpose, after all, and Hale faces a steep learning curve for adapting to his new abilities while on a road trip toward the place where our world is being invaded by interdimensional aliens (a twist to the paranormal aspect of this series that I continue to adore). He’s the only Weaver without a soulmate, which is supposed to be the secret weapon they have this time around, so, understandably, he is worried about finding his in time to help.

Road trips are the perfect opportunity for one of my favorite romance tropes, and the authors provide the “only one bed” issue you know is coming. Hale and Harrison are very much an “opposites attract” dynamic, even before the attraction kicks in. Gray has promised that he wouldn’t keep soul mate matches secret anymore, so while I ended up predicting how the reveal would go down this time, I was amused and satisfied by it even while I sympathized with Gray’s frustration.

Even after they get together, the dynamic between Hale and Harrison feels a bit more like a trauma bond than genuine love, despite the soul mate element. However, the way the characters are developed ensures that their priority is on saving the world. Anything they get to explore after the fact will be a bonus. Luckily, this epic urban fantasy adventure is also a romance, so the happily ever after is ensured. I know readers who have read the full series will appreciate the dramatic conclusion to everything the Weavers have fought for until this point.

Rating: 4 (out of 5) stars
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Published by J.L. Gribble

Author, Editor, Worldbuilder

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