When this popped up on NetGalley, I hit the request button so hard I might have hurt myself a little. I’ve been a huge, huge fan of the Mercy Thompson series for a while now, and so, after I ran out of those to read, I naturally moved to the Alpha and Omega series. It takes place in the same universe, but follows different characters. How could I not?!
So, thanks to the author, as well as Berkley via NetGalley for the advanced reading copy.
They are the wild and the broken. The werewolves too damaged to live safely among their own kind. For their own good, they have been exiled to the outskirts of Aspen Creek, Montana. Close enough to the Marrok’s pack to have its support; far enough away to not cause any harm.
With their Alpha out of the country, Charles and Anna are on call when an SOS comes in from the fae mate of one such wildling. Heading into the mountainous wilderness, they interrupt the abduction of the wolf–but can’t stop blood from being shed. Now Charles and Anna must use their skills–his as enforcer, hers as peacemaker–to track down the attackers, reopening a painful chapter in the past that springs from the darkest magic of the witchborn…
“Fire is a powerful thing. It cleanses as it destroys- and it brings light to darkness.”
Bran, the Marrok (the leader over all the werewolves in North America this world, for those unaware. He’s sort of the Alpha of all the Alphas) is away in this volume, leaving his son Charles in charge of running his pack. He gets a phone call from one of the wildlings, the unstable wolves who can’t live in a pack so are housed separately from Bran’s pack, saying there’s been some sort of incident, and that he needs to come check it out.
Well, wildlings are known for being aggressive and unstable, so the best thing to do if you’re a very dominant werewolf is to bring an Omega, the sort of werewolf that is so far out of the pack hierarchy that most wolves (and other beings besides) feel an instinct to protect them. They’re great for calming the crazies down, more or less. Good thing that Charles’ mate Anna is an Omega.
So off they go to the wildlings to investigate. Cue shenanigans!
It’s actually pretty arguable at this point that I like Charles and Anna as much as I like Mercy and Adam. It’s about equal at this point. I love, love, love that this series gives us a bit of a behind the scenes look at some of the things that are mentioned more in Mercy’s books, but as things in the background, or from Mercy’s past. For example, some of the root of the conflict between Mercy and Bran’s mate Leah is explained a bit in this one, and we get some insight into Bran’s relationship with Mercy, and things that she, but not everyone, are oblivious to… so that was interesting.
This was one of those books where I just picked it up and then read it all in one go. I didn’t even entertain the thought of putting this book down, because from start to finish, it was entertaining. I find that (mainly because both are largely present throughout the whole stories as they are the titular Alpha and Omega) these books tend to focus a little more on the relationship between Charles and Anna than Mercy’s books typically focus on her relationship with Adam. They’re… romancier, in a way. I really like this though. Charles and Anna’s relationship is freaking adorable at times, and I still find it a little weird to say that about Charles Cornick, who has always been presented as a very powerful but largely stoic character. They just *get* each other. It’s not overly lovey-dovey, in terms of comparing it to what can be found in a lot of other books in the same or similar genres, but it’s often cute, and quite a bit sexy sometimes too. The POV switches between Charles and Anna, for the most part, with a few exceptions, and it’s nice to get to see the story unfold from both perspectives.
It was an interesting look at some of the parts of this world that you don’t typically get to see, because in this case, the wildlings are quite hidden away for good reason. Some of the more damaged wildlings are featured. The dynamics of Bran’s pack were fleshed out a bit more for me. Characters like Asil and Leah played a pretty decent part in this story. Even Anna’s Omega powers and Charles’ witchborn powers were explained in more details here.
The twist, or climax of the plot was well thought out and amazingly well executed. It kept me in the dark until it was good and ready to be revealed, and that doesn’t always happen. When it *did* reveal, and I had guessed at it with varying levels of success, I was… well, I was a lot of different emotions. This book had ups and downs and twists and turns. I got teary-eyed for characters I’d really just met. I got angry, and I smiled.
This might be one of my favorite novels in this universe. I cannot WAIT for more.
Thanks again to Berkley via NetGalley for the ARC!