by Christine Warren
Series: Alphaville #1
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
WELCOME TO ALPHAVILLE, where the she-wolves and alpha-males play. . .for keeps.
Renny Landry is a wolf on the run. Pursued by a shapeshifting stalker and his slobbering pack of killer coyotes, she is forced to flee her job as a librarian to find sanctuary in the wooded hills of Alpha, Washington. A well-secluded safe space for troubled shifters, Alpha is Renny’s last hope. But the first person she meets there is a gorgeous alpha male with fiery eyes, fierce tattoos, and one ferocious appetite—for her…
Mick Fischer thought he left his past behind when he moved to Alpha. But fate has a way of biting him in the tail when a female wolf shows up on his property. Wounded, desperate—and disarmingly hot—Renny brings out the snarling, protective alpha beast in Mick like no other woman he’s known. Can these two haunted, hunted wolves manage to mate for life…even as the deadliest past demons howl at their heels?
Trigger warnings: attempted rape, sexual assault, death of significant other (in past), stalking
Besides the prequel novella to this series, this is the first Christine Warren novel I’ve read. While the prequel gives a little bit of extra backstory, you can read this as a standalone without any problems.
The story started out with the action – Renny’s car running out of gas miles from the town of Alpha, and her leading the pursuing coyotes in a chase in (hopefully) the right direction. The initial scenes got me hooked, with lots of interesting characters, including a grumpy alpha wolf, and lots of humor, but then, unfortunately, it petered out.
“In the space of a week she’d gone from fearing for her life and struggling to survive on the run, to having a home and a mate and now the job she’d been dreaming of since she was a child.”
Overall, this is an average destined mates romance, with the overly possessive and protective male and the female in danger. Renny and Mick’s relationship gave me whiplash. They literally went from Mick being in complete denial about their mating to jumping headfirst into bed together. I never really got a sense of love from them, just lust. I would’ve liked to see more of them falling in love and getting to know each other, rather than just going at it like rabbits. For example, at one point, Renny is worried because she’s falling in love with him and he hasn’t said anything about his feelings. An older woman counsels her that sometimes men show their love through actions instead of words (eye roll). So when the bad guy destroys their bedroom, Mick arranges for it to be fully redecorated (in a day!) using furniture Renny had bought when she thought she’d be sharing an apartment with her friend. Sid note: I’ve refinished furniture before, and it takes much longer than a day for things to be stripped, sanded and repainted. Yes, this is a weird thing to fixate on in a book about werewolves, but it was just such an odd detail to be off on. Back to my point – Renny takes this as a sign that Mick actually cares about her, partly because of much money he must’ve spent (?!). To me, it looked like a grand gesture, but it was also just another example of Mick making decisions for her without her consultation.
“’Whatever I wanted before is gone. I know I did everything I could to pretend you meant nothing to me, but I think I can stop now, because that ship hasn’t just sailed, it’s hit an iceberg and been lost at sea. You are my mate. So, from here on out, we’re going to forget about my idiocy and move forward together. Deal?’
Her lips twitched. ‘Sounds pretty convenient for you, if you ask me. I just pretend you didn’t treat me like a leper for the first eighteen hours of our acquaintance, and you get all the benefits of having a mate without even having to work for it?’
He let himself grin. ‘Sounds good to me.’”
As for other cons, I felt like the characterization was practically nonexistent. They’re both wolf shifters, Renny’s a librarian and Mick writes graphic novels and…. that’s pretty much it. Mick, at least, had a pretty interesting back story, and while it factored into the main story, it felt like it only scratched the surface of the emotional depth possible. I liked the secondary characters (especially Molly and her brother Zeke) and the idea of this town filled with misfit shapeshifters.
It’s fine – it just felt like the same old thing I’ve read before, with no new insights to offer. So if you’re a big fan of shifter insta-love stories, you’ll probably like this, but, for me, it fell flat.