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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Review: Alpha Instinct

Title: Alpha Instinct
Author: Katie Reus
Page Count: 398 pages
Publisher: Signet
Genre: paranormal romance
Copy for review was purchased by me

Synopsis:
Fear has a scent. So does desire…

Ana Cordona has been a strong leader for the lupine shifters who survived after all the males and most of the females in her pack were mysteriously poisoned. As tough as she is, with no Alpha male, the pack is vulnerable to the devious shifter Taggart, who wants to claim both their ranch and Ana as his own. When Connor Armstrong comes back into her life, promising protection, it’s almost enough to make Ana forget how he walked out on her before—and reluctantly accept his offer to mate.

The minute Connor sees Ana again, it reawakens a raw hunger. He must have her for his bondmate—his wolf cries out for it. But his human side knows he must proceed with caution because of their complicated past. If he is to truly have her body and soul, he must go beyond his burning desire and win back her heart. Whatever it takes, he is determined not to leave her side again.

But Taggart and his rival pack are not their only enemies. A human element in town is targeting shifters. Their plan not only threatens Ana and Connor’s future, but the lives of the entire pack…

I freely admit a couple of things, to start this review off honestly- I read this book back in February, and I had really, really (perhaps unfairly) high expectations going into it.  With that said, I don't feel as if this book completely lived up to my expectations, but I would be open to reading more books in the series to see if some of my issues are resolved in future installments.

I think this book suffered from having too much going on all at the same time. There's the unsolved poisoning that killed many, many members of Ana's pack, the political uneasiness that was caused by the power vacuum left when Ana's father died, the emotional drama caused by Connor reappearing on the scene, Taggart's icky advances, and all of the supporting characters (of which there are legion) having their own issues meant that there were many things going on and not a lot of forward momentum in the plot until the very end.  Not every story has to be single-minded with the only focus being on getting the main characters over the HEA finish line and I love a complex plot as much as the next person but some of the side stories here probably should have ended up on the cutting room floor.

If I had to pick a word to describe the relationship between Ana and Tanner, it would probably be awkward.  Tanner reappears after a fifty year absence, and has loved Ana the whole time, but he has a hard time understanding why Ana is so skittish around him.  I feel like heroines get a bad deal in these types of situations because obviously the guy had Reasons for doing what he did and she should just accept them and be happy, but feelings don't work like that!  There were a lot of circumstances behind their separation and I thought it was unreasonable for Ana to just blindly accept everything at face value.

I'm not completely letting Ana off the hook, though, because she had no trouble accepting lots of other things at face value when a little bit of critical examination would have saved a lot of heartache.  Both her and Tanner are imperfect, which is fine because all people are imperfect, but in life there's no page limit to tell a story, and in a book there is, and the overall forward motion of the story wasn't as consistent as I would have liked.

As a side note, the fact that every single member of Connor's pack is an unmated male looking to settle down was a little Seven Brides for Seven Brothers for me, and not so much in a good way.  This is an issue I have with the genre as a whole and not specifically with this book but I wanted to bring it up anyway.  Seriously, not one of these guys could have found a mate outside of this group they want to move in with? I know it serves the purpose of setting up future installments in the story but still.

With all of this having been said, I do want to point out that the story still kept me reading start to finish and I was happy for the main characters when they finally reached happiness together.  I would definitely be interested in reading another book in this series to see how things progress from here and as a first in a series I do understand that there was a lot that had to be established for the sake of future books.  I'd be interested in seeing the series grow from here.

Overall Grade:
 
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