Title: The Alpha Heir (Kingdom of Askara #2)
Author: Victoria Sue
Release Date: September 4, 2017
Genre(s): Paranormal, Shifter Romance
Page Count: 191 pages
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Man and wolf. Sworn enemies in the battle for Askara. Can hate and betrayal ever lead to love?
Caleb Harken has spent six years wrongfully imprisoned for his father’s treachery. Tortured and reviled by the very wolf pack he should have been leading as Alpha, he is not surprised to learn he’s finally to meet his death at the hands of the human rebel leader, Taegan Callan.
Taegan gave up his dreams of a life-mate and a family after seeing too many humans butchered at the hands of the wolves—even if Caleb doesn’t seem to be the bloodthirsty savage he expects, and even if he starts to long for a different kind of future with the wolf.
Can Caleb become the Alpha he was always meant to be and lead his pack, or will he finally realize that winning his freedom means nothing when he has already lost his heart?
Interesting Twist on An Old Theme
I’ve read both of the books in this series, with this one being the second installment. I actually preferred this one and enjoyed the further world-building. The Planet of the Apes-like twist on the werewolf/human perspective isn’t new to me—I’ve seen it done well a couple of times before—but I found this series (so far) gentler than I would have expected. That’s a strange word choice, I know, but it’s true.
There are some dark aspects to the world that Victoria Sue is building here. There was non-con and dub con (all off page), various forms of abuse, horrific treatment of humans and wolves, slavery, child labor/slavery, murder and mayhem, maiming and torture, and worse. It painted a pretty horrific picture of a culture and society gone wrong in every conceivable way. Even with all that, the tone remained, somehow, quiet and contemplative instead of painful and anxiety-inducing. I’m not sure if that’s a sign of skill, in that the author managed to convey some pretty awful things without it being traumatic, or if I didn’t connect with the story enough to feel it. Aaaand I’m officially up too far in my own head.
It was good, but not earth-shattering. I would read it again to refresh for the next one. The timeline for this story was satisfying. I enjoyed the slow burn and the build-up to the sexual relationship; it made for excellent relationship development even if those same obstacles necessitated that it was somewhat shallow until quite close to the end of the story. The sex was a little tame for me, and at least one scene was fade-to-black; I can forgive it because it almost had to be that way for this story. The roadblocks facing these two were very real, and due in large part to antiquated or downright oppressive laws that remained in place for centuries. Luca and Kit were still making positive changes, including in this book, at the eleventh hour, where addressing yet another injustice allowed Taegan and Caleb to be together as they should be.
So change is coming to Askara, but Luca and Kit can’t be everywhere at once, so, as in real life, it is decidedly slow and scattered. As it should be! I detest sweeping, unrealistic insta-fixes. I was a little concerned at the end of The Alpha King that that’s where these were going. Thankfully, I was wrong. I think Taegan and Caleb will be allies for Luca and Kit in helping things along going forward. I hope that eventually all the threads start coming together to show us a larger tapestry. I look forward to the next book and I recommend this one for anyone who enjoys shifter romance, especially those based in a non-technological, feudalistic, fantasy-style world.
Kingdom of Askara