Preparing for the deployment of his combined human and shifter platoon, Lieutenant Lucas Young finds himself with the Marine’s one True Alpha under his command. Sargent Noah Hammond has spent his time as a Marine garnering the respect and admiration of not only those of lower rank, but the officers that outrank him, as well. Now under Lucas’ command, Noah challenges Lucas’ authority every chance he gets, but Lucas, certain that his rank should be more than enough to control the wolf, pushes back against Noah’s challenges, asserting his own dominance. As time passes, Noah notices Lucas’ selfless leadership. Test after test proves Lucas worthy when Noah willingly submits to Lucas’ authority. As Noah and Lucas grow closer, the strange bond between them strengthens and Lucas’ feelings for Noah grow more intense.
While on deployment in Afghanistan, the platoon finds itself in the heart of a warzone. In the midst of wartime and battles, the bond between Lucas and Noah continues to grow stronger and more powerful, proving to be a true asset to the Marine Corps and mirroring ancient warrior pairings of Dominant and True Alphas throughout history thought to be only myth until now. Feelings between Lucas and Noah remain unspoken, even as a very intimate relationship ensues. When one of the pair is injured in battle, they must learn to trust in a bond that remains incomplete due to misunderstandings and military restrictions in order to survive.
Wow! I have been anticipating the release of this book for months, but I still had no idea it would be as great as it was. Kendall McKenna has taken a common genre and given it a new and refreshing spin. The world building, the characterization, and the story all come together to take readers on a journey full of excitement, fear, sadness, wonder, confusion, and love. And make no mistake, I felt each of those emotions with startling clarity. It’s an amazing, action packed, heart-pounding story.
The world building within this book is completely captivating. From the very beginning, I was engrossed in this military-based human and shifter world. The pack structure within the military – from the highest ranking wolf (True Alpha), to the lowest, including all branches of the military – is so creative and feels realistic. In this world, werewolves are common knowledge and, when in the military, used as a sort of secret weapon. The military knowledge that this author has brings obvious life experience to paper. The mating aspect of the shifter world is given a bit of a twist with the addition of a human Dominant. It’s so very imaginative and inspired. Seriously, there is nothing this author didn’t think of when bringing this world to life. Nothing is left to the imagination. From the pack and military structure, to wartime living, to wartime battles, to the Dominant/True Alpha bond, McKenna presents a world that’s realistic and fantastical at the same time.
I am completely in love with Lucas and Noah. They are both strong, powerful men in their own right, but as a pair they are near unstoppable. Lucas is walking blind in the beginning when learning to lead and dominate Noah. The phrase “fake it till you make it” comes to mind. He shows no weakness, never backs down, and puts each of his men ahead of himself. The POV is in the third person of Lucas, so we really see Noah through his eyes, but what I see I adore. Noah is a natural leader, willing to follow and trust a man of quality and integrity. He carries a lot of frustration throughout this story but remains patient and understanding. He always trusts and follows his Dominant. The trust built between each man is a process but eventually sustains their bond. The passion that they share, they could set a room on fire. I was surprised they didn’t at times. The confusion that the bond creates adds another layer to Lucas’ story. They complement and support each other so well. It is not the normal mating relationship, and that makes it that much more amazing.
The writing is strong and flows so smoothly. The story is paced perfectly and completely enthralling. Once I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down. And I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of military drama, but McKenna made this story about more than battles and military procedure. The characters, the development of the bond, and the role that the bond created are what drew me in. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of military procedure and drama, but I didn’t mind it so much due to the spectacular writing. I’ve read some of this author’s previous worksm and I can honestly say I don’t mind the military aspect of her stories. Maybe it’s her actual knowledge and experience that makes each story so realistic and captivating, I don’t know, but I plan on continuing to read what she writes.
Lastly, may I direct your attention to this beautiful cover? Rookie cover artist Jared Rackler has created a masterpiece, as far as I’m concerned. It combines the paranormal with the military and the emotion that Lucas displays throughout the story. You can most definitely judge this book by its wonderful cover.
As I’m sure I’ve made apparent, I am seriously in awe of this world, of this story. I didn’t want it to end, although it did end so well. I’m already waiting on pins and needles for the next book in McKenna’s Tameness of the Pack series. With the fantastic cast of secondary characters, the possibilities for this series are endless. I highly, highly recommend Strength of the Pack to anyone and everyone. It’s a great escape into a fabulous world of strength, trust, and love.