Rating: 4 stars
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At age 18, Luca’s twin brother tried to kill him, leaving Luca dangerously close to death. He only survived because a human boy came to his aid. Now it is Luca’s 25th birthday and time for the choosing ceremony where he will pick his omega mate and come into his role as Alpha. It is important for Luca to mate, not just to gain his Alpha powers, but also because his pack is struggling after going so long without a leader. Sadly, none of the choices of omegas are great, as the few men are likely to be snapped up early and Luca has no interest in women.
While the individual territories have Alphas, the Kingdom of Askara has been without an Alpha King for centuries, and one will only rise when a pure omega is born to be his mate. In the meantime, things have fallen apart in their world as the conflicts rage between the humans and wolves. The wolves have the upper hand and all the power over the humans, who are subservient and work as servants and slaves. The balance will never be restored without a king.
When Luca sees a human being abused, he comes to his aid, even knowing he risks the wrath of the other Alphas. It turns out that Kit is the boy Luca met in the woods all those years ago, now all grown up. And even more, there is an immediate bond between them that calls to Luca. Humans and wolves are not allowed to mate, but it is clear that Luca is gaining great power from his connection to Kit. Not only are the men drawn to one another emotionally, but clearly they are also destined as Alpha and omega. It shocks them all when Kit turns out to be the pure omega, making Luca the Alpha King.
Luca is determined to use his new role to help heal his ravaged land. He wants to create more equality for the humans, and stop many of the abuses taking place. But not everyone is happy to see the mating between an Alpha and a human. And even more are angered about the changes Luca wants to make to the wolves’ position of power over humans. Luca is determined to take his rightful place as king, with Kit at his side. But those who wish to stop him are willing to use any means necessary, and they are finding both their lives are in danger.
One of the things I always look for when starting a new shifter story is the world building. In a genre that has so many tried and true elements, it is always important to me to see that an author has put thought and creativity in the world building, and Victoria Sue does a wonderful job with that here. Her world is almost dystopian, with wolves ruling over humans who live in horrible conditions and are frequently mistreated. Sue nicely explores the politics of the wolf packs, the legends and history surrounding the Alpha King and pure omega, and the interplay between humans and wolves. At times things were a bit overwhelming, I will admit. There are a lot of side characters and a lot happening, and on occasion I felt either a bit lost, or as if things were moving at lightning speed. But I really appreciated how Sue really developed the world building here and gave us something new and really creative.
I particularly enjoyed the dynamic between Kit and Luca. Things fall into place very quickly once Luca realizes Kit is the boy from years before. Their bond is pretty much immediate, as is Luca’s transformation into the Alpha King. Again, things happen fast. It seemed like a matter of moments between Luca being an Alpha-heir on the outs with the leaders, to suddenly being in charge of everyone and making changes. This part is somewhat of a whirlwind, especially as Luca doesn’t always fully understand the situations he is ruling on. I also wished for a little more background on Luca to help explain why he views the world so much differently than the other Alphas and leaders. I mean, yes, he is right that children should not be slaves and people are being treated inhumanly. But given that no one else seems to have found this to be problematic, I wanted to better understand how he turned out differently. That said, Luca is a likable hero and I really liked him with Kit. Kit is smaller and seemingly more fragile, especially as a human, but he is both tough and incredibly caring. I think the story relies a lot on the miscommunication where each man thinks the other doesn’t really want him and this happens enough times that I found it kind of frustrating. But overall, I really liked these guys together. The scenes where Kit is pregnant and Luca is caring for him are very sweet and tender (and yes, major mpreg storyline here).
The Alpha King also has some nice suspense elements as these guys face danger on their way to Luca becoming king. Things get twisty and this part of the plot is well developed. The book has a nice resolution, but at the same time leaves lots of potential for the future books in the series.
So overall I found this story to be enjoyable. I think things happen a little too fast and sometimes things got confusing. And I would have liked to see less “relationship doubt as conflict” here. But I think the world building and creativity make The Alpha King a great start to a new series.