Fang is supposed to be heir to his father’s pack. He is supposed to be the strong alpha, second only to his father. And yet he has never developed the ability to shift. As a result, he is outcast and left adrift from his pack and the only home he has ever known. Fang’s father wanted him killed, but he is spared by the pack’s enforcer, Shane. Broken, Fang vanishes into the world, never thinking to return.
Shane is a good alpha, but his pack is in tatters. Thanks to a violent coven of vampires, Shane is struggling to protect them and to keep himself strong. Then Fang returns suddenly and Shane feels complete. He knew Fang was supposed to be his mate years before, but he never thought to see him again. Together they must outwit the increasingly deranged vampires and find a way to rebuild the pack they love.
I enjoy a fun shifter novel so I was looking forward to Prodigal Alpha. It certainly started out strong, but unfortunately the book fell prey to a rushed romance, an anticlimactic conflict resolution, and a lacking sense of self. Fang and Shane aren’t fully developed, but we do get a sense of their personalities and need for the cohesiveness of a united pack. Shane doesn’t read as a particularly cruel man, so his decision to continue following Fang’s brutal father never makes much sense. Additionally, we’re told that Fang’s inability to shift is a huge issue — to the extent that his father is willing to see him killed rather than let him remain with the pack. But when Fang returns home, he explains that he basically figured out how to shift in the army. And that’s it. We’re never given any further explanation or detail about that something that rests at the core of the entire plot.
The pacing during the first third of Prodigal Alpha is excellent. There is enough action and tension to keep readers riveted and the plot, while not overly original, is set up well. But upon Fang’s return to the pack, everything sort of disintegrates. He and Shane hit the insta-love speed bus and end up bonded within about a chapter of reconnecting. It barely feels like affection, much less a romance. The confrontation with the vampires becomes a rushed, somewhat sloppy affair and never really gives us the satisfaction we were promised in the first part of the book.
Prodigal Alpha started strong but struggled to define itself. It lacked the spine of originality and fell victim to the worst of the shifter and paranormal tropes while failing to give readers a couple with whom they could connect. If you love paranormal romances, you might enjoy Prodigal Alpha, but for everyone else I’d recommend giving this one a pass.