Rating: 3 stars
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Length: Novel

 

A bedeviled dagger sings a siren song to Silas Darkstar. Silas mistakenly believes freeing the dagger from its tomb will end his torment. Instead, the insidious power of the dagger begins to seep into Silas. Where Silas was always out to prove that his status as an omega did not define his worth, the dagger entices him to lash out at anyone who dares cross him. Dean, Silas’ lover and alpha-mate, tries his best to understand the increasingly dark and dangerous behavior Silas is showing, but to no effect. Wanting to act before things get out of hand, Dean takes drastic measures that damage–if not outright shatter–his bond with Silas. As a result, Silas flees from Dean and the rest of the Darkstar pack. He returns only long enough to ensure his magic wards remain strong enough to keep the pack safe from the Council, which is still hunting the Darkstar pack.

Dean was just worried about Silas. That worry kicked into high gear when Dean’s own misplaced attempt at resolving Silas’ change in behavior drives Silas away. The way the rest of the pack so easily blame Dean for Silas’s departure also doesn’t help. But when Dean discovers that Silas has violently removed the alpha’s mark that bound Dean and Silas together, Dean is beside himself with grief. Unfortunately, the Council won’t stop hunting his pack just because Dean’s love life falls apart. And winning Silas back won’t happen unless Dean can once again prove that he can and will keep Silas safe and free.

Evilest Omega is the follow up to S. Rodman’s story Evil Omega in the Darkstar Pack series. It’s set in the same universe and picks up not long after the events of the first book. The story is told from third person omniscient. That said, the action is unevenly split between Dean’s side and Silas’ side. To me, it felt like the majority of the narration was centered on Dean’s experience. The narration arrangement didn’t really work for me, though. When the narration centers on Dean, it felt like so very many of his actions and his thoughts contained a flip flop. He would be despairing his broken heart at the beginning of a paragraph, then elated with hope he could work things out in the next. It’s hard to enjoy the angst when it seems to be immediately assuaged by hope. I couldn’t even enjoy the question of whether Silas was acting entirely on his own (was he really getting tired of Dean), was being influenced by his own conscious (he brings danger everywhere he goes), or was being manipulated by whatever was in the dagger (an apparently evil dagger that just wanted to use Silas).

The dagger itself was a bit of a frustrating plot element. It was the first new thing introduced in the book and it wasn’t until the literal climax of the action that I learned about the true nature of the tool. Of course, it was clear the dagger was causing Silas to act out and to do so violently. But there were no clues about where the dagger came from, why Silas was so drawn to it, no clear (or even muddy) hints about the extent of the dagger’s powers…it’s just this dagger that drives devastating actions from the characters and the plot. To me, this dagger was like a deus ex machina in the form of a blade.

There are a lot of fun tropes Rodman plays with here and some were more successful than others. The fated mates trope gets thrown on its head when Silas manages to physically remove his mating mark. This was one of the most enjoyably angsty parts of the story. I liked that it gets drawn out a bit in terms of what Dean physically feels when Silas does the deed. There is also a bit of exposition about what it means for an omega to no longer have that mark–largely that it puts Silas at risk of being taken like so much property and leaving Dean with no real recourse outside of brute strength. This whole theme also leads to one extremely rare and equally brief showing of real emotion from Silas, when he sets aside his ego and attitude to acknowledge that the mark meant more to him than just a symbol of submission.

Rodman also picks up the mpreg trope. This seems a bit silly on many levels, not the least of which is the fact that mothman, Zayne, has apparently laid a literal egg in his wolf-shifter boyfriend’s ass. It adds some levity to the story when Silas jokes about Isaiah being “eggspecting,” but also is a chance for Silas to show off how much he loves young ones. Not only that, but this bonding between Silas, Isaiah, and Zayne also adds a bit of angst when the pack is collectively losing confidence in Dane’s ability to lead as an alpha. More specifically, these three intentionally shut Dean out of their group. I wished this tacit undermining of the wolf pack’s alpha had been more momentous, but the exclusion didn’t really drive Dean to fight to prove himself nor to take drastic measures. He basically seemed sad for the night, then kept chugging along.

Personally, I thought this story lacked finesse. The through lines are okay, but the emotional angst of lovers on the rocks was spoiled for me because Dean seemed to immediately rollercoaster through emotions as fast as he had them. Dean’s big conflict between protecting his pack versus supporting his lover was also not quite as fronted as I thought it was going to be. The concept crops up here and there, but it doesn’t prey on Dean’s mind and, ultimately, lands in interminably middling territory where Dean basically falls bassackwards into getting to have it both ways. The mysterious dagger was another element that was crucial to the story, yet felt under explained as to why it was important to Silas or that it was Silas who interacted with it. Still, if you are a fan of high melodrama or like the idea of fated mates being separated and reuniting, or just like the idea of a mothman/werewolf mpreg side plot, you’ll probably enjoy this book.

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