we choose you coverRating: 3.25 stars
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Length: Novella

 

James and Aidan are a mated pair, an alpha and beta who fell in love and are happily spending their lives together. They may not be fated mates, but that doesn’t get in the way of the love they have for each other. James and Aidan are even ready to start a family and are adopting four-year-old twins. Everything seems perfect for the men, until James meets his fated omega.

Riley can’t believe it when he encounters the alpha he immediately recognizes as his mate. He is even more stunned when the man takes off running without a word. Riley saw the ring on the alpha’s finger, and he assumes the man panicked when he saw him given that the alpha is clearly already in a relationship. But that doesn’t make it any easier to be rejected, particularly by his fated mate.

James knows fleeing was a terrible idea, but he just panicked when saw his omega. However, now he has no idea how to even track the man back down again to talk to him. To everyone’s surprise, however, they realize that Riley is the twins’ new teacher. It gives all three men a chance to reconnect and to talk about their situation. Now that fate has given James both a mate and a fated omega, the three men must decide how to make things work among all three of them.

We Choose You is an omegaverse, shifter novella that starts off Katy Manz’s new Choice Versus Fate series. I was really drawn in by the set up here, with James having found his true love in Aidan, and suddenly being confronted by the man fate has chosen for him. I think Manz does a nice job conveying the panic that all three of these men feel at this unexpected situation. James is terrified when he meets Riley, worrying how it will affect things with Aidan. Aidan is, of course, fearful that James will leave him for his fated mate. And poor Riley is just left standing there when James takes off, then must deal with the aftermath alone. So I think the idea here is clever, and while the story pretty much goes in the expected direction, I enjoyed the basic set up.

However, I feel like Manz takes on way too much with this novella and so many things are left underdeveloped or happen unreasonably fast. Every major decision feels made instantly. James and Aidan go to one adoption event and decide that day to adopt the twins. They say they are going to take time to think about the relationship with Riley, give the kids a chance to get acclimated to a potential new parent (especially one who is currently their teacher), and take time to see how they all work as a triad. Then, within hours, they have already decided their future together and sealed the deal. They consider moving and are going to “keep [the] offer in mind” and think about it, but then the next moment, the decision is made. The timeline from considering something to doing it is so often non-existent. It  just feels like a shortcut to get them from one point to another without having to develop it in the story.

There is also a lot of world building that again feels thrown out there but never developed into anything or really explained and I found myself left with so many questions. For example, there is a throwaway line about how witches created shifters, but no follow up or larger explanation of how this world works. We are told that James and Aidan’s parents disowned them because they are an alpha/beta pair, but we get no larger sense of whether this is a common prejudice or recurring problem for them. We also learn that there are pack lands outside of the city, but everyone we meet seems to use those same lands to run. Does that mean they are all in the same pack? In fact, we learn virtually nothing about packs at all here. I didn’t even realize there were packs until most of the way through the book. At one point, we find out that someone has psychic abilities and I literally did the reading equivalent of a double take as this is just dropped in out of nowhere. Nothing led up to this concept at all in the world building, yet suddenly someone can tell that Riley is pregnant and the number and gender of babies about 5 hours after conception. I also don’t feel like I know these characters at all, beyond the basic facts about their jobs. They are all generically nice guys, and James and Aidan are obviously hot for each other. But none of them feel fleshed out or as if they have any real defining traits or personalities.

I think the bottom line is there is too much happening here with way too little time spent developing the ideas. I know when reading a novella that things aren’t going to be as detailed as a longer novel, and that is fine. But that means that there has to be some refinement of what is covered in the story so you can give proper time to what is included. Instead, it feels like too much was added without time to really develop anything enough. Then, with everything else already going on, there is this whole scene at the end where the guys are considering moving to pack lands that seems to have no real reason for even being part of the story given that so many other plot threads already don’t have time to be addressed. I couldn’t figure out why the author included it until I realized that there is a character that has a line or two here that will be the MC of the next book. So this whole scene seems to be dropped in essentially just for sequel bait, but major other themes and plot points are just left undeveloped.

I don’t think this is a bad book by any means, I just think the author tried to fit too much into too few pages. Some trimming down of some of these threads could have allowed for more time to really develop the key ideas. Instead, we get lots of elements that really don’t have time to come together, or events happening at lightning speed so we can move onto something else. It left me feeling like I really didn’t get to know these guys or feel involved in their story. Everything was just surface level without any real depth or development. That said, if you enjoy fated mates, omegaverse, or poly stories, this one may appeal.

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