Seath, Pack Legate of the NorthWest Pack, hears a call on the wind … a call he must answer. It’s a call of grief and heartache, of despair and resignation. It’s the call of a wolf saying farewell, a song meant to summon forth Death. It’s a plea for an end to pain, for a release. It’s a cry that sends Seath racing through the woods, desperate to get to the shifter before Death does and, in a miracle, he succeeds. The Reaper itself is held off by Seath’s determination and, with a smile and a cryptic comment, the entity leaves Seath with an armful of broken hope.
The shifter is an omega, and a beautiful one. He is frail, fragile, and utterly lost. He has no name, calling himself Lycan. He also has no memories, no scent, and no magic — unheard of in a living thing. After both witches and vampires examine Lycan, Seath is told that the young omega has been so bound up in spells that they have no idea how to even begin to undo them. The best they can do is to try to cure the damage that silver and wolfsbane have done, and to let the omega get in touch with his wolf, something he has been denied.
While Lycan is healing, slowly and with the attentive care of the pack omegas, Seath is struggling beneath his own desires. Because Lycan is his mate, his fated one; Seath wants nothing more than to claim him, to mark him, to knot him and call him his own … but Lycan isn’t ready for that. Every choice was taken from the young man, and Seath has no intention of so much as flirting with Lycan until Lycan wants him to, until Lycan can feel their mate bond.
And then there’s Donovan, the prince of Taured, who Seath has been engaged to for years, a human omega whose bonding with Seath has been written in the stars and proclaimed by an astrologer. For a man to have one fated mate is a miracle, to have two is unheard of. Not that Seath has even met Donovan yet, as the kingdom of Taured is a distance away and uninterested in having any relationship with a shifter pack. If it weren’t for Lycan, Seath would have been preparing for the bonding with Donovan as fated mates. But Lycan is here, and Seath can’t deny his feelings for the lost shifter.
This book looks to be the first in a series, as the epilogue starts right up with a new character and unsubtle hints about his own fated mates and, as such, involves the introductions of a lot of side characters, creatures, courts, and conflicts. There are elves, the fae — two separate races, I think? — vampires, witches and their covens, shifters and their … homesteads? Kingdoms? Territories? There are humans and centaurs, planes and portals, and it feels like the kitchen sink.
Shifters come in many forms, from cheetahs and snow owls, to wolves and grizzlies (which implies this takes place on some shade of Earth). However, what shifters do and how they fit into the world is unclear. In one kingdom, they’re not allowed entry; in another, they’re property and pets, and here in the NorthWest Pack area, they’re tax collectors and … guards? Militia? They live in a giant building, but I have no idea if this is a castle, a fort, a shopping mall, or a cabin. There are cell phones and Krav Maga (which means Israel exists), but also other kingdoms, like Prince Donovan’s home of Taured.
I have no feel for the world at all, no sense of what it is or how it works, and no idea of the power structure. Are humans or shifters more powerful? There are vampires, but the only one who shows up is treated both as a guy who wanders in from time to time and a super powerful being who flirts with the queen of the fae. The fae are beings from another plane who have immense power, but they need the witches and the vampire in order to undo a mortal spell? Do the fae also use cell phones? Cars? They mention watching the mortal plane; do they use televisions or crystal balls?
A plot is hinted at that involves the fae in the third act of the book, but because it came in so late and with so little fuss, fanfare, or clear purpose, it felt like I was seeing the threads of an existing story being mentioned in this one, or perhaps that this scene was meant to be brought up in books later down the road because it wasn’t really dealt with in the book I was currently reading. Part of that is because the plot of the book gets lost in the omegaverse world building. Let me explain … In this world of alphas and omegas, omegas are more sensitive to emotions, more reactive, and more interested in healing than harming. They also go through several minor heats roughly once a month, with a larger heat maybe once or twice a year. Often, these minor heats are shared with other omegas rather than alphas as omega-play, where they can explore their sexuality and desires without the overpowering rut of an alpha, and the needs and demands of an alpha consuming them. Sometimes omega-play is little more than holding and cuddling, sometimes it’s two or more omegas having fun times.
I found the idea of the omegas in this world to be interesting, and the idea of the omega group play to be well done. It’s mentioned, through a side character having fertility issues that it’s hard for an omega in his position as, when he’s with his alpha, their need to fuck, to breed becomes overwhelming; that they will continue to fuck because that’s their biology — and they both very much want to be parents — even when they know it’s harmful. So it’s better for this omega to spend time with other omegas during his heats, without the pressure of pleasing and obeying his Alpha, without the pressure to get pregnant, and to instead focus on his own emotional well being while being surrounded with love and support.
It’s interesting and thought out, but the explanation of how this world’s omegas and alphas worked, along with the sex, was the primary focus of this book. By the time the plot showed up and the fae were introduced, the book was well past the halfway point, leaving everything feeling very rushed and with the spare introductions — and so much telling of plot points, as this character or that explained what was going on rather than having it play out — it felt dismissive hand-wavy. So little made sense and, by that time, it felt like both the characters and I were having the same indifferent reaction to yet another character explaining plot points in a tidy paragraph.
Character wise, the book is fine. Lycan never comes across as witless or without personality because of his amnesia. Instead, he’s cheerful, always looking forward. He’s also horny and, when he finally gets to sleep with Seath, he’s happy. I find him to be a bit generic, though, with the obliging good nature and no real reaction to what happened to him in the near past or what’s happening to him in the present, and so I found it hard to connect to him or care about him as a character.
Seath is the big, burly, angry wolf who leads his pack and wants to bond with his mate. Once he realizes Lycan is his fated mate, his thoughts are either about fucking him, or hurting the people who hurt him. There was one moment with Seath that I did like, though. When he sees Lycan in a group of omegas, cuddling, making out, and enjoying themselves, he feels jealous, but he’s quick to tamp that down, knowing that Lycan needs the emotional healing and the bonding of being with his fellow omegas. He knows his jealousy is the wrong reaction to what he’s seeing and handles it well.
However, one idea wasn’t enough for me to enjoy this book. I didn’t care for the characters, the world building was a mess, the plot was too little, too late, and the pacing was far too bumpy. There were also some small copy issues, some awkward phrasings, and a plethora of comma issues scattered through the book. All in all, this didn’t really work for me and I don’t really recommend it.