Saturday 9 November 2013

Book Review - Becoming Alpha

Becoming Alpha
Author: Aileen Erin
Series: Alpha Girl #1
Genres: Paranormal, Fantasy | Young Adult
Release Date: 17th December 2013
Publishers: Ink Monster LLC
No. Pages: 267
Source: Review Copy - Ink Monster LLC
Buy From: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Waterstones
Tessa McCaide has a unique talent for getting into trouble. Then again, it isn't easy for a girl with visions to ignore what she sees. Luckily Tessa and her family are leaving California and moving halfway across the country, giving her the perfect opportunity to leave her reputation as “Freaky Tessa” behind.

But Tessa doesn't realize that kissing the wrong guy in her new Texas town could land her in far more trouble than she ever imagined. Like being forced to attend St. Ailbe’s Academy, a secret boarding school for werewolves. Even if the wrong guy did accidentally turn her into one of "them" and doom her to attending the weirdest high school ever, Tessa can’t help her growing attraction to the mysterious Dastien Laurent. When vampires attack St. Alibe's and her visions pinpoint an enemy in their midst, Tessa realizes that boy drama and her newfound canine tendencies might just be the least of her problems.

I admit, I had a few problems with this book, one I'd say pretty large, and the others, quite small and personal to me. I requested Becoming Alpha off NetGalley because, while I wouldn't like to admit it in a crowded room, I seem to take to and enjoy paranormal fantasy/romances quite a lot, and my favoruite of the night creatures, happens to be werewolves, so this just seemed like a really good, safe, and logical choice. I don't regret requesting the book whatsoever, however, I did hope for a little more action, a little more from the characters and just a little more in general. Some books just leave me wanting much, much more.

In the first third of the book, I remember feeling both a mixture of amazement and disappointment. I felt there was too much  scene setting involved, and way to much time spent on playing happy mystical families with our, pretty naive leading lady Tessa. I felt the author zoned in on her whiny sense of nature, and those features of her character that were pretty annoying, way to often, however, I was impressed with how well Aileen Erin took the aspect of a boarding school for wolves and really flipped it on its head. I've read a few other boarding still books, and I always appreciate it when an author doesn't forget to highlight the genuine, real life touches of a school into their stories; the odd mention of homework, the gossiping and all out bitchiness of other girls in dorm rooms and I really liked those little quirks.. During the second and third halves however, I did begin to enjoy the story a little more, even though I admit, it was a little too predictable that even I started to imagine plot twists that never materialised. I did find that Tessa's sense of humour helped balance out her naiveness, and I actually began to like her, just a little, near the end.

Quite possibly the biggest thing I enjoyed about this book was the sense of family, both in the pack and Tessa's human/witchy ;family. In a lot of 'I'm finding my true path and destiny' books, you find the main character forgetting about their family and just befriending anyone and everyone, where-as in this book, a sense of family was always there. Our leading lady's family never gave up hope in her, and they continued to support her, even when it seemed they were in danger. The family aspect continued through the pack and I was secretly really happy about it; it enabled Tess to become a stronger character, and a better leader as the story progressed, while giving her a large support network. The largest bug bearer however was how the author appeared to use the excuse of being a wolf and mating for life, as a reason to create an insta-lust/love/obsession kind of thing and I just couldn't take to it entirely, however, I did learn to get a grip and get over it, as when it really came down to it, it was a part of the book and if it was altered or removed, it probably wouldn't have been as enjoyable for me.

Overall, I liked the story. I would have liked to have seen a few more action scenes to compliment the ones that were actually there, which I did actually enjoy reading, and I also would have liked to have seen Tessa embracing her wolfiness, but I appreciate the authors decision not to, having read the synopsis of the second installment. I really did feel by the end of it that Tessa had been on quite a journey and learnt a fair few lessons and I liked that. I will be keeping an eye out for Avoiding Alpha, but if you're not a fan of clingy man-wolves, cat-fights and the whole supernatural/night creature-esk atmosphere, then this really isn't the book for you.

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