Alpha (Shifters #6) by Rachel Vincent

Released: October 1, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 472
Publisher: Mira
ISBN-13: 978-0-7783-2818-6

I just want to talk about my thoughts on Alpha so I’m going to borrow the blurb from Rachel Vincent‘s website:

YOU’VE GOT TO HAVE FAYTHE…

The unscrupulous new Council chair has charged Jace, Marc, and me with trespassing, kidnapping, murder, and treason. Yeah, we’ve been busy. But now it’s time to take justice into our own hands. We must avenge my brother’s death and carve out the rot at the heart of the Council.

It’s not going to be easy, and loss seems unavoidable, but I have promised to protect my Pride, no matter what. With a target on my back and Marc at my side, I’m heading for a final showdown that can—that will—change everything forever.

I’m going to try to keep spoilers to a minimum but I don’t know how to talk about my reaction to Alpha without discussing some key plot points so, I guess from here on out, THERE BE SPOILERS.

Wow. That’s really all I have to say about this book. Knowing this is the last book in the Shifter series, I went into Alpha expecting fantastic action, lots of character growth, and a heap of heartache and, boy, did she deliver all this and more. There was so much in this book that I’m almost at a loss about where to start talking about it.

Faythe. She has changed so much from the girl we meet in Stray. In Alpha, we get to see her complete her transition from sort of selfish kid to a much more aware and hardened leader. Over the course of the series, she’s gotten some scars, both physical and mental, and it’s great to see how these experiences have shaped Faythe and the way she deals with all of the adversity presented in the novel. She’s got a much better sense of strategy and has developed her leadership skills, though  her temper and impulsiveness are still there. On her blog, Rachel Vincent always says how much she enjoys torturing her characters and I think it makes her stories so much stronger because you know that there’s going to be a cost for things and that there’s the potential for her characters to experience true loss, in addition to true happiness.

This also means that the potential for failure is high and, while my heart just broke many times over the course of Alpha, it made the Pride’s struggle more tangible. Spoiler alert! When Faythe’s dad died — which I knew was going to happen if Faythe was going to become Alpha, as the book title suggests — I cried. (And then was worried my boyfriend would see me crying while reading and wonder what was going on, which helped get rid of the tears.) Watching the Saunders family grieve was awful and real and added some major weight to the entire book. The stakes were so high throughout the novel and assuming that the author would be killing off one of my favourite characters made the storyline very powerful. End of this particular spoiler.

The love triangle. I’ve always been torn about who I wanted Faythe to end up with. In the start, it was Marc and then it was Jace because he grew up and stepped up and then it was Marc then back to Jace…They’re both such wonderful men and offer such different things to Faythe that I wasn’t sure what would happen. Heck, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to happen! I do like the resolution of this plot thread and I think that it was written in a very convincing way. I’m sure there are people out there who will disagree with me; I’m just glad that Faythe finally made her choice.

Alpha is a wonderful end to a series I’ve thoroughly enjoyed over the years. I’ll be reading Rachel Vincent’s Soul Screamers series (YA) to tide me over until her new adult series hits the market….I can’t wait!

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