Alpha *major spoilers!*

It’s been a very bittersweet week for me. I’ve been waiting for what feels like forever for the release of Alpha by Rachel Vincent, the last of the Shifters series. I have absolutely LOVED the books in this series… I would go so far as to say it’s probably my very favorite series, ever. I recommend it to everyone I know who reads. Although, 90% of them hear the words “shifters” and “werecats” and roll their eyes and say, “thanks, but no thanks!” (They have no idea what they’re missing, by the way.)

So, Tuesday morning, I bought Alpha. I was so excited to finally have it on my ereader. I was seriously doing happy dances in my desk chair. And, although I promised myself I was going to read it slowly, loving every word, because I knew it was the end… that was much easier said than done, of course.

Yesterday afternoon, I finished Alpha. And I’ve been dying to talk about it… REALLY talk about it. It’s so hard when all you can do is leave cryptic, spoiler-free messages on Twitter and Facebook. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read yet, but I want/NEED to realllly talk about Alpha! So, this is my spoiler warning. The rest of this post is going to be chock full of spoilers. If you don’t want to know who Faythe chooses or who lives and dies in Alpha, then please do NOT read the rest of this post!

If you have already read Alpha (or have no plans to), then click “More” and keep reading…

First of all, I’m absolutely heartbroken that the series is over. I can understand why Rachel wanted to end the series while it was still going strong, while the story was still compelling and readers still loved it. I’d rather see that happen than have the series drag on endlessly and get bored with it. But, still, I’m heartbroken. I’m really going to miss Faythe and the other characters… and I do think there was still LOTS of room for compelling story lines in that world.

Faythe JUST became Alpha, and I don’t feel like we really saw the Alpha in her reach its full potential in this book. Even after she became Alpha, she spent sooo much time questioning herself and trying to come to terms with the fact that SHE was in charge, that the other shifters were counting on her. But I’m not sure she actually got to the point where she accepted that and was comfortable in that role. I didn’t really see Faythe as a confident Alpha at the end of this book. She still had so much room to grow, and honestly, I would’ve liked going on that journey with her!

And Jace. Oh, poor Jace. I guess I should say that I’ve been on Team Jace since the very first “Jace-flirting-with-Faythe” scene in Stray. And it’s not because I didn’t like Marc… but I felt like we were there from the beginning of Faythe/Jace, whereas we came in in the middle of the Faythe/Marc story. Marc’s love for Faythe is something that we were TOLD about from the first book… but we didn’t actually see much of it develop; it just WAS. In fact, Marc just WAS. Marc has always been Marc. I don’t feel like he changed much from the first book to the last. But, Jace… that’s a totally different story. Jace in Stray is a much different character than Jace in Alpha, and I loved the fact that we saw the changes in him, first-hand, throughout each of the six books.

There’s so much talk about this series and the fact that Faythe changes and matures so much from book to book. But, what about Jace?? I feel like he does the exact same thing, WITH Faythe. We see each of them grow and mature… and we also see their relationship grow and mature. And, because of that, I can’t help but be on Team Jace! I fell in love with him as Faythe fell in love with him. And I absolutely wanted to see Faythe choose him… even though I knew that she wouldn’t.

I knew all along that Marc would “win,” and I get that that’s how it had to be. I’m not sure that Rachel could’ve convinced anyone that Faythe could live without Marc. (Even if we did accept their love and devotion on blind faith!) So, on one hand, I’m satisfied that Faythe chose Marc. But, on the other hand, I’m shocked and kind of upset about it. Because, let’s face it, the Faythe/Jace chemistry in these last few books has been AMAZING and on fire. And Marc was portrayed as a complete jackass all the way through Alpha. Even though he had reason to be that way, it still didn’t work for me, given the way Marc treated Faythe and the way Jace treated her throughout the book, that she chose Marc. I’m not sure how realistic that was.

I guess what it boils down to is that the portrayal of Jace’s love for Faythe was more believable for me. He acted like he adored Faythe. He understood her when Marc didn’t, and he embraced her for HER, no matter what. Marc, on the other hand, was angry and hateful. And even if it was justified, I’m not sure that, in real life, Faythe would’ve chosen Marc when she had Jace treating her like a queen and loving her unconditionally.

But, all in all, I’m not unhappy that Faythe ultimately chose Marc. What does bother me is that the last bit of the book, when this uber-tough decision was made, is sooooo rushed. I’ve just spent six books, agonizing over every word, every action between these characters… wondering how it’s going to turn out, and who Faythe is going to choose… and why. And I wanted a lot more time to say goodbye to Faythe/Jace… to accept and understand her choice. After dragging it out and agonizing over this decision, when Faythe finally does make her choice, it’s very abrupt. And Jace just accepts it, like that… and walks away to being his new life with another Pride? And Marc just accepts it and is suddenly grinning from ear-to-ear and no longer upset with Faythe, just because she chose him?? I feel like we missed a whole lot in between, and I was left on the last page thinking, “THAT’S IT??? Did Jace really just walk away?? Did Marc really just accept her proposal? And they lived happily ever after?? REALLY??”

And, the Faythe/Jace/Marc love triangle certainly wasn’t the only part of this series. Yet, the other story lines were wrapped up even more abruptly, if that’s possible. We got a paragraph, maybe two, about the REST of the characters and how things ended up for them… and that was really, really unsatisfying for me! I’m not sure how I imagined the series ending, but it wasn’t like that. And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed… not just because it was the end but because of HOW it ended, with so much still left unsaid and unexplored.

What did I LOVE about Alpha?? The emotion. I’ve never read a book that I reacted to so strongly… physically reacted to. I tweeted while I was reading and said, “I’m on p. 28 of Alpha and I’ve already cried… twice.” And that’s the honest truth. And I cried a lot more before I got to the last page!! I knew that Greg Sanders would die in this book, otherwise Faythe wouldn’t have become Alpha. But I couldn’t have prepared myself for how emotional his death would be. Faythe talking to him in the moments before he died, Karen’s reaction to his death… O.M.G. It was just so unbelievably sad and intense, and I felt like I was there sharing their grief with them. I was crying while they were crying… and hoping that my husband wouldn’t catch me crying while I was reading a book (because he already thinks I’m insane enough without that!).

And the tension between Faythe/Jace/Marc was also exquisite!! Loved every bit of that. I would (and probably will!) read Alpha again, just for those scenes… Jace and Faythe caught kissing in the hallway, Marc “marking” Faythe in the shed… Hello. YUMMMMMY. There’s no other word for it!

So, all in all, I did love Alpha. I know my “review” here might sound rather critical… but I think that’s just because it was the last book of the series, and I wanted to see so much more!! It’s a testament to Rachel Vincent and what a wonderful job she did creating this world/these characters that makes her readers so sad to see it end.

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4 Responses to Alpha *major spoilers!*

  1. Tizroc says:

    I couldn’t disagree with you more. First we have Marc who has stood beside her time and time again. You say “he acted like and ass, even if he had reason.” seriously, how often does your husband get to say you didn’t act out and be emotional.. when you had good reason?

    As for Faythe, she deserved neither of these guys. She is one of the worst written characters in a series. While in each book she makes sense, once you take the whole series into account it is frustrating beyond belief. Each book she talks about how much she has grown, how she can never go back to the way she was and the mistakes she made… but the very next book? She does it again. It was endlessly frustrating.

    You also missed the mark on Marc’s love too. It did grow, while he was pissy (as you said with very good reason) he was tolerant. I find it laughable as a guy to see the strutting “alpha’s” supposedly “share” like we saw Marc and Jace agree to in the last book. Seriously, massive FAIL!

    Then we move on to Jace… Is he in love, or is he just in it for the chase? He also would have been a bad choice because he is always out for what he wants. He is acting out towards Marc because of what he wants. Marc on the other hand gives his reasons up front to Faythe in the last book and he was looking down the road and to their effects on the pride as a whole.

    I always find it typical to see women all say (while reading) “Oh but Jace’s relationship is soooo hot..” Do’h! Great reasoning! Don’t bother to take into account the relationship she has to have with the pride, what is best for them as well as for her long term. Can thing work out long term when she is falling in and out of love like all relationships? Sure, you always love them.. but we are talking about IN and OUT of love, can Jace be happy in a relationship once he “caught” his target? Is it the chase? He certainly fits the profile or a chaser.

    I know, I know.. but you need passion in a relationship. Agreed, but you need more than that, and it seems that almost every women who reviewed this series seems to have forgotten that. Sure it would be hot for a little while, but it wouldn’t have lasted. It certainly wasn’t what was best for the pride. I wish Marc could have found someone great and ran off with her, he stayed true (except the unbelievable share crap of the last book). If Marc had acted like she did, she would have bolted.. cause she is a two faced crap head who really hasn’t grown up one bit. Except in the confines of the ONE issue she is living through. As soon as it is over, she will race right back into the same mistakes… get hijacked (again, and again… )… promise NOT to every do something stupid like that again, only to do it EXACTLY the same way again.

    How many times did her actions lead everyone to far more issues? How many times did she “learn her lesson” on rash actions, only to do it in the next book? Sure they books would have been shorter, and they needed to create tension to keep the book length and story interesting. I know, but seriously… don’t have her learn her damn lesson and promise never to make that stupid mistake again only to do it again at the beginning of the next book.

    At least this book had some deviation from that formula… but far to late to save the series. Even though book to book it was pretty well done. Just not strung together.

  2. Michele Lee says:

    Yeah, I’m with you, actually both of you on some points, and I badly need to get it out, because everyone else seems to just be blindly adoring Alpha.

    I HATED Marc in this book. Utterly. I don’t get how him having sex with Faythe for the sole purpose of humiliating her and punishing her isn’t rape. His need to possess and control her was incredibly abusive (Seriously, it reads like a check list of all the abusive relationships I’ve known about) and it undermined the over all plot. I mean, here they are fighting ultimately for a woman’s right to chose her own role in life, not being under a man’s thumb, and Faythe is picking a guy who wants nothing but to own/possess/control her to the point where he wants to hurt other people and her if she so much as looks at other men?

    And in the end I thought the bad guys go flat. How did you tell who was evil? They wanted to rape Faythe. Dean’s threats got really old. The tension and injustice of Faythe being forced to be a breeder got real old with this whole series, but it overwhelmed this book. I really wanted some other reason to dislike the bad guys, but even Greg’s death comes down to people trying to get Faythe’s defenders out of the way so they can rape her.

    I am so very unhappy with this book, and it’s made me unhappy with the whole series. And that really makes me sad because I adored it.

  3. Kellie says:

    I agree with some points, but I definately was team Marc – Jace just seemed conveinient and different for her – Although you think Marc was conveyed as Manipulative or controlling – i think you missed the passion that they had throughout all the books and how deep he truly cared for her. To me Jace was just there – it didnt seem believable that she could love him, it just came across as another of her rebellions – to try something else out before she setled down. Although Marc was sh*** in this last book (with very good reason) you could feel throughout all the books that he loved her no matter what – you could feel his pain and his confliction and deep passion over his one true love who he belives is his soul mate! Jace to me just didnt have the same effect – he just seemed like he wanted something he could never truly have just cos he wanted it, Marc just had much more emotion for me than Jace did. I agree though i would love 1 more book to see how she copes and changes things and settles ito life as an Alpha – there could be another great story with the way it was left.

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