Title: The Alpha King
Author: Victoria Sue
Narrator: Joel Leslie
Run Time: 8 hours and 16 minutes
Category: Fantasy, Mpreg, Shifters
At a Glance: With such a good novel as material, I was disappointed the narration was not more effective.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: The Kingdom of Askara has been torn apart by conflict for centuries, where humans exist as subservient beings to their werewolf masters. Legend says it will only be able to heal itself when an Alpha King and a pure omega are mated and crowned together, but a pure omega hasn’t been born in over a thousand years.
Luca is an Alpha-heir eagerly awaiting the choosing ceremony on his twenty-fifth birthday and the gifts granted by whichever omega he mates. His small pack is destitute due to the decisions of its ruling council, but being only an Alpha-heir, he has no authority to challenge them. Not until now—this moment he has waited a long time for.
Kit grew up as a street-rat, an unlicensed human who would never be more than a slave for whichever master owns him. Then one day he came across a young Alpha-heir, attacked and dying of poison, and found out their fates were suddenly entwined.
Luca needs to take over his pack and save his people. He cannot afford to be distracted. But when he meets Kit, he develops abilities indicating he is not just a pack Alpha, but the King his world has needed for a thousand years.
Is Kit really the cause of Luca’s newfound power, the true mate he needs? How is it possible when the young man isn’t even a werewolf, and as merely a human, a mating is not only forbidden, but for Kit, a sentence of death? (MPreg)
Review: The Story: Action–packed and romantically tender, Victoria Sue’s book The Alpha King was a standout in the realm of mpreg paranormal novels. If mpreg is not your deal then this is one you will want to refrain from choosing, but I felt the story was quite well done, and even the Omega aspect coupled with fated mates was undeniably well written. So often mpreg Omegas are doormats to be used and too often written as far too feminine for my liking. What the author managed to do with this novel was give Kit a genuine backstory that both explained and justified his need for reassurance and his fears of being cast aside. Given Kit’s lot in life to this point, it was absolutely understandable that he would doubt Luca could ever want him long-term, especially since both men were unaware that Kit was able to bear a child.
Going on the premise that the history of how Alpha kings came into their own, and the role the Omega played in bringing the king into power was hidden in order to save the wolf race from being enslaved by the humans, the author carefully unwraps the ancient texts that will explain both Kit’s ability to bear children and Luca’s incredible powers. In the world Sue creates, it is the reverse that has happened over time, with wolves enslaving humans and treating them as mere chattel to be used. It will be up to Luca as the king to bring all the splintered packs together and restore humankind to its own, allowing for them to have a say in how they live. It is a daunting task, and Luca will need Kit beside him as court intrigue and the threat of assassination looms.
The Narration: There is a definitive syncopation to Joel Leslie’s voice that, at times, worked so well for this story, particularly as he was voicing older characters in the novel. But then that same stutter-stop/start pacing also made it difficult to differentiate the voices of the average middle-aged characters—the main man, Luca, being the most critical. I found it difficult sometimes to understand who was talking, for the narration often flowed directly into the dialogue without a break in pacing, pausing or a change in voicing. As a result, the studied emphasis on certain words or phrases began to all run together, leaving me frustrated when a normal passage seemed just as intense as an action packed sequence. I felt the more feminine and/or younger voices were quite well done, as were the elderly. Mr. Leslie used the range in his tone to convey the change in age quite effectively.
Overall, it was the voicing of Luca and Sam that I struggled with the most. I felt that there was too little variation in the pacing and tone of these voices to really make a marked difference in the listener being able to discern who was speaking. I found myself relieved when the story gave a character’s name to those voices so I could pinpoint who was talking to whom. All too frequently there was little to no break in the speed with which the narrator switched from the prose passages into the dialogue sequences, which left me scrambling to keep up with the idea that someone was actually conversing with another person in the story.
In the end, I found myself growing weary of the forced aspect that seemed to drive the narration, giving it this over-enunciated and over-emphasized air that offered little clarity to the individual voices versus the narration. With such a good novel as material, I was disappointed the narration was not more effective.
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