Author: C. M. Torrens
Publisher: DSP Publications
Length: 270 Pages
Category: Fantasy, Paranormal
At a Glance: Easy shifter read, but not your standard Paranormal Romance.
Reviewed By: Ben
Blurb: After years of abuse in his old shifter pack, Dante found a new life with Alpha Victor. He would do anything for Victor. Anything but stay away from Jesse, the half-blood stray. But when Victor names Dante his heir, he has no choice but to accept the duties given to him even if it means relinquishing the possibility of love. He owes his life and sanity to Victor, and that’s a debt Dante can never fully repay.
But Dante should have known the good life couldn’t last. His former alpha, Caster, is not a male who lets anything of value slip through his grasp. When rumors fly of Caster’s return, Dante knows the man will stop at nothing to possess him and his talent once again. When Jesse is kidnapped and Victor falls victim to an untimely death, his worst fears are realized. His old alpha has finally returned to reclaim him. Dante must use his fears and nightmares to save Jesse and his pack, even if it means sacrificing himself.
Review: All in all, this was a simple, easy-going shifter read. Even though there were a lot of similarities between this work and other shifter works, how it deviated from the norm was it didn’t have the usual strong romantic or sexual components shifter books have, though the genre as a whole is changing. The parts that really worked for me centered around exploring the world with Dante’s character.
Dante was relatable and fairly mellow. I didn’t find him particularly compelling, but he was complex and he did have a ton of agency. He’s the one with the dark past, he’s the outsider, but he was also ultimately the solution to his pack’s salvation and the betterment of the entire shifter community. I’m not sure the blurb represents Dante’s internal struggle as I saw it, but I suppose it’s close enough and I did enjoy his viewpoint.
There were other viewpoints in the novel, but I couldn’t latch onto them as much as I did with Dante’s. We even got to dip into Castor’s head, the main antagonist. Victor, the alpha of Dante’s pack, was interesting, but he seemed to be more of a plot device than anything, which was disappointing because I liked him and wanted to know what he saw in Dante that I wasn’t seeing. His faith in Dante seemed—to me—horrendously misplaced and dangerous for his pack. But it was also a fascinating piece of information about our protagonist’s worth from a character who wasn’t Dante. Otherwise, Dante has pretty low self-esteem for a shifter, who as a race seem to be fairly happy with who they are as people.
One of the aspects that attracted both Castor and Victor to Dante was his talent. Apparently, a small portion of alpha males have talents that can benefit the pack, and they vary wildly. They weren’t explained in super detail, and sometimes they seemed more like another plot device than anything; however, Dante’s talent could explain why both Victor and Castor took such great risks to keep him around, and Victor’s not one for being reckless. Even though the process of Dante’s talent was murky at best, it was clear that what he was capable of was very important to the pack and their society. Dante, however, doesn’t see his talent as a good thing, which explains why he doesn’t use it as much as he could.
In many ways, the worldbuilding was more interesting than your standard shifter fiction. There was a bit more canine culture—body language, motivations, etc. I found the idea of a pack bed rather intriguing, and I would have liked that explored more. One part that had me laughing was how in Dante’s pack, the females (they aren’t referred to as women) and pups ate first. My folks breed show dogs, and their alpha female always eats before her pups, so does the alpha male, and the alpha female will guard her food even if she has no interest in actually eating it. These little tidbits of worldbuilding in the story—where they differed and where they were the same as canine culture—were fascinating to me.
I could be over generalizing, but I was curious as to why every shifter worked as a mechanic in a shop. How did that affect the town they lived in? Why didn’t we see many interactions of Dante with humans? If they work in society as mechanics, wouldn’t that interaction be a big part of their lives?
This was a fun read, perfect for any shifter fiction fan. I would have liked the point of view to have stayed with Dante, and, through Dante, we had been allowed to explore the world more, but keeping readers begging for more is an author’s bread and butter, so I’m going to say it was a job well done!
You can buy The Alpha’s Weave here: