I’m not usually a fan of Omegaverse stuff. Although I find it intriguing, I also find the physiology bizarre and the mind of whoever invented this subset of werewolf lore is seriously twisted. If you don’t know, Omegaverse is a type of shifter-focused fantasy fiction that came from Supernatual fandom, because of course all twisted things come from Supernatural fandom. It involves a complicated hierarchical culture with Alphas, Omegas and Betas, psychic mating bonds and bizarre rituals, including male pregnancy – not trans men, but men with uteri. If you google an explanation of the so-called biology it is quite bizarrely complicated.
At any rate, I usually don’t like Omegaverse stuff because by and large it is fairly awfully written. The same old storylines and tropes. But I was intrigued by this series because the universe was so different; the idea of a dystopian hellscape in which werewolves and humans battled it out for dominance and experimented on each other drew me in. And it did not disappoint.
“Love and War” by E.M. Lindsey is the story of two prisoners in a human lab, the Alpha werewolf Kor and the human Misha, who help each other escape and join Kor’s wolf pack to plot revolution. This is a dark romance between the two with unsettling, deep themes that the author handled sensitively. Misha was experimented on by his father and genetically altered to be an Omega – not quite wolf, not quite human, and nobody is sure whether he’ll survive the change, or a mating bond with an Alpha wolf. But the two are inextricably drawn to each other.
The characters and the strong, engaging writing voice in this story kept me interested throughout the book. The worldbuilding in this was rich and beautifully imagined. I loved the idea of a battle-scarred general losing his sight and being forced to navigate leadership and a first-time mating bond while blind. I also liked how they handled Misha as an Omega; instead of making a docile, weak partner, Misha was complex and layered, someone who stood up to his mate and was a historian and philosopher, a soft counterpart to Kor’s recklessness.
The heat in this was quite spicy and I thought the sex scenes were well done. This series does have mpreg in it, which is normally a squick for me, and I fully expected to be weirded out by Omega sex. But the smut was well written and the pacing was spot on.
I’d read more of this series and by this author. The characters and the storytelling are what make this book unique.
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