Tag Archives: Omega challenge

Wrapping up the Omegas

Ha, if I ever write a shifter book I think I’ll use Wrapping up the Omegas as the title. I like it. This Omega challenge was a short one, designed to fit into a weekend. I read what turned out to be four books and a short story (and one DNF); everything on my To-Be-Read shelf containing the word Omega.

Omega challenge

And it was an interesting experience, which left me wondering about the nature of the omega wolf mythos.

With the exception of Omega Rising (which was a Farscape-like sci-fi), all the books were about shifters and you know what? I don’t think there’s any real consensus about what an omega is. Is he/she the smallest wolf? The weakest? Is it some inborn trait? Earned? Is it the result of breeding? Does it come with special powers? Is it necessarily a bad thing? What does it mean to be omega? It seems to be agreed they’re bottom of the pack, but not how or why.

Sure, it makes sense that different authors would have different takes on what it means to be omega, but I sensed a real reluctance to commit to their ideals, even within the same author’s work.* Often omegas were said to be the weakest, most abused wolf in the pack (that’s what made them omega) but then shown to be strong and self-reliant, rising above their station and expected abilities. But they never seemed able to lose the stigma of ‘omega’ and I was left to wonder why.

I sense in this the need to set a character up as a victim before redeeming them with a show of strength. Something any reader of hetero romance will recognize. How many heroines have been raped, are fleeing abusive relationships, or come from traumatic childhoods? This idea of a weak, abused omega werewolf just seems to be a codification of one particular kind of victim to victory trope.

And this is fine, really, except that it kind of doesn’t work for me. Because they’re either these beat down dogs or they’re not and, in the majority of the stories I just read, the authors tried to make them both. In one case, the author twisted the plot so hard, trying to accomplish this that she/he simply violated what I understood to be the laws of the world they constructed.

This was my main take away from the experience of immersing myself in a weekend of shifter omega-ness. There were other, smaller ones too. Omegas seem overwhelmingly likely to be claimed by alphas, the leaders of the pack (usually the most powerful one available). ‘Alpha’ and ‘omega’ tend to be such strong aspects of a character’s character that they negate all else.

On a wider scale, other than betas (second in command) there don’t seem to be any other ranks to a werewolf pack and none of those wolves matter and there seems to be a language to werewolves, that while obviously originating somewhere, is being adopted on a wider scale. The idea of going ‘loup’ for an out of control wolf, the soul ‘mate,’ descriptions of inner wolves ‘pacing’ and ‘clawing’ to be free, a ‘scion’ being the son of an alpha. Some of this I recognized as ubiquitous to the paranormal genre, but some struck me as possibly lifted straight from other, more well-known books and series.

So, while four books and short story is hardly a huge sample of available omega stories (especially as one of the books and the story were from the same author), I think it was enough to get an idea of what this particular corner of the paranormal genre has to offer.

If you’re interested in individual reviews they can be found here:

Omega Rising
Omega
Omega in the Shadows
Omega’s Touch/Omega’s Fate

*Obviously, I'm speaking only to the books I read in this challenge. I've read enough shifter books to know I'm not speaking in universals here.

Edit 3/29/16: Someone made a comment on one of the Amazon reviews with a link to a wiki page on the Alpha/Beta/Omega Trope. While, I was well aware this was a frequent pairing, it hadn’t occurred to me that it had solidified into an actual genre of it’s own. Apparently it’s called the Omegaverse. As I said to the commenter, even as a trope I still like enough world-building to know something of why rigid pairing structure occurs.  Is it a social constraint, biological, etc? But it’s nice to have learned something new, all the same. 

Edit 4/17/16: Even though I technically called this challenge finished, I couldn’t help picking up another Omega book and I bet it’s not the last time I do it, this year. So, I figure I’ll just tag the new ones on down here at the bottom.

Omega to the Ranchers
The Omega Prince

Review of Omega’s Touch & Omega’s Fate, by Wolf Specter

Since the last two books for my Omega Weekend Challenge turned out to both be short(ish) stories by the same person (Wolf Specter), I’ve just combined them into one post. Here are Omega’s Touch and Omega’s Fate.

Omega's TouchDescription from Goodreads:
An Omega who can kill with a Touch. An Alpha determined to save his son. Will they clash- or will they accept their bond?

Brilliant, indolent Dilyn spent years hiding his power as an Omega. He doesn’t want to bond to an Alpha, doesn’t want to lose control of his life, or his gift. But when called upon by his Alpha to do something useful, Dilyn reluctantly travels to a strange pack in order to Heal a dangerously injured new wolf.

Gwyr promises he won’t try and bond the Omega to him. But resolve flees when he sees the snarky young wolf for the first time. His wolf knows they were meant to be together- but Gwyr can’t break his word. And Healing his son, Tanner, is more important than convincing a skittish Omega that he is worth the risk.

Dilyn struggles to Heal, struggles to retain his independence in the face of unexpected temptation… should he trust that Gwyr isn’t a tyrant, but is an Alpha willing to allow Dilyn his freedom? Is a mate bond worth risking freedom?

Review:
Hmmm, simplistic and rushed but not all together bad. Characters seemed to  make instant, unprovoked changes in attitudes and the bit at the end, about dragons, seemed irrelevant (probably for a future book).

My main problem with this, however, was the way Dilyn was forced into something he didn’t want. It’s clear from beginning to end that he doesn’t want to mate, but he’s forced to anyway. And I simply couldn’t believe that love was supposed to have developed  (making it all ok in theory) when the whole danger to Dilyn in the first place was that ANY ALPHA WOULD BE ATTRACTED TO ANY OMEGA AND TRY TO CLAIM HIM, which suggests to me that there was nothing any more special between him and Gwyr that any other alpha and omega, no matter how hard the author tried to pretend that the world she set up didn’t work the way she set it up.

25633475Description from Goodreads:
The Mating Ball used to be a yearly event where bachelor Alpha werewolves meet potential mates, but now it’s a party mostly used to hook up with as many people as you can. 

Ethan, one of the humans hired to entertain the werewolves, goes into the event with only one expectation: getting paid for having fun. The prospect of maybe meeting an Alpha female is only a bonus. 

Max, a successful Alpha, has been getting pressure from all sides to settle down and prove his Alpha genes. Two problems: he doesn’t believe that the Mating Ball works and he is only interested in men. 

Once there, he meets Ethan, who catches his attention immediately, but the man insists that he isn’t gay, or interested in Max. As the ball comes to an end, the two men can no longer deny their attraction and take off together. Only to wake up to a very special surprise. 

Review:
You know how sometimes when you listen to an audiobook you can put it on faster than real life? That’s what this story is like. The plot rockets at an unfollowable pace. The characters morph from screeching harpy, to sulking child, to hesitant lover, to enthusiastic lover, to morning sickness at light speed. The Mpreg is thrown in at the last as unbelievable attempt at a twist. The world isn’t explained at all. I’m not even certain if Omegas are wolves or the humans who come to the party. I don’t know if they actually mated for life or just mated, as in had sex. The reader isn’t given enough information and the whole thing is just ridiculous. The idea could have been interesting if had actually been developed. But it hasn’t been and that negates any charm it might have had.

Review of Omega in the Shadows (Lost Wolves #1), by Zoe Perdita

Omega in the shadowsBook three in my Omega Weekend Challenge is Omega in the Shadows, by Zoe Perdita. I picked the book up at Amazon when it was free.

Description from Goodreads:
Rowan Gregor is a CIA agent who vows never to get close to another wolf after his pack is brutally murdered by hunters. Enter Elijah Kane, an efficient and shadowy omega assassin on the run from the CIA. When Rowan is tasked with hunting down Kane, he ends up at the mercy of a wolf with nothing left to lose – a wolf who is sure Rowan is his mate. Elijah Kane is hell bent on proving he’s stronger and smarter than every alpha he meets – including the alpha CIA agent sent to kill him. But Rowan lights a fire of lust that Elijah can’t ignore. They share a rare connection – a mate connection – and he’s not going to give up on Rowan until the man sees it too. Trapped in a snowy wilderness and besieged by hunters, desire sizzles between Elijah and Rowan. Can they overcome their differences, and their pasts, and forge a bond to save their future?

Review:
This is one of those books where when someone asks how it was you seesaw your hand and say, “Hmmm, it’s ok.” That’s what it is, ok, not great but not necessarily all bad either. The story has teeth (Hah, see what I did there?), but it drags on and is quite repetitive, both in telling the readers the same things over and over and in using the same words too frequently. Examples: Assassin (100 times), Omega (149 times), Alpha (297 times)! Most of these in the context of saying, “The Omega” did this or “The Assassin” did that.

I also had a problem with the binary nature of the characters. There only seemed to be alpha and omega. This being emphasized by how often the characters are referred to by their rank (in a non-existent pack) as opposed to names. What would the character be if he wasn’t the most or least powerful wolf? But more disturbing than this was the gay versus straight debate. The argument, “I’m not gay,” “you’re attracted to me, so you’re gay,” “I sleep with women, so I’m not gay,” “you want me, so you’re gay,” *blow job* “I thought you weren’t gay,” “I guess I am gay” was often repeated and utterly ridiculous. One would think being bi just wasn’t a thing. And apparently getting one taste of a penis will miraculously change your orientation and your personality, because Rowan certainly seemed to make a 180.

Then, to top everything else off the book ends on a cliff-hanger; a cliff-hanger that, as far as I can see from reading the blurbs of the other books, isn’t directly picked back up. Book three might touch on it, but I’m particularly confident about that.