The Alpha Wolf (Werewolf High, Book Nine), by Anita Oh

Anita Oh has got to be one of the most prolific indie writers I’ve come across. In the span of three years, she’s released this YA series of NINE books and counting. There are also two novellas in the series (which I haven’t read), and apparently, she’s got another series going.

But this review is about The Alpha Wolf, the ninth installment in her Werewolf High series. If you’ve followed my reviews of her previous eight books in the series, then you should have the gist of the premise. Main character and narrator Lucy O’Connor started out as a relatively normal girl attending the prestigious and secluded Amaris High School. Magic and supernatural creatures tend to follow her around, and she has encountered all sorts of shenanigans in her time there. Unlike another famous series about a character at a magical school where each book spanned one of seven years at the school, author Oh’s magical school follows a more American four-year school model, but one year at the school spans three books in the series. So, book nine occurs in the latter part of Lucy’s junior year at Amaris.

While most American juniors are starting to worry about college, under the mantra (true or not) that junior year is the most crucial, the events that have befallen Lucy and her lycanthrope pack have been extremely crucial to their survival. I won’t spoil the ending of the previous book The Rival Pack, but know that it ended with their lives tragically shaken up.

The Alpha Wolf focuses on the growing threat of Lucy’s father trying to obtain the powers of all the different magic councils, and he’s already got a couple of them. There’s a power vacuum in the werewolf council, as indicated by the book’s title. The cover, one of only two in the series not to feature Lucy, shows who I can only assume to be Althea Wilde (Tennyson’s sister). She’s always been the more rational and prepared of the siblings, and she certainly does take charge in this book. But does she become the new Alpha? I will not spoil that.

Like later books in that other series I mentioned, the stakes have gotten really high by the time this book rolls around. And I won’t deny that those raised stakes really gave the story its urgency. There are some dangerous missions, and Lucy’s life is threatened. Those sequences and battles are definitely well described. There’s also a somewhat shocking possible casualty of the proceedings, which again, makes sense given the stakes. I like all that, as it indicates proper progression in this kind of story.

However, I found it to be at the expense of some of Lucy’s patented snark. The earlier books are definitely more comedic, which is okay because she’s a freshman then, but some of that seems to be missing here. Gone are the plots where Lucy was dealing an individual spell or curse gone awry, as the titles and plots of her junior year focus more on the bigger picture. That’s not necessarily a bad thing—as now she’s preparing for an epic battle for her senior year—but it’s like the most fun facet of her personality is dialed down a little.

Still, it’s an enjoyable read, and the action sequences elevate it above the previous book. It’s not the alpha story of the series (for me, that’s still book six—The Time Loop), but it’s a worthy successor at FOUR STARS.

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The Alpha Wolf is available at Amazon.

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