The Rival Pack (Werewolf High, Book Eight), by Anita Oh

Here we are, right in the middle of Lucy O’Connor’s junior year at secluded Amaris High. The books of Anita Oh’s Werewolf High series are quick reads, buoyed by strong relationships between the fun characters.

This is the eighth book in the series, which makes it close to impossible for me to be completely spoiler-free in my reviews, particularly when it comes to previous books in the series. You’ve been forewarned.

The book pretty much picks up after the events of the previous book—The Fake Boyfriend. The new antagonist, Tennyson & Althea’s cousin Henry, is continuing his efforts to discredit the Wilde werewolf pack and become the new Alpha. But since Tennyson and Althea’s mom, the current Alpha, caught wind of his dastardly plan and tossed him out, so he ingratiates himself into another pack, hence the title of the book.

Introduced into the mix are two new characters attending the school, Harper and Julian York. They’re from the “rival” pack, and Henry has insisted they attend the school to keep tabs on Tennyson and company. There are also implications that Harper and Julian might have to enter into relationships with Tennyson and Althea as a way to unite the packs. This, of course, causes Lucy to have some feelings of jealousy, especially since The Soul Bond she shares with Tennyson is somewhat closed off, which also contributes to her feeling isolated.

Like the previous installment, the book doesn’t follow the pattern of the first six books, where Lucy was usually the target of some potion, spell, curse, or other magical occurrence. Sure, there’s magic involved because she’s practicing her developing magical powers, but she’s not the primary target. The pack as a whole is.

Like all the books in this series, the relationships between the main characters is the biggest strength of the book. They develop believably, no matter if the characters are pleased or displeased with one another. Particularly interesting to me in this book were what was up with Sam, Althea’s continued growth, and the details of the relationship between Lucy and Tennyson.

My only complaint about this book, and why I didn’t rate it as high as some other books in the series, is the ending of the book. It’s not that I have anything against what happened or how it happened—at this stage in a series, the stakes should be raised really high, and these events certainly qualify as such. It’s not that I have anything against who’s really responsible for the events; it’s totally consistent with everything before it and where the series has been heading. My issue is that for the big—really big—move that the bad guys made, it was extremely abrupt, so abrupt that when it happened, it was really jarring. I understand the intent may have been to surprise or shock, but it shocked too much for something so crucial to what comes next.

I’m still going to read the next book—The Alpha Wolf—when it comes out, as I’m genuinely intrigued by the aftermath of the ending and the revealed cover of the next book. But judging this book on its own merits, there are other books in the series that rival The Rival Pack and its THREE AND A HALF STARS.

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The Rival Pack is available at Amazon.

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