I do love a good wolf shifter book. I do love a good military book. I do love a good M/M. Here I have all three in one.
-Review by Kazza K
It makes for a very interesting read that's for sure, with a different take on the shifter theme. This is not a fairytale paranormal, it is set in America prior to shipping out and then in Afghanistan; in a war zone posting. It looks at all the technical military jargon that is used, without bogging you down, but with a paranormal slant, complete with history and original detail that this book has for its weres. I'll be honest, I had to adjust initially to this kind of at-odds duality of melding military and paranormal. Where rank and pack take on a somewhat interesting perspective. People of rank who are werewolves will bow to an NCO if he/she is an alpha. Particularly if they are a True Alpha, the top dog of all the weres in the pack. Which is who/what Sergeant Noah Hammond is. Apart from a simpering, poor excuse for a Captain at the beginning the armed services support their werewolves and encourage the bond that has formed between Lt Young and Sgt Hammond. It's an excellent combat resource.
Both MC's are very likable. They both have a strong sense of duty. They both have a common goal and ideas on what is right for their men. They're both working through a new situation in regards to the bond they have. Noah is more on the ball in regards to what's happening and more prepared to let it happen. Lucas is more at sea learning what the hell he has to do with the werewolves and his Dominant role and place in the pack as a human. There is a really romantic connection, but in a very masculine way. Kendall McKenna's men are always very masculine and alpha. The secondary characters are interesting, but apart from Captain Tim Maddison and Captain Stanley, the latter I would have loved to throttle, they aren't yet as well known. There is much building here of the series backdrop, cultural differences, Ms McKenna's werewolves and military action. Every book I'll be looking forward to more and more on the other character's development. However, I enjoyed the fact that here the primary relationship, between Lucas and Noah, was focused on.
I liked this somewhat kinder military outlook. Where the relationship between Lucas and Noah is not seen as unnatural, rather it's encouraged. But Lucas kept feeling like he would be slighted for this physicality that the True Alpha required from him after every shift. There was a developing relationship between Lucas and Noah but because there was action aplenty, some history to be learnt and cultural differences to understand, the relationship was complicated. Lucas felt uncertain. He was unsure whether it was about an attraction or a necessity when they connected physically after shifts. He also felt a responsibility being an officer connecting with an NCO. He found it hard initially to think in terms of the pack. He didn't realise the intensity of the relationship that was there. He wanted it but kept it in the background. Sometimes I thought to myself -'Lucas you are being so bloody clueless' - but I understood why he felt like he did, how that occurred. There is action in Afghanistan and there is a slow learning curve for Lucas about the pack mentality of werewolves, not to mention their overlapping history, which I found interesting and clever. Joan of Arc. Eleanor of Aquitaine? Hmm....interesting. Alexander? Pfftt, no surprise :)
The Strength of the Pack is book #1 in a new series by Kendall McKenna, which gives me a new series I want to follow. I don't actually follow many series. I'm really picky about this, but I will follow this one. There are pointers right at the end as to who one of the next book's main characters might be and I look forward to this book very much as I liked his character here. Highly recommended for lovers of contemporary shifters who just happen to enjoy a man in uniform and military jargon as well.