Winter’s Dawn (Age of Alphas #1)
by Kele Moon
Sometimes it’s good to be king. . .
Long ago four alpha pairs held dominance over the seasons. They led an ancient people only heard of in legend who were both wolves and humans. The alphas were chosen by the gods to wield great powers and bring peace and balance to their people.
Everything changed when members of their race later known as the rogues were driven mad by the taste of human flesh. They sought to kill the great alphas.
Without them, the remaining wolves became weak and could no longer reproduce. Their race was slowly threatening to descend into nothing but a distant memory.
Over a century has passed before hope shines on the horizon for this ancient people. A new winter alpha pair is born and with them the promise of rebirth for the monarchy. Maxwell Wellington was crowned Head King on the Winter Solstice when he watched his aunt die giving birth to his mate, Queen Susan.
He was just three years old.
Max and Susie are born into a world where they are the youngest, but already the most powerful, yet they long for normalcy. With no other young werewolves around, they turn to human schooling hoping for playmates.
But the human culture forces them to question everything their people have raised them to believe. Cousins as well as mates, Max starts resisting his connection to Susie despite knowing they share a soul and were born to rule together. When the call to roam overtakes him at eighteen, Max finds himself fighting his nature as a deadly and powerful alpha wolf who will stop at nothing to claim Susie. Now he has just three years to build up a defense against her before time runs out and she goes into heat.
As winter dawns, Max and Susie come of age in a new era for werewolves. Their story is the first step in a long journey that explores the triumphs and tragedies of one powerful, royal family and those who serve them. The battles they wage against nature, each other and the forces that rise against them will change the dynamic of not just their world…but ours as well.
I am a huge fan of Kele Moon, so when I saw this book, I had to read it. I had no idea what I was getting into. This is not your typical Kele Moon book. She usually writes steamy erotic romance. This has its steamy and intense moments but it is not an erotic romance. Fantasy is the primary element.
Winter’s Dawn is set in a world of werewolves who live among the humans without their knowledge. The werewolf race has declined. Long ago, the four seasons were ruled by Kings and Queens. They held the magic that enabled their people to survive and thrive. Rogues killed some of them and others died shortly thereafter. Leaving only the Winter family to carry on the magic until the time was right for them to bear the future Kings and Queens of the seasons.
Susan was born on the Winter Solstice. She was born the Winter Queen. Her magic was so powerful that her mother was unable to bear the weight of birthing her. She died that night, while a three year old Maxwell watched on. Maxwell was drawn to Susie while she was still in the womb. They are two halves to one soul. Their magic, when combined, brings harmony.
Maxwell’s mother also died in childbirth. Their mother’s were unable to withstand the immense power being born to their children. Max witnessed Susie’s birth and the horror of loosing his Aunt. The images haunt him throughout his childhood. He and Susie are raised as a pair. They do everything together.
Every year on the last day of fall, Susie collects the last leaf for Max. This marks the beginning of their season, Winter. Until Max is an adult, he will not be able to shift and he will not feel the call of the moon. He and Susie set out to have as normal a life as possible. They want to live among their human friends. They feel bound by their destiny and fight against it. Max dreads the day Susie matures and they must mate. He loves her so much and he is afraid that she will die bearing his children.
He fights nature to the very end and causes himself unthinkable torture in the process.
Max grows to maturity before Susie. He has to wait for her. In the meantime, his sexual appetite is insatiable. Susie must endure years of her King taking consorts to sate his wolf every full moon.
Max wants nothing more for Susie than for her to finish college and live a somewhat normal life for as long as she can. He tries to delay her sexual maturity. Max takes over the responsibilities of both King and Queen. He wears himself to the ground. He must fight the rogues and repair their empire.
Max and Susie struggle to maintain their tight-knit relationship. They are playing with nature and fate and the results could be disastrous.
“If Kings could make wishes, they would spend every day in the snow with winter queens who make snowy dreams,” he told her as he reached out and caressed her cheek, wiping the tears away.
“I love you.”
“I love you too, Susie Bee.” He pulled back to smile down at her. “So much it makes my heart hurt.”
This first book, in what promises to be an enthralling series, had me captivated. I was sucked in and held hostage. I adored the writing style and while it was not a typical Kele Moon genre, it was typical Kele Moon writing…amazing. I would caution those of you who go into this thinking it is simply a romance or even an erotic romance. This is a fantasy with paranormal romance elements.
I am giving this book a solid 4.5 stars, rounding up to 5. I loved it. The world building, which can be cumbersome, was elegant. I adored this couple who are born to their destinies and who wanted to fight against them. There were times I got angry with them as they made mistakes, but I still felt connected. The story is told from both perspectives. We are left with a mild cliffhanger that will lead us into book two.
Their journey has only just begun….
***This book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.***