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Jenni votes THUMBS DOWN on the cover of “A Solid Core of Alpha.” Let’s see how the book itself fared…
In an act of heroism and self-sacrifice, Anderson Rawn’s sister saved him from the destruction of their tiny mining colony, but her actions condemned the thirteen-year-old to ten years of crushing loneliness on the hyperspace journey to a new home. Using electronics and desperation, Anderson creates a family to keep him company, but family isn’t always a blessing.
When Anderson finally arrives, C.J. Poulson greets him with curiosity and awe, because anyone who can survive a holocaust and reinvent holo-science is going to be a legend and right up C.J.’s alley. But the more C.J. investigates how Anderson endured the last ten years, the deeper he is drawn into a truly dangerous fantasy, one that offers the key to Anderson’s salvation—and his destruction.
In spite of his best intentions, C.J. can’t resist the terribly seductive Anderson. Their attraction threatens to destroy them, because the heart of a man who can survive the destruction of his people and retain his sense of self holds a solid core of alpha male that will not be denied.
I’ve wanted to read this one for close to a year. I mean: it’s got the most glowing reviews ever. Some of my most respected pals love this book. It’s written by everybody’s fav Amy Lane. So what I’m about to write may sting (in fact, I’m a little worried here), but…I didn’t like A Solid Core of Alpha. Not even a little.
We’re in the throes of “(Don’t?) Judge a Book by its Cover” Week, so I’ll start there. Does anyone connect with this cover? Even a little? Be honest. It’s bad. You have Mr. Serious Guy in the background. What’s that on his shoulder? A planet? A tumor? And on his chest? Is that a…spaceship? And the guy on the right (I think it’s a guy, but honestly, it could totally pass for a girl). Is he/she smirking? Umm, also. Is that a disco ball at the top of the cover??? Pft. And wait. These two are supposed to be the MCs? Because as I started reading and collected physical descriptions, well, they’re not at all who/what came to mind.
So many things went wrong for me in this book, and I’m just bummed to heck that it turned out this way. There were too many supporting characters to keep up with. There was unexpected m/f sexy time. And overall it was far too long.
Anderson and C.J. are the MCs. After tragedy destroys his home, Anderson is sent rocketing through space for 10 years. Left to his own devices, he comes up with several interesting ways (<—clue!) to cope with his solitude. I can’t explain without giving things away, but it was a seriously clever plot.
After years away from other humans, Anderson finally lands in a distant galaxy and connects with C.J., who’s something of a lost soul himself. See, C.J. has been looking for love in all the wrong places, so guess what happens when he meets Anderson? Ding-ding-ding: insta-connection!
A Solid Core of Alpha had alternating POVs, and I liked that, I guess, reading what both MCs were thinking. But it was frustrating, too, because I felt like the characters I got to know at the beginning of the story weren’t the same as the ones I was reading about as things developed.
For me, Alpha was about 100 pages overdone and filled with details I didn’t think were at all necessary to the story. For the life of me I (still) can’t understand why Anderson and C.J. formed a connection. C.J. wasn’t entirely likable; I thought he was drawn as flighty and detached. I wanted build and understanding and trust and need to accompany the story. I wanted the why, the how. I didn’t get any of that.
In this case, I say DO judge this book by its cover. With Alpha, what you see is what you get: a busy novel with too much going on and a story that’s just a little bit all over the place.