Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Release Day Review: Saved (Breaking Free Book 1) An Omegaverse Story by A.M. Arthur

savedTitle ~ Saved (Breaking Free Book 1)

Author ~ A.M. Arthur

Publisher ~ Briggs-King Books

Published ~ 12th September 2017

Genre ~ M/M Romance, Urban Fantasy/Alternate Universe, Mpreg





He didn’t want an alpha to save him, but fate had other ideas…

Braun Etting was raised to know his place as an omega by his alpha father’s cruel words and fast fists, and he expects nothing but violence from the alpha who may one day mate him. His older brother Kell mated a cruel alpha who abuses him daily, and Braun is terrified of that seemingly inevitable future. When Braun’s father dies in a car crash, leaving Braun an orphan, he’s sent to a halfway house for omegas. But on his fourth night there, he witnesses a horrifying crime that sends him fleeing to the streets alone—and edging into his first heat.

Tarek Bloom is settled in his workaholic, single lifestyle, even if it is somewhat embarrassing to be a twenty-eight year-old unmated alpha. He enjoys his job as a constable, helping people and solving problems, so he isn’t prepared for his life to flip upside-down when he walks into his beta friend Dex’s apartment to help with “a problem.”

The problem turns out to be an unmated, nearly in-heat omega orphan who Dex and his husband rescued off the street last night. The even bigger problem is that Tarek feels the mating bond for this terrified omega immediately—and he’s pretty sure the omega feels it, too. But Braun hates alphas as a general rule, and no way is he giving in to the bond. All mating leads to is violence and suffering, so no thank you. But Tarek’s gentle kindness slips under Braun’s emotional shields, and Braun begins to want. To dream. All Braun has ever known is violent alphas, but Tarek is determined to make Braun trust him—and to trust in the idea of their happily ever after.

NOTE: This is a non-shifter Omegaverse story with alpha/omega/beta dynamics, heats, knotting, and mpreg. In this world, omegas are second-class citizens with few civil rights and almost no protections under the law. Trigger warnings for physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. 67,000 words.


Debra’s Review

This is a good start to a new series by A.M. Arthur, taking place in an alternate or future time, the world in Saved consists of only men who fall into one of three genders, Alpha, Beta or Omega. The United States is now divided into separately ruled provinces with new laws and rules. Alphas rule, Betas are able to work and live their lives and Omegas have no rights, existing solely to bear the children of the Alphas. Alpha children are coveted and Beta or Omega children are allowed to be put up for adoption, often to Betas. Although the thinking about Omega rights is slowly changing with the younger generation, and Omega rights organizations are making noise, it will be a long uphill battle towards change.

Braun Etting is a 20 year old Omega, only now expecting his first heat. He’s considered by most to be too old to be good for bearing multiple children. He fears and distrusts Alphas with good reason; his father was abusive towards him and his older brother, Kell, another Omega who is mated to a violent and powerful Alpha. They were raised to believe they are burdens who are worthless other than their womb. When their father dies, Braun becomes a ward of the state as an unmated Omega and is sent to a halfway house for orphaned Omegas. Escaping from the halfway house brings him into the path of Tarek Bloom, a constable and an Alpha friend of the Beta couple that takes him in. While Braun can see kindness in Tarek and responds to the Alpha’s scent, he is afraid to believe that a kind Alpha exists, no less one that claims to see Braun as a human just as deserving of rights as any Alpha.

Tarek is a progressive Alpha, who believes in Omega rights. He immediately feels a bonding pull towards Braun, but would never force himself on the traumatized Omega. Instead, he offers to do what he can to help Braun. He’s not only attracted to Braun as a result of the bond, he also finds Braun’s feisty nature appealing. Tarek is so sweet and goes about trying to gain Braun’s trust, but with Braun about to go into heat it’s going to be a true test of his ability to control his Alpha’s base desire to claim Braun as his mate.

Aside from the relationship aspect, there is also quite a bit more going on with investigations into the abuse of Omegas, the pregnancy of Braun’s brother Kell and the cruelty of the Alpha he is mated to. That being said, there are references to past and present abuse, some scenes of assault and part of the storyline deals with human trafficking and sexual abuse so proceed accordingly.

The first part of the book really focuses on the growing relationship between Braun and Tarek. Braun’s trust issues run deep and it’s not going to be easy for him to trust Tarek. Tarek has never had a relationship with an Omega and no matter what, he won’t be able to curb his biological imperative to protect Braun once they have bonded and this causes some difficulties. With Tarek’s love and the support their friends, Braun really comes into his own, far from the scared Omega we meet in the first pages.

The second part of the story gets more involved in the continuing storyline of Omega rights (which clearly parallels what is going on in our world today) and Kell’s relationship with his Alpha following his pregnancy. My heart broke for Kell in every scene. The brothers have such a strong bond regardless of being separated and Kell suffers horribly at the hands of his abuser which, in the eyes of the law, is permitted as “domestic discipline”. It's these aspects of the story that brought a few tears to my eyes. The romance aspect of the main relationship isn’t forgotten here, but it faces a few hurdles where the fragile trust that has built between Tarek and Braun is tested.

Braun and Tarek have good chemistry and their romance is very sweet. Braun does go into heat and there is the irresistible pull of the desire to mate. There is knotting and that frenzied need for sex, but it doesn’t go exactly as I expected in the situation, as Tarek proves just how serious he is about how he feels about Braun.

I liked the world building, the little details that showed how the country has changed from what we know today without an info dump. I had a good feel for how things are set up and the struggle Omegas face in this particular province. I’m still new to reading Omegaverse stories and think this would be a good one to ease yourself into as far as the Mpreg goes, as long as you don’t mind the darker parts of the storylines I mentioned earlier.

Finishing Saved, I am lucky to already have an ARC of the next story, Seen, which is expected to release September 26th, so you won’t have to wait long either. Saved isn’t a standalone and the story is far from finished so there isn’t yet a HEA, although Tarek and Braun are working toward it. I can’t wait to jump into the next story and find out what is in store for not just Tarek and Braun, but for Kell’s circumstances as well.

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Meet A.M. Arthur 

A.M. Arthur was born and raised in the same kind of small town that she likes to write about, a stone's throw from both beach resorts and generational farmland. She's been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long, in a losing battle to make the fictional voices stop. She credits an early fascination with male friendships (bromance hadn't been coined yet back then) with her later discovery of and subsequent love affair with m/m romance stories. A.M. Arthur's work is available from Carina Press, Dreamspinner Press, SMP Swerve, and Briggs-King Books.

When not exorcising the voices in her head, she toils away in a retail job that tests her patience and gives her lots of story fodder. She can also be found in her kitchen, pretending she's an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others with her cuisine experiments.

Contact her at am_arthur@yahoo.com with your cooking tips (or book comments).


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