Hello, fellow reader! Let’s take a journey, shall we?

I’m not talking about a walk in the park. No, this trip will be through a genre that has recently taken hold of my TikTok FYP, my #bookstagram feed, and the often poorly timed but still expertly targeted subscription ads that grace my phone screen. Its animal-shifting characters, darkly fantastic settings, and tantalizing storylines are enough to catch the breath of even the most seasoned “smut” connoisseur…

That’s right, I’m talking about the Omegaverse.

Fake Mate by Lana Ferguson

The Fake Mate by Lana Ferguson

Made popular once more by the recent release of titles like The Fake Mate by Lana Ferguson or even Bride by Ali Hazelwood (though this title isn’t technically part of the Omegaverse), this delightfully erotic class of literature has actually been around for quite some time.

It is thought to have started within the “fanfic” community, where stories were written (and devoured) featuring actors Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki from the popular television show Supernatural as the first-ever Alpha/Omega “ship.” However, Omegaverse tropes have been seen in entertainment since well before then.

For example, in the episode “Amok Time” from the original Star Trek series, Spock must return to his home planet and mate with his wife T’Pring or die. This mate-or-die trope, along with many other “firsts” featured in its storyline, made this episode an instant classic and is still one of the most celebrated episodes of the fandom. The Trekkie community loved this concept so much that Spock’s unavoidable Vulcan condition, called pon farr, appears multiple times in the franchise and has been replicated in other movies and television shows of its kind.

LOS ANGELES - SEPTEMBER 15: From left, Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock and Arlene Martel as T'Pring, in the STAR TREK episode, "Amok Time." Original airdate, September 15, 1967, season 2, episode 1. Image is a screen grab. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

Still image from Star Trek episode, “Amok Time” during the pon farr ritual, 1967

Omegaverse titles are often considered to fall within Romantasy, but they can just as easily be seen as representatives of a genre all their own due to their many unique complexities. I’ll get into these “quirks” a little bit below, but for the sake of brevity and to avoid this blog being flagged for content… I will focus on the high points.

This may be a good time to make sure no one is sneakily reading your screen from behind your shoulder – it’s about to get a little spicy. I will also be using a lot of terms that are interchangeable between human and nonhuman (specifically canine) Omegaverse partners, so stick with me.

We are on this journey together!

Let’s start with the title – the “Omega” in Omegaverse refers to the categorization of the characters you will encounter when reading a title in this genre. Based on the class systems seen in wolf packs, they typically fit into these main categories:

  • Alpha – natural leaders of the “pack;” aggressive and strong; typically male, but can be female as well (males can reproduce, but females cannot); both are able to “knot” themselves to their mates during intercourse (google at your own risk)
  • Beta – these are your “normies;” they can mate with Alphas, but their anatomical “quirk” can make it a painful experience for the Beta
  • Omega – submissive and gentle; these are the more maternal and nurturing characters, whether male or female; both genders can become pregnant from an Alpha (yes, you read that right… no, I am not explaining how)
Aggressive wolves defending their territory

Aggressive wolves defending their territory

You could also encounter other character types such as Deltas and Gammas, but the main characters in an Omegaverse typically fall into those three types above. This is why Omegaverse is also referred to as A/B/O (Alpha, Beta, and Omega) for short. Harkening back to its lupine roots, each of these character types possesses its own wolf-like features. For instance, Omega characters will enter a “heat” stage when they are ready to mate and will “nest” to either comfort themselves or prepare for their Alpha if they have one.

The attraction between the different types is based heavily on smell with Alphas and Omegas being vulnerable to each other’s natural pheromones. They will often “mark” their mate with a bite that will signal to others that they belong to each other by blending these scents together. Beyond the physiology of these character classes, there is typically a social hierarchy among them as well. It is probably easy to see which ones are typically at the top of the food chain with others filing below.

This classification system has led some readers to shun the genre entirely, saying it celebrates outdated gender roles featuring dominant males and submissive female mates more often than not. However, defenders of the genre point out how this canine-inspired system can actually subvert these roles instead with numerous storylines featuring submissive Omega males, strong Alpha females, LGBTQIA+ rep couplings, and yes… even male pregnancies! 

There are also two main types of Omegaverse story formats: shifter and non-shifter.

Shifter, short for shapeshifter, is an Omegaverse story where the characters can shift from their human form into another form. Wolves are probably the most common animal, but the character(s) could also shift into a bear, lion, or any other form you could imagine! Just as the Alpha and Omega tropes started long before, the shifter trope saw a huge boom in popularity in the early 2000s when paranormal romances came into vogue. They were quickly catapulted into the mainstream with authors Ilona Andrews, Anne Bishop, Patricia Briggs, and Nalini Singh paving the way. Non-shifter Omegaverse still follows the A/B/O pattern but, as the name implies, without the shifter aspect. 

Looking for a series to get you into the Omegaverse? Look no further than Elizabeth Stephen‘s monster-filled fantasy romance series, Beasts of Gatamora. Keep reading for more information on the first two audiobooks, Dark City Omega and Shadowlands Omega – out now anywhere you like to listen, including Amazon, Spotify, and your local library with hoopla Digital and Overdrive’s Libby app!

Reader’s Note: This is a standalone, enemies-to-lovers, dark fantasy, M/F romance series not suitable for young readers.
Trigger warnings and tropes can be found on Elizabeth Stephen’s website.

Dark City Omega
Narrated by Charlie L. Wood and Benjamin Sands

audiobook cover for Dark City Omega by Elizabeth Stephens

Step into a scorching dark fantasy romance full of unforeseen twists, epic battles, omegas with magic and monsters who always get the girl. This is Gatamora.

“You know I’m going to get away from you eventually.”

“Over my dead body.”

“Yes,” she said, blinking at him like he was an idiot. “Exactly.”

Echo knew that being caught by a ruling Berserker would mean becoming his pawn, a plaything to be used for her powers. That wouldn’t be her fate.

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Shadowlands Omega
Narrated by Charlie L. Wood and Benjamin Sands

audiobook cover for Shadowlands Omega by Elizabeth Stephens

Brace yourself for a dark, enemies-to-lovers romance in Gatamora. Will Yaron, a newly ascended omega, unite with a criminal named Kiandah, or let the world burn?

“I look forward to punishing you, Kiandah.”

“You’re a cruel lord.”

“A hero would have no chance with you, so for you, I will be the villain.”

After burning her church to the ground and throwing her family into the castle dungeons for their treason, Kiandah did not expect to be spared by Lord Yaron, the Berserker Lord who once vowed—and tried—to kill her.

Learn More>


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