DNF. This was my third and last attempt at reading Catherine Asaro. I really, really, really wanted to love her books, but I'm just not feeling the love. The first Asaro book I read was The Charmed Sphere, a fluffy fantasy that felt like someone's first attempt at writing a novel, not a story from an award-winning author. Assuming that fantasy wasn't Asaro's thing, I then read Primary Inversion. The theoretical physics was fascinating, but the characterization rather dull (standard embittered warrior-heroine archetype), the romantic subplot unsexy, and the plot ... plodding. With Alpha, I was bored from page one. The backcover lists another book as the prequel. Maybe that's why the first chapters of this novel are chuck full o'exposition. Anyway, after about eight pages, I decided that reading a dull book was killing my muse and bailed.