Sunday, October 19, 2008

Cry Wolf - A Review

Cry Wolf (Alpha and Omega, Bk 1)
Written by: Patricia Briggs
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Ace
Language: English
July 2008, $7.99

Now Briggs begins an extraordinary new series set in Mercy Thompson’s world—but with rules of its own.

INTRODUCING THE ALPHA AND OMEGA NOVELS...

Anna never knew werewolves existed until the night she survived a violent attack…and became one herself. After three years at the bottom of the pack, she’d learned to keep her head down and never, ever trust dominant males. But Anna is that rarest kind of werewolf: an Omega. And one of the most powerful werewolves in the country will recognize her value as a pack member—and as his mate.


++++++

I am a big fan of Patricia Briggs whose Mercy Thompson series has a distinct voice in the urban fantasy genre where action tends to take precedence over character development or where romance takes over. For me, Mercy was different. Sure there was action and romance subplots, but they were not the main focus of the stories. Mercy is the focus of the series and I have enjoyed getting to know the mechanic shapeshifter. In fact, Iron Kissed even had me crying like the big giant girl I am.

I first read about Anna and Charles in the anthology, ‘On the Prowl’ and to be honest I would recommend that people try to nab that first. The story focuses on Anna, an Omega werewolf who is very special when it comes to pack hierarchy. She is neither submissive nor dominant and has the ability to soothe troubled wolves. Unfortunately, not only was she turned against her will because the Alpha recognized her as being Omega, but was then brutalized and mistreated by her pack. When a local turns up dead and Anna recognizes him as being someone that her pack killed she musters up the courage to call the Marrok, the leader of all werewolves, who then sends his son Charles to investigate. As discovered early on in Cry Wolf Charles not only killed Anna’s Alpha but was shot in the process with silver bullets. Another strange thing happened, his wolf claimed Anna’s as his own.

Cry Wolf begins with Charles moving Anna away from Chicago to join Bran’s pack. She is still extremely gun-shy despite her attraction to Charles and unsure of what being Omega really means. The new couple barely has time to really get to know one another before Charles is needed to investigate a possible rogue that is killing people in the nearby mountains. Of course there is more to it than just that.

I think Cry Wolf is a good book, but not a great book. It leans a bit more to the supernatural romance than it does urban fantasy for me and I think the book, especially the characters suffer with the opening missing which leaves the overall story feeling incomplete. I also think if this was the first Patricia Briggs book I read, while her take on werewolf society is very interesting and the characters likeable, I don’t think I would have immediately sought out to devour her other books. Luckily I have known Bran, Samuel, and even Charles from the Mercy series and I have a better understanding of who they are and why they do the things that they do. But a newcomer might be a little confused.

I do like Charles and Anna and would be interested in reading more about them, especially Charles who didn’t get to be as fleshed out as he could have been. Briggs spent this novel developing their relationship and I will admit the progression of their relationship works for me though I think there are still a lot of things that need to be discussed and sorted. I also think said relationship will take less precedence in following books and hit the stride that the Mercy series has in balancing all of the elements. I also hope that Anna’s Omega abilities are more fully explained and realized. I must admit this was the first Patricia Briggs book that I didn’t read all in one sitting because the pacing was a bit slow. I think the last half of the book was definitely more exciting, better paced and more entertaining to read than the first half. With some minor complaints about the villain (who I am surprised lasted as long as she did considering how crazy and easily manipulated she is), I liked the overall story involving her especially Asil. I think my favorite thing about the book is I got to learn more about Bran, the Marrok, who I find fascinating.

If you’re a Briggs fan, it is worth the read if but for the Mercy book 4 preview. As I said I would recommend going back and reading the novella first in the On The Prowl anthology. In doing so, I think you’ll be much happier with the overall story. It’s a good book, maybe not the best, but I think if the series continues the problems that I had with this one will be fixed. It doesn’t help that I had high expectations.

3 out of 4 bibliosnark bookmarks

1 comment:

Voxy said...

Great review, and thanks for stopping by my blog! :)

Much as I love differences of opinion, it's also sometimes nice to see other people echo my views... just as a sort of confirmation that I didn't complete misread things or that I'm crazy in finding the story lacking! :P I'm hoping the next one will actually concentrate on some of the Omega explanations and give us more to ponder.