Saturday, October 11, 2008

Alpha and Omega

This book is the first book in a new spin-off series to Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson books, which I discovered late last year. I enjoyed them so much that I've been going back to read Briggs' earlier books - she is an excellent storyteller.

CryWolf opens with Anna Latham, a young woman (and werewolf) who is traveling with two men readers of the Mercy Thompson series will already be familiar with: Bran, the Marrok (werewolf leader) and his son, Charles. Charles has been seriously wounded in an event that occured earlier, which included the rescue of the abused Anna from a dysfunctional werewolf pack.

During the first part of this novel, I kept feeling that I had missed something - it felt as though I'd mistakenly picked up the second book in a series. I even went online to make sure this was, in fact the first book - it is.

It wasn't until a few days after I finished it that I happened to pick up an anthology called On the Prowl in which I serendipitously found a novella called "Alpha and Omega," which tells the first part of this story. While the novel does cover, very generally, what happens in that story, I felt it was a huge mistake to leave it out. They should have reprinted it in the beginning of the novel, because it introduces the main characters in such a way that their motives immediately become clear and understandable. Without it, we are told, not shown, and that weakens the beginning of the book.

Aside from my gripe about the beginning of the novel, however, this was a thoroughly enjoyable book. I was initially reluctant to lose the focus on Mercy, who is an extremely admirable and sympathetic character, but Anna's story gripped me from the start. After a horrible experience with her old werewolf pack, she is leaving with Bran and Charles, to whom she feels a deep, inexplicable attraction. For the first time in years she feels safe. Charles tells her she is an Omega wolf, but she doesn't quite understand what that means. And there will be little time to find out. Barely arrived at her new home, she and Charles are sent out into the Montana wilderness to track down something dark and powerful that is threatening the very existance of her new pack.

There are point-of-view shifts that take us into the minds of other characters, and they serve to add a greater depth to the story. As with all of Briggs' books, there is excellent characterization and effective dialogue, as well as an intriguing plot. This one has a sizzling dash of romance and a chillingly wicked foe to fight. While I'm very excited about the new Mercy Thompson novel (Bone Crossed) that's due out in February, I'll be looking forward to this next book in the Alpha and Omega series, too.

Cry Wolf (#1 in the Alpha and Omega series) by Patricia Briggs (Ace Books, 2008)

Also reviewed at:
The Good, the Bad, the Unread: "Cry Wolf is a great start to what is probably going to be a wonderful series."
Jaybleland: "I also enjoyed the point of view of the story changing from Anna, to Charles, to Bran, to Asil. I love Mercy Thompson voice, but I really enjoyed the multiple perspectives in this book."
SciFiGuy.ca: "Anna is a unique werewolf and very different from shapeshifter Mercy. It will be interesting to see how she fits into future plans and appearances in the Mercy Thompson universe."

11 comments:

  1. Oh I loved this book! It will be a LONG time before I get to review it but I really did like it and I can't wait for more of Charles and Anna's story. Yeah, I'm so glad I read the anthology first.

    Oh did you hear? Patricia Briggs' books are being adapted into a graphic novel and..... there is talk about making Mercy's story into a movie!

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  2. Ladytink - I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who's far behind on reviews. I'll be looking forward to reading yours when you get to it. That is exciting news about the graphic novel and the movie, too! If they do it right, it would be a whole lot of fun. Do you have any thoughts about who you'd cast? It's fun to be an imaginary casting director!

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  3. No, I can't really think of anyone off the top of my head but I think for this kind of a movie to succeed it would have to be a bunch of people who I either only vaguely know about or don't know at all- like the True Blood series lol! I will be really mad if they give the actors a bunch of phony accents though.

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  4. Check it out, I did your book memo : )

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  5. Ladytink - I agree! I tend to get such a vivid image of the characters in my mind that when they pick an actor I know really well, I just can't see it. And phony accents - yuck!

    VA Gal - Great! I'm off to check it out!

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  6. I tried to skim read your review as I am relaly looking forward to reading this as soon as I get around to On The Prowl first. I am glad you really like this series as the Mercy series is one my favourites around at the moment.

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  7. Rhinoa - I LOVE the Mercy series, and I was a tad disappointed not to see her, but still, this was great. How did everyone but me know to read On the Prowl first?! Gargh! I feel so out of the loop! >-(

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  8. My father has tossed the first Briggs book at me after I got him all hooked on Rachel Caine's Weather Warden series. :) I have only gone about 3 pages into the book so far, so I don't know what I am going to think. Those three pages didn't offend me or anything, so there's hope. ;)

    Glad to hear you liked the series though, I haven't seen much out there about it. (Not that I have looked very hard).

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  9. Cat - I like the way your father thinks! :-) I do think you'll enjoy the books - I'll be curious to hear your thoughts. I have the first Weather Warden book checked out of the library, but I haven't gotten to it yet. I'm looking forward to it, because of heard lots of good things about it!

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  10. I've linked your review from mine, and I'm double checking if I've linked your Mercy Thompson reviews from mine yet as well.

    One VERY good series of books. I couldn't put them down.

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  11. Thanks, Elena! I'm glad you are enjoying the series, too. :o)

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