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)
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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."