Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Book Review: The Alpha and Omega Novels

Books Series: Alpha and Omega
Cry Wolf, Hunting Ground
Author: Patricia Briggs
Publisher: Ace

Note: I read this after I read the Mercy Thompson series. I haven't read the short story that begins it all in the anthology On the Prowl, which many have recommended be read first.

Summery: 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.

I read the first book in this series last summer after reading all of the Mercy Thompson books. I had to make myself read it NOT as a continuation of Mercy's world, but as a stand alone book. Once I did that the characters and the story came alive for me. Anna had been beaten down, suffering much like a woman who's just come out of an abusive relationship, except she was abused by everyone in her pack. She's fighting to regain her confidence, her strength; to become the woman and wolf she needs to be. This isn't a quick fix. Her struggle carries through to the second book as well.

The Alpha and Omega books tell a story of love, trust, and of healing. They read quickly, at least for me, because I wanted to KNOW what was going to happen between Anna and Charles. I couldn't wait to finish one page and go on to the next. Their relationship is complicated and multi-dimensional. There is the interaction between Anna and Charles, as a man and woman, but also the interaction between his wolf and Anna. They often don't see eye to eye. The wolf would protect her to the point of suffocation. Charles, the man, knows she needs to learn to protect herself as well. Anna is trying to figure out just what she needs and wants.

Each book has plenty of action, suspense and mystery to make it an adventurous read. I love the pack dynamics as Anna tries to figure out her place with the wolves, beyond her status as a mate to Charles. I thought Briggs did an excellent job of showing the reader both Anna's take on things, and how Charles reacted to the same situation. Brother Wolf, the wolf part of Charles, is fascinating. Briggs treats him as an individual character, one we get to know and love as Anna's fierce protector.

If I found any fault with the books, it was they read so fast that I felt let down when I finished them. This, however, could be my background of reading epic fantasy novels that can easily run 600-1000 pages. I highly recommend both books to fans of Mercy Thompson, and those new to her writing.

Read Chapter One: