Sunday, October 12, 2008
It's no secret that I love the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. I thought the 3rd one in the series, Iron Kissed, was brilliant in terms of character development. (My review is here, on my other blog We'd Rather Read. The next posted review is of the same book, but by my good friend Gina.) Briggs put Mercy through things that are usually avoided in this type of book, and had her come out stronger for it. So when I saw the first reports of Cry Wolf, I was nervous. I don't always like it when my favorite authors have more than one series. I almost always think the second one pales in comparison and then it's even longer before I get to read more of the one I enjoy. Regardless of this, I put Cry Wolf on my wishlist as soon as I heard of it. Cry Wolf is the first book in the Alpha and Omega series but there is also a short story about the main characters in On the Prowl. I read both back to back, and have a bit of a hard time telling which detail comes from which story. They flow seamlessly together, with Cry Wolf picking up where the short story leaves off.
Anna is an Omega werewolf. This means she has none of the dominance of an Alpha, but doesn't naturally feel submissive either. An Omega is rare and a great asset to the pack. They have a calming influence on the other wolves and can often diffuse a dangerous situation.
The short story in On the Prowl sets up Anna's history. It explains how she came to be a werewolf and explains in greater detail a lot of her responses in Cry Wolf. It also introduces Charles and Anna to each other. Charles is the son of the Marrok, the werewolf leader. He is his father's hitman, sent in to take care of things when a wolf goes rogue. Cry Wolf takes place in the same world as the Mercy Thompson series, with several of the characters overlapping each book. You absolutely do not have to read both, Briggs does a great job of keeping them separate while having characters in common. (Though I'd recommend you read both, because I love them both.)
In Cry Wolf, Anna has returned to Montana with Charles. There is a rogue werewolf in the nearby moutains, and Charles is sent to deal with it. Anna goes with him to help and to learn how a real pack works. Her wolf has mated with Charles's wolf and they are still learning how the human part of them will come together. This book is very much focused on the characters of Anna and Charles. They are already a couple when the book opens and over the course of the book they will learn what exactly that means. They have to learn how their past changes their responses to each other. You know from the beginning that they are together, this is not the point of the book. The point is to learn how these two distinct wolves will come together. Oh, and I guess there's the whole story line of the rogue wolf as well, but it really just serves to highlight the relationship between the other two.
I thought this one was great. Briggs has a way with her characters that really makes you understand them, and feel what they are feeling. I thought she did it better in Iron Kissed, because she did it in such a very short time (in one scene) but she does a great job in this one as well, without beating us over the head with the facts. At no point do you think, "Ok, got it, her history made her do that. MOVE ON." I am very happy to be wrong about this author writing a second series. They are very different series, but she does them both very well.
Do you want to read these? I'm going to give away both On the Prowl AND Cry Wolf. This is a package deal, because you should really read both of them. To win, leave me a comment telling me your favorite paranormal book or series, or if you haven't read any and are interested in starting one, tell me that. If the winner I choose has already read or owns one or the other, I'll split them up. If the winner has neither, they'll get both. I'll pick a winner next Sunday.