Friday, December 16, 2016

Alpha & Omega and Cry Wolf - Patricia Briggs (Alpha & Omega #0.5 and #1)

Cry Wolf (Alpha & Omega, #1)I'm combining two reviews here, because I think it's really necessary.  Continuing on my quest for a good paranormal romance novel, I found Cry Wolf on several lists, though usually several slots below Brigg's other series start-off, Moon Called.  CW takes place in the same world and on the same timelines as MC.  But when I started reading it, I immediately realized that I was missing something.  Which doesn't seem right, does it, given that CW is the first book in its series?  Well...not really.  See, there's a novella that comes before, and it's integral to understanding what the heck is up with this book.  Because if you just start in on reading MC, then you're suddenly dropped in the middle of something that's going on.  I was very disoriented, and I can't imagine anyone else wouldn't be.  I really disagree with this approach, and feel like the novella, Alpha & Omega, should have somehow been integrated into the body of the book.  Because while the book itself is easy to find, it's much less easy to find random novellas that float about, and it means that a lot of readers probably go into this unprepared.

Reading A&O and CW as one work instead of as separate ones, I liked this a good deal more than I liked MC, which I'd read the previous day.  There's more of a romance line here, which is important to the main character, Anna's, development.  See, Anna was part of the Chicago pack that was causing problems in MC, having been a werewolf for three years after she was turned against her will.  She was the lowest member of the pack, being repeatedly abused and raped on the orders of the pack's leaders.  When Charles, the son of the lead of all werewolves in North America, shows up to deal with the pack, he quickly finds himself paired up with Anna, and immediately decides she's his mate.  Anna isn't entirely opposed to that, for a variety of reasons, but she keeps her walls up and is slow to let them down even after she decides that being Charles' mate is what she wants.

The romance takes up part of A&O and about the first half of CW.  As CW gets started, Anna and Charles are headed back to Montana, where Anna hopes to start a new life but finds herself on uncertain ground with the Marrok's pack despite her special status as an Omega.  But her stay there doesn't last long because she and Charles quickly find themselves dispatched to take care of a rogue werewolf who's been killing people in the nearby mountains.  The trip works to help Anna gain a better sense of understanding, both of who and what she is and where she stands, with Charles and with others, and start to repair some of the damage that was done by the Chicago pack.  But still... Her "moving on" seems to happen remarkably quickly.  While I enjoyed the progress and the pacing, I still found myself being very skeptical that Anna would so quickly find herself being comfortable in her new situation when she was repeatedly raped and abused in her previous pack.

Still, Charles was an excellent hero, and the supporting characters here were excellent.  Wallace was cool, Asil was awesome, and while Briggs continued to have a thing about bitchy women, she at least integrated one other good female, Sage, who I would love to have seen more of.  The plot here was also much stronger, consistent, and less twisted in on itself than that of MC, which I appreciated.  But the romance was one of the compelling parts of this story, and it's neatly wrapped up by the end of the book, so while I liked these characters I don't feel super compelled to read the future ones.  Still, I think this was a big step up from MC and it deserves a better rating as a consequence.

4 stars out of 5.

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