30 August 2012

Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs

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. Then Charles Cornick, the enforcer- and son- of the leader of the North American werewolves, came into her life.

Charles insists that not only is Anna his mate, but she is also a rare and valued Omega wolf. And it is Anna's inner strength and calming presence that will prove invaluable as she and Charles go on the hunt in search of a rogue werewolf- a creature bound in magic so dark that it could threaten all of the pack.
Patricia Briggs has long since been one of my all-time favorite authors, and after having read more than half of her published novels, I've come to know what to expect with her work: pure awesomeness.  With a perfect blend of writing talent, engrossing plot, cheer-worthy characters all bundled together with humor, Cry Wolf is a perfect follow up to the short story Alpha and Omega and a brilliant opening to the series.

Unlike the Mercy Thompson series, Cry Wolf is told in third person, and alternates between several points of view, but chiefly, between Anna and Charles.  Normally, a constant switch off between characters would open opportunities for a turn off, but Patricia Briggs handles it well, giving each character their own voice and avoiding the pitfall of having them misunderstand each other a bit too easily.

Cry Wolf comes with a whole host of lovable characters -- I couldn't begin to name a favorite.  If you're a veteran of the Mercy Thompson novels, you'll probably enjoy the greater insight into Bran's character, as the "home" setting is in Aspen Creek, where Bran lives.  Really, Patricia Briggs' finest brush stroke lay in the building of Anna's character.  I think, if Patricia Briggs wasn't as good as she is, Anna's character would've been butchered.  Without given the proper motivation, I feel readers tend not to be as sympathetic to characters who have suffered from some kind of trauma.  Anna really had it rough, but there are moments of incredible strength and character development (and sometimes, setbacks) as she tries to break through the walls she had to put up while under constant torment.  Patricia Briggs balanced her character well, so that her being an Omega (and therefore, dead set against violence) is believable, but so is her fight to find her place.

My favorite thing about Cry Wolf is the romance.  I think I might like the Alpha and Omega series better than Mercy Thompson, just because of Anna and Charles.  Unlike the Mercy Thompson series, where romance slowly blooms over several books (and sometimes impeded by the dual affections of two very dominant werewolves), it's obvious from the get go that Anna and Charles are meant for each other, even though they have a lot of issues to sort out.  Their development as a couple was endearing to read and, even on reading it a second time, I still cheered for them.

While my favorite thing might be the romance, I can't deny the brilliance that Patricia Briggs brings to the table in terms of plot.  I'd guess that most novels with a premise such as this one would focus mostly on the romance.  Well, not so in Cry Wolf.  Patricia Briggs is all about putting her characters through hell.  So the building of tension towards the end, and then finally hitting the climax -- it left me breathless with the thrill of it.  Absolutely brilliant!

And never forget the writing!  Oh, it's amazing on its own.  I've always admired Patricia Briggs for giving information in a way that weaves in backstory, raw info and action without butchering it with telling and not showing.  Add the way she crafts a character's voice and behold my favorite author.

Finally, the humor.  It's scary that a book edged in so much darkness and intense plot could be so comedic.  It wasn't rib-cracking throughout the entire book, obviously.  There's always a time and a place for humor, but Patricia Briggs nailed it.  No matter which of her books you pick up, you're bound to get a laugh one way or another.  Whether it's because she's captured you with her writing or because you're so in love with her characters that you can't help but giggle at some humiliation or another: Patricia Briggs knows where to make a reader laugh.

Cry Wolf was a fantastic opening to the Alpha and Omega series.  Despite this being my second time reading it, I enjoyed it just as much (if not more!) than the first time.  I look forward to sharing my thoughts on the second installment, Hunting Ground.

“His favorite saying was, 'Interdum feror cupidine partium magnarum europe vincendarum."

"'Sometimes I have the urge to conquer large parts of Europe'?" Boyd said, sounding a little incredulous. Isabella hadn't, apparently, been the only one who understood her defiance.

She nodded. "Usually he only said it when my brother or I were being particularly horrible.”(p.12)
Bran was stripping her futon down to the bare mattress when she entered her apartment. It was sort of like watching the president mowing the White House lawn or taking out the trash. (p. 13)
I hope this means you'll quit asking me to kill you. It gives me indigestion. (p. 290)
Book Info
  • pages -  mass market paperback, 294
  • published - July 2008
  • publisher - Ace
  • genre - paranormal romance
  • rating - 5/5
  • received via - Paperback Swap
  • series - Alpha & Omega
    • Alpha and Omega | Review
    • Cry Wolf
    • Hunting Ground | Review
    • Fair Game 
More Info
Patricia's... Website | Twitter | Goodreads