Book/Author and Year Published: Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs (2008)
Reviewer: Jeriann and Bethany
Age/Genre: Adult Paranormal Fantasy
Preferred Reading Environment: Wrapped up in warm blankets by the fire.
Reading Accoutrements: Drinking hot cocoa with extra marshmallows!
Content Notes: Rape, Sexual Assault, PTSD
Since we started this blog in October and our inaugural post was the first book in the Mercy Thompson series, we thought it would be fun to review another Patricia Briggs book for our anniversary. Cry Wolf is the first book in Patricia Briggs’s Alpha and Omega series, which takes place in the same world as the Mercy Thompson books, but follows different characters and is primarily set in Montana instead of the Pacific Northwest.
Cry Wolf doesn’t actually start off the Alpha and Omega series, though it is the first full novel. Our introduction to Charles and Anna comes in a short story called “Alpha and Omega” that appeared in a paranormal romance collection called On the Prowl. We definitely recommend reading the short story before diving into Cry Wolf.
Jeriann: I don’t actually own Cry Wolf (yet) so I checked it out from my library for this review. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the edition I rented included the original story, because I wasn’t sure I’d remember all the details of Anna and Charles’s meet-cute (which, unlike most meet-cutes, includes murder). You can also find “Alpha and Omega” in Patricia Briggs’s Shifting Shadows anthology – so you have options!
The main characters of Cry Wolf are Anna Latham and Charles Cornick, though the book doesn’t open with either of them. Instead, Patricia Briggs opened the book by introducing her readers to the problem that our heroes will face – namely, a rogue werewolf in the wilds of Montana. Following the prologue, we are transported all the way to Chicago, where Anna and Charles – both werewolves (not rogue) – are moving Anna out of her crappy little apartment.
If you’re familiar with the world of Mercy Thompson, you’ll have seen little glimpses of Charles before. He is the son of the Marrok, the guy in charge of all the werewolves in North America. Mercy spent some time in his pack before the plot of her series begins. The Alpha and Omega series follows the Marrok’s pack, which is where wolves who can’t control themselves go for healing and other help.
Okay, now is where we give you some insight into the plot of “Alpha and Omega” (spoilers). Anna is moving because the Alpha of the Chicago werewolf pack went a little (a lot) crazy and started abusing pack members. Charles, the werewolves’ fixer, came to determine what was wrong in Chicago and immediately fell in looooooooooove with Anna. The pair quickly solved the trouble with the Chicago Alpha, but in the process, Charles was shot. Anna’s situation in Chicago was bad and since Charles is from Montana, Anna is moving to Montana to be closer to Charles.
Anna is an Omega wolf, which means she’s outside of normal pack dominance structure. Because of her old Alpha’s abuse, she knows almost nothing about being a werewolf, and even less about her powers as an Omega. Charles recognizes what she is immediately, and hopes that seeing how his father’s pack functions will help her realize that the way she was treated is not normal for werewolf packs. He also hopes to woooooo her, which shouldn’t be hard since their wolves are both so horny for each other.
Anna and Charles arrive in Montana, intent on spending time healing (Charles’s gunshot wounds were made with silver bullets) and getting to know each other. Unfortunately, another problem quickly arises that requires Charles’s fixer-skills. (Remember that rogue werewolf from the prologue?)
Jeriann: Alpha and Omega deals with a lot of trauma. Anna has a lot of abuse in her past, and she continually deals with the emotional fallout of that. As an Omega, she has a calming effect on werewolves that can allow them to feel peace when they otherwise wouldn’t. She helps the “broken” wolves of the Marrok’s pack to gain control – though of course, no werewolf magic works as intended all the time.
Bethany: One of the important things to note about Anna’s ability is that, in order to calm other wolves, Anna herself must feel calm. When she feels anxious, the more dominant wolves – who have a strong need to protect her – look for the cause of her anxiety and become more aggressive in their need to protect her. That means that a lot of the book is spent examining Anna’s emotional state. Usually, I hate books that spend so much time on the emotional nuances, but Briggs does a really good job of explaining emotions succinctly while still making you connect to her characters.
This is a spinoff series, so the back story has already established how people interact with their inner wolves. However, Mercy Thompson isn’t a werewolf, so we see the interaction between human and wolf a lot closer in this series because the story is told from the perspective of werewolves. The Alpha and Omega series goes a bit deeper into some of the werewolf specifics, whereas Mercy Thompson gives us a larger overview of different types of magical creatures in the world.”
Jeriann: I think the way we see people struggle with their dual selves is really relatable. Even though this is presented as a struggle between inner beast and the human self, it does a great job of illustrating how we all have thoughts and urges that we’d rather suppress.
Bethany: Yeah…it’s great…I’m going to be perfectly honest and let you all know that the Mercy Thompson series is my favorite of the two. Obviously. I mean, all of the internal struggle and emotion in the Alpha and Omega series is…not my favorite. Don’t get me wrong, I still love Alpha and Omega, I just think Mercy Thompson is better.
Jeriann: Bethany says I love depressing things, and Alpha and Omega is a more serious tone, which is definitely more my speed. I really like the themes it explores and how we have a bit more variety in the character perspectives.
That being said, these series end up being closely intertwined, and the best way to experience them is to read them side-by-side. The chronological order of the story is listed on Patricia Briggs’s website.
Who’s your favorite author with intertwined series? Let us know so we can lose ourselves in new massive literary universes!