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REVIEW: Alpha and Omega and Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs

Dear Ms. Briggs,

book review Once in a while there comes a book that sweeps you off your feet, a book you fall in love with so completely that it is hard to do justice to that love in a review. Alpha and Omega and Cry Wolf made me feel that way.

Because of the way I read them — first Alpha and Omega (from the anthology On the Prowl), then Alpha and Omega again, and then again Alpha and Omega, then Cry Wolf, and then more bits and pieces of Alpha and Omega and favorite parts (which means a good portion of the book) of Cry Wolf — and because they follow the same main characters and the same romantic relationship, it is hard for me to separate the two. I am, I think, going to have to review both together.

Here I sit, bleary-eyed from lack of sleep, trying to explain the euphoric grin I’m wearing. If someone had given me a bare bones description of Alpha and Omega — “Alpha werewolf hero, sexually traumatized heroine who possesses special abilities she is unaware of, and instant attraction between mates” — I might have written it off, thinking I’d read that before. But I would have been wrong, and I’d have missed out on the start of a wonderful series.

A waitress at an Italian restaurant in Chicago, Anna Latham is also a werewolf. Three years ago, Anna was changed into a werewolf against her will. To say that Anna’s wolf pack mistreats her is an understatement: the alpha of her pack, a werewolf named Leo, not only takes some of her earnings, but he has allowed the men in the pack to beat her and to pass her around.

After being raped repeatedly, Anna finally found a way to put a stop to the worst of the abuse, but the threat of being brutalized further is still hanging over her when she sees an article in the newspaper about the disappearance of a young man whom Leo had held captive. Though she is terrified of werewolves, and of dominant werewolves most especially, the article galvanizes Anna into calling Bran, the Marrok, or alpha of all of North America’s werewolf packs, in the hopes that the young man who has disappeared can be saved.

Bran tells Anna that he already knows about the situation and has dispatched someone to Chicago to deal with it. He suggests she avoid her pack members, who may retaliate against her for calling him, and meet the man he has sent at the airport. Anna forgets to ask Bran for his investigator’s description, but at the airport, Anna recognizes the man immediately.

Charles is a werewolf whose force of personality is such that people can’t look away from him. Half Native American and nearly two hundred years old, Charles is also Bran’s son and one of his roles is to act as his father’s enforcer. He’s described in Anna’s POV as having long dark hair, gold ear studs, “youth-taut, teak-colored skin,” and “an expression that was oppressive in its very blankness.”

If Anna realizes on instant that Charles is a werewolf even more dominant than Leo, Charles takes only a little longer to realize that Anna is a werewolf as well. His first assessment after that is that she is a submissive, which is what Anna believes herself to be, but a moment later he realizes that she is something far more unusual: an omega werewolf, capable of calming dominant werewolves.

The wolf in Charles (whom he frequently refers to as “brother wolf”) is drawn to Anna immediately and wants her for his mate. But the human part of Charles is more cautious and wants to get to know her better first. He senses that Anna is afraid and tries to set her at ease with only partial success.

The attraction between Charles and Anna unsettles both of them, because it is something neither of them is used to and it thwarts their goals to, in Anna’s case, keep out of the way of any dominant wolf in order to avoid abuse, and in Charles’ case, keep a level head while investigating Leo’s pack. Anna’s fear of him infuriates the wolf inside Charles because it’s evidence of what she suffered. She senses the rage beneath his controlled exterior, which creates a kind of vicious cycle.

Alpha and Omega is set in the same world as the Mercy Thompson series, but unlike Moon Called (the first of the Mercy books and the only one I have read) , Alpha and Omega is written in third person and in sections alternating Anna and Charles’ viewpoints. Perhaps for this reason, it seemed much more relationship-focused and romance driven to me than Moon Called.

Charles and Anna both experience powerful internal conflicts; Anna as she’s torn between the part of her that feels safe with Charles and the part that fears him, and Charles when his usual control over his emotions slips and possessive and protective instincts toward Anna threaten to get in the way of his ability to find out what is going wrong in Chicago. His position as Bran’s second requires him to establish the guilt or innocence of Anna’s pack members before executing guilty parties, rather than give in to his wolf’s need to strike back at them for hurting her.

Charles and Anna’s falling in love is a joy to behold because it brings them both out of their shells — Anna gradually finds more and more courage, while Charles, who has always held most werewolves at arm’s length for fear that he might someday be required to kill them, starts to allow himself to get close to another person.

In Jane’s review of On the Prowl (where reviews of the other three novellas in this anthology can be found) she said “Anna, despite her emotional and physical trauma, is able to respond to Charles’ physical demands in a relatively short amount of time. I recognize that this is an anthology but perhaps the characterizations of such a damaged individual like Anna should be saved for a longer writing form.”

While I can understand Jane’s reaction, my own was different. Anna’s physical response to Charles in Alpha and Omega is limited to one or two kisses (sex, which is a whole other ball of wax, is dealt with in Cry Wolf), and even that response, I saw as being partly due to the wolf component of Anna. The story does have a happy ending, but I didn’t feel that Anna got over all of her issues, just that she was on the road to recovery and I had some faith that she and Charles would find a way to make each other happy.

book review Alpha and Omega is not perfect — I figured out the source of the problems in Anna’s pack before Charles did, and thought the novella felt compressed and ended a bit abruptly — but when I enjoy a story this much, perfection becomes a lesser concern to me. I was blown away by my own emotional response and that was more than enough.

After reading Alpha and Omega for the third time, I was dying to read Cry Wolf. Before I proceed to review it, I suggest that readers who want to remain in the dark about the outcome of Alpha and Omega read no further, since is virtually impossible to review Cry Wolf without including a few spoilers for its prequel.

(Speaking of spoilers, readers who haven’t yet read Moon Called and would like to do so should be aware that there some of the things mentioned in Cry Wolf are major spoilers for Moon Called.)

Cry Wolf begins with a prologue set in the Cabinet Wilderness of northwestern Montana. Walter Rice, a hermit, saves a graduate student from a monstrous beast and gets injured in the process.

Then the story picks up again in Chicago where Alpha and Omega left off — only a day and a half after Charles and Anna first met. Charles is in his wolf form in order to recover faster from his injuries, so it is Bran who assists Anna in gathering her belongings from her apartment to prepare for moving to Montana. Without Charles at her side, Anna becomes afraid again — of Bran, and of the members of the Chicago wolf pack, who show up at the apartment to help her move.

After an unpleasant confrontation with one of her pack members, Bran and Anna return to the Chicago pack’s headquarters to discover that the wolf who is Charles has torn apart the silver-barred holding room he was left in. But in Anna’s presence, Charles calms. Nevertheless, Bran feels that Charles should get checked out by his own pack’s doctor (who happens to be Charles’ half-brother Samuel), so he whisks Charles and Anna to his private plane and flies them to Montana without giving Anna time to say goodbye to her boss and her neighbor in person.

In Charles’ Montana home, Anna is overwhelmed by the tastefully luxurious surroundings, which contrast sharply with the cheap and flimsy furnishings of her own apartment. She feels out of place and wonders what she is doing there, in the home of a man she’s known less than two days, and whether she has any other place she can go.

In one of many romantic moments from Cry Wolf, a wounded Charles shifts back to human form even though it endangers his recovery, because he senses Anna’s ambivalence and wants to try to convince her to stay. On seeing how hurt Charles is, Anna becomes more concerned for Charles than with her own circumstances, and she calls on the wolf part of herself so that she can help him.

Usually it is the humans who choose each other first and the wolves who take a long time to bond, but in Anna and Charles’ case the reverse is true. Their wolf halves are absolutely certain of their feelings for each other, while their human selves are still somewhat thrown by those intense feelings. This internal conflict is beautifully delineated in some of Anna’s ruminations:

Hers. He was hers, whispered that part of her that didn’t worry about human concerns. Whatever fears Anna had about the rapid changes in her life, her wolf half was very happy with the events of the past few days.

It felt awkward, this needing. Awkward and dangerous, as if what he was might reach out and swallow her whole–or change her beyond recognition. But she was too tired to fight it or even figure out if she wanted to fight it.

Charles, too, is at times overwhelmed by his new emotions. Playing the piano at a funeral, he is astonished by his response to her:

She opened her eyes and met his. The impact was so strong he was amazed that his fingers continued playing without pause.

His.

If she knew how strongly he felt, she’d have run out the door. He wasn’t used to being possessive, or to the savage joy she brought to his heart. It ate at his control, so he turned his attention back to the music. He understood music.

When Anna was raped, she drew on her wolf’s strength to help her get through the assaults. The wolf half of Anna blocked out some, but not all of her memories. With Charles, Anna’s wolf feels happy and powerfully attracted, but when the wolf half lies dormant, intimacy is far more difficult for Anna, as in this poignant scene:

She inched her hand forward until she could feel the sheets warm from his body heat. She rested her fingers on him and her body froze in panic. She was glad he as asleep, so he couldn’t see her pull her hand back and tuck her knees over her vulnerable stomach. She tried not to shake because she didn’t want him to see her like this: a coward.

She wondered that hope was so much harder than despair.

Anna also hates that she feels dependent on Charles, a man she’s known only for a few days, for physical and financial security. She is ashamed of her fearfulness while at the same time disliking the predatory aspect of the werewolves, Charles and herself included.

When a powerful older wolf named Asil whose long-dead mate was also an omega werewolf makes a play for Anna, things become even more complicated as Charles has to fight back the territorial instincts of his wolf.

But this complication is eclipsed by an even bigger threat when the same “monster” who attacked the grad student assaults another man, Jack, who realizes his attacker is a werewolf. The problem is that Jack could expose the existence of werewolves to the rest of the world and bring humanity’s wrath on the werewolves in the process.

With all of North America’s werewolves at risk, Charles dreads that his father will order him to kill Jack, who is guilty of nothing more than having been attacked and wanting to speak the truth. Though Charles is his father’s hit man, it is not a role he enjoys, and the thought of having to kill an innocent witness, something he hasn’t had to do in a long time, and never with Anna present, fills him with dread.

Anna, meanwhile, struggles to fully accept what being a werewolf means, and there is a part of her that resists integrating into werewolf society. She is ambivalent about staying in Montana even before Bran calls Charles and Anna to come see him and she realizes that Charles might kill the injured Jack.

Luckily for Charles and Anna, Bran does not require Charles to kill Jack, but the reprieve comes at a high cost: a wounded Charles must go into the wilderness with Anna at his side and track down the rogue werewolf so that the injured man will keep silent. And Charles knows that he may have to do the thing he dreads most: kill a weaker werewolf in front of the woman he loves.

I don’t want to say much more about what happens when Anna and Charles go into the mountains so as not to spoil surprises for readers. I will say that I found Cry Wolf immensely enjoyable and riveting.

Like Alpha and Omega, Cry Wolf is not perfect, but once again, I hardly cared.

There is plenty of danger, suspense and drama when Charles and Anna encounter danger in the mountains, and the threat to werewolf-kind was extremely compelling. We also learn more about the mysterious Bran and about werewolf society. The world-building is excellent, and the villains have understandable motives.

My biggest caveat is that secondary characters are present in many of the later scenes, and the romance reader in me wanted more of Charles and Anna alone. Although there was huge progress in Anna and Charles’ romance, I didn’t feel that all of Anna and Charles’ relationship issues were resolved, and I’m hoping very much that this means they will be explored further in the next two books in this series.

Because of the way I read Alpha and Omega and Cry Wolf back to back, it is also hard for me to judge how much Cry Wolf stands on its own. I think readers who skip Alpha and Omega will still be able to understand what happened in that story but since Anna and Charles’ relationship is so rich, I would hate for anyone to miss out on its beginnings.

The best romantic fiction explores what it means to love another person. The best speculative fiction explores what it means to be human. Cry Wolf does both. Yes, Cry Wolf is a ripping good yarn, but it can also be read as an allegory about the dangerous edge that we all possess at times.

I was talking to a friend the other day, and I summed up my thoughts about Alpha and Omega and Cry Wolf this way:

A lot of what makes both the novella and the novel is the tension between the wolf aspects of these people and their human aspects. There is a line Cry Wolf where Anna thinks about how all werewolves are monsters. I think part of the arc of the series is going to be about the heroine having to accept that aspect of the hero and of herself. She does not want to be a werewolf; she was changed against her will. To her, it’s a horrible thing to be, so in a way, they are books about accepting that we all have a horrible side.

And about finding love in the face of that knowledge.

A for these two.

Sincerely,

Janine

This book can be purchased in mass market from Amazon or Powells on July 29, 2008. Ebook format hopefully.

Janine Ballard loves well-paced, character driven novels in historical romance, fantasy, YA, and the occasional outlier genre. Recent examples include novels by Katherine Addison, Meljean Brook, Kristin Cashore, Cecilia Grant, Rachel Hartman, Ann Leckie, Jeannie Lin, Rose Lerner, Courtney Milan, Miranda Neville, and Nalini Singh. Janine also writes fiction. Her critique partners are Sherry Thomas, Meredith Duran and Bettie Sharpe. Her erotic short story, “Kiss of Life,” appears in the Berkley anthology AGONY/ECSTASY under the pen name Lily Daniels. You can email Janine at janineballard at gmail dot com or find her on Twitter @janine_ballard.

82 Comments

  1. roslynholcomb
    Jul 21, 2008 @ 06:56:59

    This review is very intriguing. I don’t usually do paranormals, especially shifters because of that whole ‘mating’ business. It’s kinda gross, but it seems this one has more of an emotional connection. I might check it out, but I don’t want to get caught up in some crazy series.

  2. MaryKate
    Jul 21, 2008 @ 07:44:56

    *turning pea green with envy*

    With much respect to Stephanie Meyer’s Breaking Dawn, I can’t think of a book that’s coming out this summer that I’m looking forward to.

    Thank you, Janine, for a most excellent review and for revving up my anticipation even more! I simply cannot wait to get my hands on this book!

  3. Shanna
    Jul 21, 2008 @ 08:08:15

    I was lucky enough to get a review copy of Cry Wolf and I loved it. Patricia Briggs has such a gift for story telling.

  4. Janine
    Jul 21, 2008 @ 08:51:27

    roslynholocomb — Yes, the emotional connection is very strong in both the novella and the book. I don’t usually go for werewolf books, but I loved these. To the best of my understanding, there are only two more books about Charles and Anna planned after this one.

    MaryKate — When I finished reading Alpha and Omega I was so glad that I had Cry Wolf TBR and didn’t have to wait a year for it. As it is, I’m salivating for the next Charles and Anna book and cursing the long wait I have ahead of me.

    Shanna — I agree that Briggs is a gifted storyteller.

    There is a plot about the source of the danger in the mountains that I couldn’t go into in more detail because it’s revealed later in the book and I don’t like to give away anything that happens after the first third or so if I can help it. I thought Briggs did a very good job with this part of the story as well.

    But what struck me most about Cry Wolf was the richness of the characterization and as a consequence, of Charles and Anna’s relationship. It feels very layered and complex, with not one but multiple internal conflicts within the characters’ hearts and minds.

    They clearly love, value and admire each other, which I really appreciate, but they are also thrown by how quickly these feelings developed, which I also appreciate.

    On Anna’s part, there’s not just attraction vs. fear of intimacy, but also hating that Charles sometimes has to kill while at the same time appreciating the safety that he represents. And there’s her undervaluing of herself, and her mixed feelings about the werewolf community, and about Charles being what he is and her being what she is.

    For Charles, there’s this whole control issue, of having to put a leash on his wolf’s instincts so that he can remain this cold assassin that he sometimes has to be — but Anna’s presence in his life makes that much harder. And there’s also wanting to bond with her sexually vs. not wanting to scare her. And then there are his ambivalent feelings about being his father’s executioner. He has this whole other gentle and lonely side that most people don’t see.

    I love these characters to bits and could probably go on about them all day.

  5. sallahdog
    Jul 21, 2008 @ 10:20:13

    I have this one on preorder, I am completely jealous you got to read it early… I have pretty eclectic tastes and find that I loan out or reccomend books to various friends based on their personal tastes. I have pimped this series (moon called)far and wide and so far, everyone has loved it. Even those who don’t normally like paranormals. Briggs writes a damn fine sci fi book too.

  6. Thea
    Jul 21, 2008 @ 10:28:54

    Wonderful review, Janine. I read Cry Wolf as well and love it, for many of the reasons you mention. Patricia Briggs’s characterizations are superb, I think you really explain Charles and Anna’s motivations and backstories nicely here.

    I also loved reading more about the inner-workings of pack politics and pack ‘magic’, so to speak. It’s not something that Mercy can really see in the other books (understandably, for all that she grew up with Sam and werewolves, she’s still not one of them), and I loved reading about Anna’s gradual understanding of how things work in a functioning pack, and where she fits in as an Omega wolf.

    Loved it and totally can’t wait for more :)

  7. Janine
    Jul 21, 2008 @ 10:33:01

    sallahdog — I liked Moon Called from the Mercy Thompson series a lot (gave it a B+), but I like this new Alpha and Omega series (the two series are interconnected) even more. Have you read the novella in On the Prowl? What did you think of it?

  8. Janine
    Jul 21, 2008 @ 10:39:47

    Thea — I really enjoyed the pack politics and pack magic too. I agree it was very interesting to have the insider’s view of that. I don’t think I mentioned in this review that whereas the Alpha and Omega novella in On the Prowl gives just Charles and Anna’s POVs, we get multiple POVs in Cry Wolf. It was fascinating to get Bran’s viewpoint in Cry Wolf. He is a fascinating (and sometimes scary) character.

  9. sallahdog
    Jul 21, 2008 @ 10:54:41

    lol, I have read the Alpha and Omega in “On the Prowl” so much that I had to buy another copy(I got frustrated when it was out on loan). I mentioned Moon called mainly because I do consider these part of that series, simply because they are in the same “world” with characters we know from Moon Called. Your right though, they are focused differently. Moon called being mostly from an ‘outsiders’ perspective (Mercy)…

    Briggs has a way of making her secondary characters just as interesting as her main characters, making stories about a character like Charles almost inevitable. I like that instead of trying to stuff it into the Mercy novels, she has set up another mini series. I would love for Sam and or Bran to get their own adventures some time. I could see this “worlds” series going on for a long time, yet still stay fresh.

  10. Janine
    Jul 21, 2008 @ 11:00:49

    Thea — I just read your review of Cry Wolf over at The Book Smugglers. How funny that we both have reviews of this book on the same day, especially since we’re eight days ahead of its release date.

    I really enjoyed your review and think that it does a better job of encapuslating the book than mine did. Mine was very focused on Charles and Anna’s relationship, probably because I read Alpha and Omega and Cry Wolf back-to-back, and the relationship was the common denominator in both stories. But probably also because I adored the romance so much and really wanted to discuss it.

  11. Janine
    Jul 21, 2008 @ 11:13:44

    lol, I have read the Alpha and Omega in “On the Prowl” so much that I had to buy another copy(I got frustrated when it was out on loan).

    LOL. I am on my fifth read of Alpha and Omega now, and I started it for the first time maybe ten days ago. I am dying to reread Cry Wolf more, too, but I’m going to wait until I can get my hands on a final copy. Even though I have read it, it is hard to wait until it hits the bookstore shelves.

    I mentioned Moon called mainly because I do consider these part of that series, simply because they are in the same “world” with characters we know from Moon Called. Your right though, they are focused differently.

    Briggs has a way of making her secondary characters just as interesting as her main characters, making stories about a character like Charles almost inevitable

    I only read the first Mercy book, but I don’t remember it being as relationship-focused. That makes a big difference for me, because I love to read about romantic relationships. I also really appreciate having the hero’s POV in these books. I think I am going to read the other Mercy books now, and reread Moon Called — at least the section with Charles in it. I am totally addicted to him and Anna now, and hungry for every detail.

    I would love for Sam and or Bran to get their own adventures some time.

    We get a lot of insight into Bran in Cry Wolf. Sam makes a more brief appearance, but the conversation between him and Charles is thought provoking. When I read Moon Called, Sam was not my favorite character. I was rooting for Adam. I actually liked him better in Cry Wolf than in Moon Called, though Charles is much more appealing to me.

  12. roslynholcomb
    Jul 21, 2008 @ 11:21:47

    Okay, I’m confused. Is Alpha and Omega a separate book? When I went over to Amazon to order I saw Cry Wolf which will be available at the end of the month, but I didn’t see anything about the other book. But the cover says Cry Wolf is the first book of the Alpha and Omega series.

    Is this part of an anthology? Maybe I’m really dense (doing line edits all night), but I’m not sure I want to pay $8 for an anthology where I only want to read one story.

    Ignore my previous question. A and O is part of the On the Prowl anthology. Can Cry Wolf be read and understood without reading A and O first? I know I don’t want to invest that kind of money in a novella. But I’m really intrigued by Cry Wolf.

  13. Janine
    Jul 21, 2008 @ 11:29:03

    Yes, Alpha and Omega is part of an anthology called On the Prowl. It is the prequel to Cry Wolf (I’m not sure why Cry Wolf is listed as the first book in the series, unless it’s because it’s the first novel-length work in the series), but I really recommend starting with Alpha and Omega, the anthology story.

    I haven’t read the rest of the anthology yet (I’m too obsessed with this series to enjoy anything else at the moment) but Jane reviewed On the Prowl here. I paid for On the Prowl and feel that it was more than worth $7.99, but if you’re hesitant to purchase it, you might see if your library has it or if you can get it through interlibrary loan.

  14. SusanL
    Jul 21, 2008 @ 12:07:03

    Thank you for the review(s). I loved Alpha and Omega; I’ve read it way more than 5 times :) So glad Cry Wolf is almost here. I am looking forward to seeing how Ms Briggs handles Charles’s and Anna’s issues.

    I like the Mercy Thompson series; I don’t have a problem with the focus because that is Mercy’s world and these books work in that context. But, I am looking forward to “pack politics” and seeing more of Bran.

    I do have a question. Do you know how Cry Wolf is being marketed? Amazon has it listed in SciFi/Fantasy. After reading comments here and there, it seems like some people are considering it a romance. I know many people have tried to view the Mercy Thompson books as romance and I think this is a HUGE mistake.

  15. Thea
    Jul 21, 2008 @ 12:43:22

    Janine, LOL yes when I saw that you had posted a Cry Wolf review today as well I was tickled ;) Great minds, eh?

    I found it really interesting coming from these two different perspectives, you really hit on the characters and emotional aspects of this book. I for one still say Mercy hold top dog (heh, lame pun sorry) in my heart, but the Mercy Thompson books are quite different in tone from Cry Wolf. You really understood and felt for Charles and Anna, and this came through wonderfully here in your review. I think this kind of touches on SusanL’s comment above too–while the Mercy books are less romantic and have much more of an urban fantasy feel, I think Cry Wolf will appeal more to romance and paranormal romance readers since there is this wonderful, strong relationship between Anna and Charles (in addition to the world building and magic that we have come to know and love from Ms. Briggs). That said, I believe that Cry Wolf is being marketed as SF/F though, and not as a romance.

  16. Janine
    Jul 21, 2008 @ 12:58:30

    Thank you for the review(s). I loved Alpha and Omega; I've read it way more than 5 times :)

    Give me time and maybe I’ll catch up to you. :)

    So glad Cry Wolf is almost here. I am looking forward to seeing how Ms Briggs handles Charles's and Anna's issues.

    We decided to post this review a bit early because I am going to be too busy the week that Cry Wolf comes out, but I really hope that readers come back and post their thoughts after they have read Cry Wolf. I know the blog format isn’t always conducive to that, but if any of you would like to do that, you can find our older reviews in the archives or using the search engine.

    I like the Mercy Thompson series; I don't have a problem with the focus because that is Mercy's world and these books work in that context.

    I liked Moon Called too (haven’t read Blood Bound or Iron Kissed yet) and from reading the first book at least, I don’t feel the focus of that series is off in any way. It’s the right focus for what that series is about. But these A&O books (or rather, novella and book) are different in a way that appeals to me even more.

    I do have a question. Do you know how Cry Wolf is being marketed? Amazon has it listed in SciFi/Fantasy. After reading comments here and there, it seems like some people are considering it a romance. I know many people have tried to view the Mercy Thompson books as romance and I think this is a HUGE mistake.

    I don’t know how Cry Wolf is being marketed but since it is being published under the Ace imprint (an SF/Fantasy imprint) I assume it’s as urban fantasy or just as fantasy.

    I don’t know if I would consider Cry Wolf a romance but it’s darned romantic. Much more so to me than Moon Called, but maybe not as much as Alpha and Omega. The last thirty or forty percent of Cry Wolf is very much focused on the external plot having to do with the threat to the werewolves, and Anna and Charles’ personal relationship takes a backseat for a good portion of that section of the book. So I would caution people against considering Cry Wolf a romance, too.

    I’d say that for me, Moon Called was striclty urban fantasy, while Alpha and Omega was a paranormal romance. Cry Wolf is in the middle between the two, an urban fantasy/paranormal romance blend, in my opinion, though I don’t think the publisher will label it that way.

  17. Jane
    Jul 21, 2008 @ 13:08:36

    I think Cry Wolf is very romantic and while it has urban fantasy as its core, it’s easy to see that it could have been published by Berkley and had man titty cover. :) Mercy Thompson series focuses more on her and I think Cry Wolf is a combo of the two – Anna and Charles – because part of what makes this series different is the interplay between Anna as the Omega and Charles as an Alpha and even Bram as the Pack Alpha.

  18. Janine
    Jul 21, 2008 @ 13:27:00

    I found it really interesting coming from these two different perspectives, you really hit on the characters and emotional aspects of this book. I for one still say Mercy hold top dog (heh, lame pun sorry) in my heart, but the Mercy Thompson books are quite different in tone from Cry Wolf. You really understood and felt for Charles and Anna, and this came through wonderfully here in your review.

    Thanks! The emotional and psychological aspects of the book were what I loved best about it. Charles and Anna really captured my imagination. I liked Mercy, and I’m definitely going to have to revisit that series, but Charles is easily my favorite character in this world right now.

    Is it just me, or are there also more moral dilemmas in this series than there were in Moon Called? Because that tends to be something else I love in books — characters who are faced with situations where it’s not clear what the morally right thing to do is.

    I think this kind of touches on SusanL's comment above too-while the Mercy books are less romantic and have much more of an urban fantasy feel, I think Cry Wolf will appeal more to romance and paranormal romance readers since there is this wonderful, strong relationship between Anna and Charles (in addition to the world building and magic that we have come to know and love from Ms. Briggs). That said, I believe that Cry Wolf is being marketed as SF/F though, and not as a romance.

    I am definitely more of a romance reader than a fantasy reader (most of my favorite fantasy books are the romantic ones!) and I think that has something to do with why I prefer this series. It has almost as much romance as most paranormal romances, and the romantic relationship between Charles and Anna is unusually rich, complex, layered and nuanced.

    I am very curious to see where Ms. Briggs takes this series (and that’s very unusual for me, since I rarely persist with series that follow the same characters). I hope that there will be as much romance in the subsequent books.

  19. Janine
    Jul 21, 2008 @ 13:28:50

    I think Cry Wolf is very romantic and while it has urban fantasy as its core, it's easy to see that it could have been published by Berkley and had man titty cover. :) Mercy Thompson series focuses more on her and I think Cry Wolf is a combo of the two – Anna and Charles – because part of what makes this series different is the interplay between Anna as the Omega and Charles as an Alpha and even Bram as the Pack Alpha.

    That’s very well said, Jane. We actually haven’t talked much about this book offline so I am kind of curious to hear how you liked it.

  20. roslynholcomb
    Jul 21, 2008 @ 14:22:49

    Okay, you’ve convinced me. I’ll go ahead and order from Amazon. I don’t think I’ll be doing a library any time soon. I just moved to this area, and the library is too far away. It’ll cost me $7 in gas. I’ll go ahead and order this, and pre-order the other one. By the time Cry Wolf comes out I’ll be finished with A and O. I think it’s available as an ebook.

  21. Janine
    Jul 21, 2008 @ 14:30:07

    I really hope you like it, roslyn.

  22. Thea
    Jul 21, 2008 @ 14:42:40

    Charles and Anna really captured my imagination. I liked Mercy, and I'm definitely going to have to revisit that series, but Charles is easily my favorite character in this world right now.

    I’m more of an Adam girl myself ;) But Charles is all kinds of wonderful in this book. I loved his struggle with possessiveness vs. Anna’s calming urge towards him and other males.

    Is it just me, or are there also more moral dilemmas in this series than there were in Moon Called? Because that tends to be something else I love in books -‘ characters who are faced with situations where it's not clear what the morally right thing to do is.

    I definitely agree with you on this–Cry Wolf had much more of a morally ambiguous tone to it (especially coming off of “Alpha and Omega” which felt clear-cut as well). One reason why I do love Ms. Briggs’s writing is because she ‘goes there‘–I think she explores this more fully in Blood Bound and Iron Kissed as well, and with the Vampires and Fey secondary characters.

    I am definitely more of a romance reader than a fantasy reader (most of my favorite fantasy books are the romantic ones!) and I think that has something to do with why I prefer this series. It has almost as much romance as most paranormal romances, and the romantic relationship between Charles and Anna is unusually rich, complex, layered and nuanced.

    This is totally the kind of paranormal romance I can get into ;) The romantic element is central to the storyline, but it’s also well balanced with the other components of world building, plotting, etc. I definitely think this will fly with both the more fantasy-heavy and romance-heavy readers. Heck, my blog-mate Ana is convinced she must read Cry Wolf now, and she’s more of a romance reader too :)

  23. Janine
    Jul 21, 2008 @ 15:29:07

    I'm more of an Adam girl myself ;)

    I liked Adam a lot in Moon Called and am looking forward to seeing more of him in the other Mercy books. But all things being equal, I am usually more likely to love a character if I have acesss to his or her POV. I love that aspect of reading fiction — being able to see someone else’s thought processes and emotions.

    With Charles, it’s especially fascinating, because he is so cold and lacking in expression on the outside, while being very different from that on the inside.

    But Charles is all kinds of wonderful in this book. I loved his struggle with possessiveness vs. Anna's calming urge towards him and other males.

    Yeah, that was really great. I also loved his vulnerablity. There is a really great moment toward the end when he is ready to give up and then something happens and he doesn’t. I don’t want to give it away, but I loved that.

    Is it just me, or are there also more moral dilemmas in this series than there were in Moon Called? Because that tends to be something else I love in books -‘ characters who are faced with situations where it's not clear what the morally right thing to do is.

    I definitely agree with you on this-Cry Wolf had much more of a morally ambiguous tone to it (especially coming off of “Alpha and Omega” which felt clear-cut as well).

    Agreed, but I think Alpha and Omega also had a dark side in that Anna’s situation within her pack showed that the werewolves were very dangerous. And she saw Charles as dangerous from the beginning. For all his heroism and his concern and caring for Anna, he also came acorss as lethal, in a way that many romance heroes, even those who are said to be dangerous, don’t.

    One reason why I do love Ms. Briggs's writing is because she ‘goes there’-I think she explores this more fully in Blood Bound and Iron Kissed as well, and with the Vampires and Fey secondary characters.

    Good to hear that. It makes me even more excited to read Blood Bound and Iron Kissed.

    This is totally the kind of paranormal romance I can get into ;) The romantic element is central to the storyline, but it's also well balanced with the other components of world building, plotting, etc.

    I couldn’t agree more. The world building, in particular, is very well thought out. The characters are representative of different aspects of their world, and the pack politics create interesting social dynamics.

    I definitely think this will fly with both the more fantasy-heavy and romance-heavy readers. Heck, my blog-mate Ana is convinced she must read Cry Wolf now, and she's more of a romance reader too :)

    Are you more of a fantasy reader or more of a romance reader, Thea?

  24. MaryK
    Jul 21, 2008 @ 16:19:31

    first Alpha and Omega (from the anthology On the Prowl), then Alpha and Omega again, and then again Alpha and Omega, then Cry Wolf, and then more bits and pieces of Alpha and Omega

    I know exactly what you mean! :-) I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read Alpha and Omega! I can’t wait for Cry Wolf, and I’m happy to hear it’s got some Bran POV. I, too, would love for him to have his own story.

  25. Angie
    Jul 21, 2008 @ 16:26:22

    What a great discussion. Janine, you and Thea make me so jealous with your ARCs! I’ve read all the Mercy books and “Alpha and Omega” and I’ve tried to avoid any little spoilers for Cry Wolf, but it sounds like it is just exactly as good as I was hoping it would be.

  26. Janine
    Jul 21, 2008 @ 16:27:21

    MaryK — The Bran POV stuff was very interesting, with regard to both his effects on other werewolves and his relationship with Leah. I hope you enjoy Cry Wolf and I’m fairly confident that if you loved Alpha and Omega, you will.

  27. loonigrrl
    Jul 21, 2008 @ 16:38:12

    Great review! It’s official: I am now super excited to read this book.

  28. Janine
    Jul 21, 2008 @ 16:45:07

    Angie and loonigrrl — I hope you enjoy Cry Wolf. Do come back and let me know what you thought after you’ve read it, if you’re so inclined. Something tells me I won’t be tired of talking about this one.

  29. Ciara
    Jul 21, 2008 @ 18:58:30

    But all things being equal, I am usually more likely to love a character if I have acesss to his or her POV.

    Totally agree. Love Adam, but because I never get to see his POV the love story between him and Mercy isn’t as powerful as the one between Charles and Anna. I read CRY WOLF yesterday and had the same reaction – great, great, great! Briggs has a gift in creating real characters with real emotions. I am completely emotionally invested in Anna and Charles’ relationship, and I cannot wait for the next one!

  30. orannia
    Jul 21, 2008 @ 19:32:02

    OK, if I wasn’t already hyped about this book I so am now! Thank you so much for the review Janine! WOW!

    I have ordered a copy of Cry Wolf from my local bookstore AND I’ve placed a hold at my local library. Yes I’m hedging my bets, but my copy of Lover Enshrined went missing last month while in transit. You can’t imagine how agonizing it was waiting for my copy of LE while knowing the library already had multiple copies! So…this time I am prepared :)

    orannia

  31. Thea
    Jul 21, 2008 @ 19:50:25

    I liked Adam a lot in Moon Called and am looking forward to seeing more of him in the other Mercy books. But all things being equal, I am usually more likely to love a character if I have acesss to his or her POV. I love that aspect of reading fiction -‘ being able to see someone else's thought processes and emotions.

    Ahh, the good ol’ first person versus third person POV. Both have their plusses and drawbacks–I love first person POV narration (so long as I can stand the narrator) as it gives you an unreliable narrative, and forces you really get a feel for the character. And I loves me some Mercy and her levelheaded commentary :) BUT there is something to be said for being able to climb inside other characters’s heads.

    I also loved his vulnerablity. There is a really great moment toward the end when he is ready to give up and then something happens and he doesn't. I don't want to give it away, but I loved that.

    I wholeheartedly agree Janine. For all Charles’s strength and dominance, being able to see his vulnerability is…well, endearing.

    Good to hear that. It makes me even more excited to read Blood Bound and Iron Kissed.

    Oh I’m jealous :) You have some good books to hold you over until the next Briggs novel comes out! I can’t wait to see what you think of these two.

    Are you more of a fantasy reader or more of a romance reader, Thea?

    I’m definitely more of a fantasy reader :) That said, I like my sci-fi and fantasy with a side serving of romance, and recently I’ve read some straight-up romance novels and have really enjoyed them :) I think this plays in to why I might prefer the Mercy books, which are more dark urban fantasy and with less of a focus on the romantic aspect (although it is definitely there!).

  32. Robin
    Jul 21, 2008 @ 20:07:05

    I have a question. Are the rapes narrated on page? I have gotten very choosy about books that feature violence toward female characters, especially the heroine, and need a good reason for the author to detail any of this particular sort of violence. IIRC there was a discussion about another Briggs book involving the rape of a heroine, and that makes me a bit nervous.

  33. sallahdog
    Jul 21, 2008 @ 20:54:07

    I have not read Cry wolf yet(not that Im bitter), but in On the Prowl the rape was talked about in the past tense, and in the last Mercy book, the rape was shown, but not in excrutiating detail… I am pretty squeamish about that kind of thing myself (and violence in general) and I was able to read them….

  34. Kristie(J)
    Jul 21, 2008 @ 21:50:14

    I’ve never tried Patricia Briggs, but you can bet that after this review I will! I checked and our local bookstore has some copies of On The Prowl. That should tide me over until Cry Wolf comes out.

  35. Janine
    Jul 21, 2008 @ 23:43:31

    Ciara — Glad to hear you loved it too!

    Orannia and Kristie (J) — I really hope you enjoy the books. If you feel like sharing them, I would love to hear your thoughts.

    Thea,

    Ahh, the good ol' first person versus third person POV. Both have their plusses and drawbacks-I love first person POV narration (so long as I can stand the narrator) as it gives you an unreliable narrative, and forces you really get a feel for the character. And I loves me some Mercy and her levelheaded commentary :) BUT there is something to be said for being able to climb inside other characters's heads.

    I agree that first person POV also has its strengths. It’s just that in books that deal with romantic relationships I love to be able to know what both characters are thinking. That can be done in first person as well as third, with alternating viewpoints (as in something like The Time Traveler’s Wife). And there have been romantic first person single POV books that I have loved, such as Megan Hart’s Dirty and Broken. But it’s very romantic to me to be able to get into the hero’s head when he is thinking about his feelings toward the heroine.

    You have some good books to hold you over until the next Briggs novel comes out! I can't wait to see what you think of these two.

    I don’t know if I will review them. My summer and early fall are shaping up to be unusually busy, and the books have already been reviewed here, in fact I think Iron Kissed was reviewed twice.

  36. Janine
    Jul 21, 2008 @ 23:46:15

    I have a question. Are the rapes narrated on page? I have gotten very choosy about books that feature violence toward female characters, especially the heroine, and need a good reason for the author to detail any of this particular sort of violence. IIRC there was a discussion about another Briggs book involving the rape of a heroine, and that makes me a bit nervous.

    No, in this series, the rapes are just part of Anna’s backstory and are not narrated in either Alpha and Omega or Cry Wolf.

  37. Robin
    Jul 22, 2008 @ 02:45:05

    No, in this series, the rapes are just part of Anna's backstory and are not narrated in either Alpha and Omega or Cry Wolf.

    Oh, good; thank you.

    I am pretty squeamish about that kind of thing myself (and violence in general) and I was able to read them….

    Okay; that’s good to know.

  38. Jane
    Jul 22, 2008 @ 08:36:06

    Janine

    I had to go and refresh my recollection for the discussion. One thing I noted about this book was that there was alot of duality. For example, immortality had its price in loneliness. Charles’ strength and power as the enforcer both allows him to protect Anna but could be the source of her fear as well as the fact that he must kill those who are weaker than him and sometimes they are “crying and begging.” That leaves a mark on him. Anna appears weak and she is viewed as weak by many but she is the source of immeasurable strength for the pack.

    Briggs’ skill here is showing the nuance – that for every weakness, there is a strength and vice versa. Given that the story or the series is about an “Alpha and Omega”, it’s great that the theme of the story fits so well.

    The one thing I found to be an irritant in an overall well written book is that Anna speaks short latin phrases as a small show of disobedience. It seemed kind of odd and out of place. A bit contrived.

    One other thing is that I think Briggs’ really benefits from being urban fantasy in the development of the romance. Because Anna is so damaged, sex between the two would really be jarring early on. I think if it was a “romance” that Briggs would have been pushed to have the two jumping each others’ bones but because it is UF, Anna and Charles are allowed the opportunity to get to know each other and Anna is allowed to heal.

  39. Janine
    Jul 22, 2008 @ 09:15:08

    Those are great points, Jane. I especially loved that killing left a mark on Charles. I was comparing him in my mind with Simon from Linda Howard’s Death Angel, which was the book I read just before that. I liked Death Angel, but I think I might have liked it better had Simon (also a hit man) shown a little more regret.

    I don’t get the impression that Charles has ever refused Bran’s orders (though from something he said to Anna, I think maybe he could), because he understand’s Bran’s reasoning very well and believes that what Bran wants him to do is ultimately in service of the greater good. But he hates it and wishes that things were otherwise.

    I agree with you about the Latin. I thought it didn’t seem to fit somehow — maybe the tone of it was a little too light?

    And I also think that it’s good that the characters don’t have to jump into bed and their relationship can proceed more slowly. I can’t wait to read the next book to see where Briggs takes the relationship between them (and Bran, too).

  40. Cry Wolf Reviews « Captive In Words
    Jul 22, 2008 @ 09:24:38

    […] “Once in a while there comes a book that sweeps you off your feet, a book you fall in love with so completely that it is hard to do justice to that love in a review. Alpha and Omega and Cry Wolf made me feel that way.” Dear Author […]

  41. roslynholcomb
    Jul 22, 2008 @ 17:39:39

    Wow, okay, so I braved Atlanta’s notorious traffic and Orange level smog alerts to go to my nearest Borders with 4 yo in tow. I’ll be honest, I haven’t found most of the reviews on this site to be in keeping with my taste. I read it every day, but generally take no notice of the reviews. That’s not unusual, I seldom find myself in sync with a reviewer. But Janine, I’ll have to make sure to note yours from now on. A&O is PHENOMENAL. I got it this afternoon and I’ve almost finished (it’s only 72 pages) and absolutely cannot WAIT for Cry Wolf! Keep in mind, I’d never, ever liked a shifter story before this one. I’m almost in love with Charles myself. I’ve been dying for something new to read, and this book is beyond awesome. I’ve pre-ordered CW from Amazon and it’ll be all I can do to wait for it. I haven’t said that about a book in years! I’ll have to blog about this one myself. Thank you so much Janine.

  42. sallahdog
    Jul 22, 2008 @ 19:59:25

    Ros, I am so happy you liked it… I have found from loaning out this book, that a lot of people who don’t normally love shifter or paranormal books did enjoy this story and even enjoyed the Moon Called series.. She is one of my favorite authors to pimp. My husband likes them too, and insists on being second in line when Briggs books come out (usually he is 4th in line)

  43. Janine
    Jul 22, 2008 @ 21:06:16

    Roslyn, you have made my day! How exciting that this is the first shifter story that you have loved. I’m never sure my recommendations will work for others so when one of them is a big hit with someone else it is really thrilling. I agree that Alpha and Omega is phenomenal. And I know what you mean about Charles — it is hard not to fall for him. I hope very much that you enjoy Cry Wolf too. As I was saying above, it’s somewhat more urban fantasy than A&O.

    As for my other reviews, you can find them in the archives under “Janine.” I hope they work out, though it’s unlikely that all of them will (even with my friends who have similar tastes, we don’t agree on everything). But whether or not they do, I am so glad that this one did!

  44. Jane
    Jul 23, 2008 @ 08:05:11

    Briggs is a great great writer. In fact, if you like her heroes, you really have to try the Hurog series: Dragon Bones and Dragon Blood. Keishon did a review of both books and maybe I’ll do them too someday but even though these two books are told from the hero point of view, they are some of my favorite stories.

  45. Janine
    Jul 23, 2008 @ 12:03:40

    I love Keishon’s blog, but I can’t for the life of me find that post. My kingdom for a search engine!

  46. Robin
    Jul 23, 2008 @ 12:27:10

    Is this it? I did a Google search for Dragon Bones and avid reader. I actually prefer to search blog archives on Google because with specific terms you can usually capture the blog post in the first or second position on Google results.

  47. Robin
    Jul 23, 2008 @ 12:30:30

  48. Janine
    Jul 23, 2008 @ 12:35:16

    Thanks, Robin.

  49. Patricia Briggs
    Jul 23, 2008 @ 13:29:39

    Janine, thank you for the wonderful review. This book gave me fits to write — I haven’t had so much trouble since my second book. By the time I’d finished with the last major revision, I thought it was ready for print . . . but my confidence was shot. You can’t know what it meant to read your review, I don’t know that I’ve ever been happier.

    Of course, everyone who read it won’t like it. I don’t need everyone to like it. Someone is good enough for me .

    Jane — as it happens I agree with you about the Latin, and I’ll phase it out gradually, ease it in once or twice a book, or actually learn some so I don’t have to be so intrusive with it. However, it was the Latin that saved this book for me and gave me a handle on Anna’s character — she presented me with a worse time than she will give Charles and that’s saying something. The Latin thing let her be a little defiant, without being stupid. Once I had her character, I could have taken the Latin out . . . and would have with another edit. But by that time I was already a full book behind schedule. Cry Wolf got turned in, as I recall, at the same time Bone Crossed — the next book– was due. My editor, Anne Sowards, is awesome — but she has to answer to other people. Alas, to misquote someone else, “A book is never finished, just abandoned.”
    Best,
    Patty

  50. Janine
    Jul 23, 2008 @ 13:52:32

    Hi Ms. Briggs,

    It really is a terrific book. What you say about the Latin is such an interesting insight into your writing process. Anna came out as a complex, three-dimensional and endearing character so the problems she gave you don’t show.

    Do you know yet when the next Anna and Charles book will be published?

  51. Patricia Briggs
    Jul 23, 2008 @ 15:30:21

    Hi Janine,
    I’m very very glad you liked it :) The next Anna and Charles book is scheduled for August of 2009. That’s assuming I finish Bone Crossed and the next book by this coming February. Bone Crossed, I am happy to report, is coming along much easier than Cry Wolf (or Iron Kissed for that matter). Even if getting the official cover for it in the mail today has put a lot of pressure on because I have to come up with a story worthy of that cover. Man oh man can Daniel Dos Santos paint.
    Best,
    Patty

  52. Janine
    Jul 23, 2008 @ 15:58:59

    Thanks! I am dying to read more about Anna and Charles, but I’m also willing to wait longer for a good book. I just saw the cover of Bone Crossed at your website — very nice.

    Also, I just thought of another question. Do you see the Alpha and Omega series as open ended, or will it wrap up within the next two books?

  53. Patricia Briggs
    Jul 23, 2008 @ 17:52:52

    I think this is an open ended series. I prefer to write stand-alone books, if possible (because of the events in Iron Kissed, Bone Crossed is going to require more than usual reference to the last book, my apologies). But what that means for both the Mercy books and the Alpha and Omega (Anna and Charles) books is that I can keep going for as long as I’m having fun and you’re having fun.
    Patty

  54. Janine
    Jul 23, 2008 @ 18:01:51

    Thanks, Patty. Hopefully the fun will continue for a long time.

  55. MaryK
    Jul 24, 2008 @ 13:03:49

    But what that means for both the Mercy books and the Alpha and Omega (Anna and Charles) books is that I can keep going for as long as I'm having fun and you're having fun.

    We’re definitely having fun!

  56. bettie
    Jul 25, 2008 @ 00:08:49

    I’ve heard so many good things about Patricia Briggs’ books that right now the main thing keeping me from picking one up is the fear that I’ll go on a series binge and buy them all (breaking my book budget, yet again.) Still, this review is making me think of all sorts of reasons why I ought to take myself to the bookstore this weekend. After all, I do need something to read on the flight up to San Francisco, right? Just one…

  57. Janine
    Jul 25, 2008 @ 11:22:03

    Bettie — While the Mercy Thompson series and the Alpha and Omega series use the same world and have some crossover characters, they can be read seperately from each other. So if you start with the Alpha and Omega story in the On the Prowl anthology, you’ll just have Cry Wolf to read after it comes out (three days from now). Two books isn’t that much, is it?

    Alternatively you could start with Moon Called but that would get you into a three book (so far) series…

  58. Miki
    Jul 25, 2008 @ 19:30:25

    I heart Patricia Briggs’ wolfie books. I’m going to have to bite the bullet and try to read the ones that look more like “regular” fantasy (which is not one of my preferred genres, normally).

    Oh, and I saw this on presale (Mobi only, dammit) at BooksonBoard yesterday. Fingers crossed for eReader at Fictionwise soon!

  59. Michelle
    Jul 27, 2008 @ 20:14:03

    You guys actually got me to buy a werewolf book knowingly – your review followed by seeing a big display for Cry Wolf at Barnes and Noble on Saturday night. (I’ve read the Twilight books but didn’t know there were werewolves in it when I started. I find the concept of changing into an animal and back kind of off-putting.) I just read Cry Wolf and liked it.

    I’m primarily a romance reader, and I think I may have missed out on some of Janine’s joy in CW because I had not read Alpha and Omega. I wasn’t confused by the story – I just didn’t “feel” it like Janine seemed to. All the characters were interesting, I liked the ones I was supposed to like, great conflicts, – I just didn’t get as lost in the novel or feel/love it as I wanted to. I’ve read very little sci fi/fantasy though – though I’m getting much more into it than I ever was. I’m still debating whether I should try one of the Mercy books.

  60. Janine
    Jul 27, 2008 @ 21:43:21

    Hi Michelle, I’m so glad you liked Cry Wolf!

    All the characters were interesting, I liked the ones I was supposed to like, great conflicts, – I just didn't get as lost in the novel or feel/love it as I wanted to.

    That was how I felt about Moon Called (the first Mercy book), but with Alpha and Omega and with Cry Wolf, I was totally swept up in the story. I don’t know if I would have felt the same way had I not read Alpha and Omega first. Maybe I would have, or maybe not — it’s impossible to know.

    I’ve now read Alpha and Omega six times and Cry Wolf two and a half times. Alpha and Omega was the most romantic and relationship focused, but it was also short, and Charles and Anna’s characters are expanded upon and developed more in Cry Wolf. I fell in love with them and their relationship in A&O and enjoyed CW almost as much because it gave me the opportunity to see more of them and learn more about them. I am hungry for every detail and can’t wait for the next book.

    My review and grade are for both works taken together — it’s hard for me to separate them in my mind because of the way I read them, and I suspect it makes a big difference to read A&O first. I might still have loved CW even if I hadn’t begun with A&O, but I have a richer, fuller picture of Charles and Anna’s relationship and the dynamics between them as a result of reading both. So I recommend that readers start at the beginning if they can.

  61. Michelle
    Jul 28, 2008 @ 09:40:39

    Wow! 6 times? It sounds like Alpha and Omega must be an amazing story! I may have to do what was almost unthinkable to me – buy an anthology about werewolves. I did find Charles and Anna’s relationship interesting in Cry Moon.

    I’m still going back and forth between whether my reaction is because I missed A&O or something about the writing, so it is helpful to know that you had a similar reaction to Moon Called as I did to Cry Moon.

  62. Janine
    Jul 28, 2008 @ 11:23:12

    Wow! 6 times? It sounds like Alpha and Omega must be an amazing story!

    It is to me, and Roslyn seems to think so too, but I can’t guarantee that you’d have the same response. Jane gave it a B-, but I thought it was fabulous. And I’ve never been all that keen on werewolves before, either.

  63. roslynholcomb
    Jul 29, 2008 @ 15:32:38

    I’ve officially read A&O at least five times. And today I did something I almost never do–I actually went to a brick and mortar bookstore. At first Borders said they didn’t have it, but something about the look on my face (95 degrees outside, hellish traffic, 4 yo in tow) must’ve convinced them otherwise. Anyway, I’ve finally got my copy. Husband has been warned, no dinner or laundry tonight. He and the youngun are on their own!

  64. Janine
    Jul 29, 2008 @ 16:23:21

    Great! I found a final copy at B&N, too, but I can’t reread more at the moment because I’ve loaned them both out. I hope you enjoy Cry Wolf, Roslyn. It is pretty different from A&O. I would love to hear your thoughts.

    BTW, Keishon has a great interview with Patricia Briggs up on her blog.

  65. sallahdog
    Jul 31, 2008 @ 10:04:32

    happy sigh… got mine yesterday and read it… I really liked it. Its definately a book I am going to read again and again and need to read soon, because I probably missed some stuff..

    First impressions, Bran makes a lot more sense now, and I will love to see more of him, and it even makes Leah interesting (the romantic in me wants to see them resolve stuff)…

    The love story of Charles and Anna was really handled well, unlike so many romantic novels where the couple get from point A to Point Z very quickly, they are still working out issues at the end of the book… I thought it rather refreshing..

    One of the things I like best about this book, is that while its obviously going to be a series, the book felt complete, at a good stopping place at the end… This has become a HUGE issue for me with some authors these days, to the point that I have quit reading a few of them because of it.. I hate a book that ends in a cliffhanger (by the way, thanks Ms. Briggs for putting a couple of pages of the new Mercy book it, it helped clear that little annoying cliffhanger at the end of Iron Kissed, lol).

    I liked most of it, my problems were small and I cried like a mutha at the final fight scene.. Damn.. I loved the character of Walter..(thats all I am going to say on the subject, forest gump)

  66. Janine
    Jul 31, 2008 @ 12:18:49

    Sallahdog, I’m so glad you enjoyed Cry Wolf! Agree with you about Bran and Leah — I too would like to see them resolve their issues and I also wonder if what Bran is trying to do in that relationship isn’t going to backfire someday.

    Agree with you about Charles and Anna — and I so want to read more about them! I also liked that the book felt complete, and loved Walter, so we are in agreement on just about everything!

  67. Shanna
    Jul 31, 2008 @ 12:28:35

    So, I just read Alpha and Omega since I loved Cry Wolf. Loved A & O too, sorta wish I would have read that first. Oh well. I can’t wait to read more!

  68. Cry Wolf by P. Briggs | Literary Escapism
    Jul 31, 2008 @ 21:12:40

    […] The Book Smuggler Natuschan Angieville AvidBookReader & Interview with P. Briggs Ciaralira Dear Author Kicks and […]

  69. roslynholcomb
    Jul 31, 2008 @ 21:58:41

    OHMIGOD, this book was so good. It took me two days to read it only because I didn’t want it to end! I’m so mad that I don’t have the next book in my happy little hands.

    Okay, I love the relationship between Charles and Anna. The way he wooed her, protected her, but didn’t dominate her. Yes, he’s an uber alpha male, but with her he shows his humanity and that is so incredibly fabulous. One of the reasons I’ve avoided shifter stories in the past is that whole alpha male thing just skeeves me the hell out. I just want to whack them upside the head.

    This book is a ROMANCE, in the truest sense of the word. Charles and Anna are the most romantic couple I’ve read in a long time. This book had a courtship. You can see this couple falling in love which is essential in a romance novel for me.

    Next thing is, though it’s a paranormal, it’s mostly about characters and their story. Yeah, all this freaky paranormal stuff is going on, but it’s not so distracting that you lose the core of the story.

    I’m intrigued as hell by Bran and want to see his story ASAP. He is really an interesting character.

    I could go on and on, but must go off and check out Briggs’s backlist. I usually can’t abide first-person, but I might just have to try some of them anyway.

  70. Janine
    Aug 01, 2008 @ 00:00:43

    I’m so glad you enjoyed them so much, Roslyn! And I agree with all you said. Charles is wonderful and the book is super romantic. I’m rereading Moon Called right now and there are appearances by Charles, Bran and a lot more of Samuel in it. I don’t love it like I do the Charles and Anna stories but it’s still a darned good book.

  71. MaryK
    Aug 06, 2008 @ 22:08:00

    I started reading Cry Wolf late Saturday night, couldn’t put it down, and didn’t stop until I finished it in the wee hours. Now, I’ll have to read it again because I started losing concentration toward the end – poor reading habits and counterproductive, too.

    I loved the book and Charles, but IMO Bran stole the book from him at the end. I hope she writes about Bran and Leah soon. I really disliked Leah before (because of how she treated Mercy), but now I totally get her and want her to have a happy ending. Kudos to Briggs for turning an unsympathetic character into a potential heroine. Also, major points for the Beowulf tie-in.

  72. Janine
    Aug 06, 2008 @ 22:26:06

    It’s great to hear you enjoyed Cry Wolf so much, MaryK. Bran is a fascinating character and I would love to read more about him, but I don’t love him the way I do Charles — so I can’t say he managed to steal the book. I do hope to read more about him and Leah as well — it is such an interesting relationship with a lot of romantic potential.

  73. MaryK
    Aug 06, 2008 @ 23:05:59

    I can't say he managed to steal the book.

    Well, I’m a sucker for heroes who are deceptively beta-like. :) Then there’s the marriage of convenience, not to mention the beserker issue. (Remember Warprize?) ;) You get the idea. Don’t get me wrong, I love Charles. But Bran pushes more of my buttons.

  74. Janine
    Aug 06, 2008 @ 23:14:33

    Ah, well, when you put it that way, it’s hard not to understand. But Charles pushes more of mine. Bran is a little too cold (though it’s possible I could change my mind about that if I got a whole book about him). If Patricia Briggs ever comes out with a book him and Leah, I am totally there.

    But for the moment, I love Charles more. I love his blend of tenderness and ruthlessness. I have a thing for assassin heroes, and Anna and Charles’ relationship is a lot like a marriage of convenience too, in the way they got sucked into it by their wolf aspects in a day and a half. I love the way the conflict in their relationship is set up — not just that Charles is patient with Anna’s need to take things slowly, but that his patience costs him and exacts a toll. The way he reigns in his wolf’s possessiveness for her is soooo romantic to me. And then there is his moral conflict in regards to the killing he does for Bran. The fact that he hates it but still does it makes him so much more interesting than the majority of heroes who kill without any regrets.

  75. MaryK
    Aug 07, 2008 @ 00:52:59

    Charles is definitely a prize.

    The way he wooed her, protected her, but didn't dominate her. Yes, he's an uber alpha male, but with her he shows his humanity and that is so incredibly fabulous.

    Briggs is really good at characterization and there’s a vividness to her writing that just draws me in. I like her books as well as I like any romance novel, and I generally prefer romance as a genre over anything else. (I don’t even miss the sex [much].) She’s one of the writers that I think of as Romantics in the art movement sense.

    PS. “Bran is a little too cold” – In the Mercy books, I found him fascinating but wasn’t really won over until Cry Wolf where he has more “screen” time and we get to see his internal motivation.

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  77. joanne
    Aug 20, 2009 @ 07:52:33

    Janine I beg your indulgence for being so childish & demanding but when are you going to review Hunting Ground?

    It’s because I can’t get the grin off my face after reading this newest Alpha & Omega book. I’m so pleased that your review of the first two books made me seek them out and I soooooooooo loved this newest one!

    On your list of to be reviewed?

  78. Janine
    Aug 20, 2009 @ 08:45:34

    Right now my review of Hunting Ground is scheduled to run on Monday at 1PM EST/4PM Pacific. It is always possible that the timing will get changed slightly, though.

    Glad you are enjoying the series!

  79. Anita Chax
    Aug 24, 2009 @ 08:52:25

    Wouldn’t have picked up Cry wolf and On the Prowl if it weren’t for this review. Wow. Wow. What a writer, what superfreakinglyawesome series. Wow. Thank you, Janine. Wow.

  80. Janine
    Aug 24, 2009 @ 09:01:53

    You’re so welcome, Anita! I’m glad you loved these too! Barring anything unforeseen, my review of Hunting Ground will be running this afternoon.

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