Published 2008 294 pages
Summary (from the book Jacket)
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 Anna is not only 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…
Cry Wolf is the first novel in a new series, called Alpha and Omega, by popular fantasy author Patricia Briggs. The Alpha and Omega series is a spin off from the Mercy Thompson urban fantasy novels - only concentrating on the adventures of Charles and Anna, members America’s number one werewolf pack, rather than on the (mis)adventures of Mercy Thompson.
Unlike the Mercy Thompson novels Cry Wolf is written in third person mostly from the perspective of Anna (an abused Omega werewolf that Charles rescued from a pack of werewolves in Chicago) but with occasional changes in point of view as the story requires. The story starts just after Anna and Charles have met, and their wolves have mated, but doesn’t go back to tell readers what actually happened when the pair first met. Charles has bullet wounds, and the Alpha of the Chicago pack is dead, so we know that there was a nasty fight but that’s about it. I spent the entire time I was reading Cry Wolf waiting for a flashback that never came.
Without a flashback, the reader shares Anna’s sense of bewilderment at having her life turned upside down by Charles and her uncertainty about their future together. While their werewolf counterparts mated the instant they met, Anna’s human side is reluctant to commit to Charles and their human partnership is left in doubt. For me this made Cry Wolf feel like more of a paranormal romance than an urban fantasy novel.
While vampires, witches, fairies and shapeshifters are all a part of this fantasy world, Cry Wolf concentrates firmly on the werewolves - namely Charles, Anna and Bran (Charles’s father and the Marrok, alpha of all the North American werewolf packs.) Apart from a witch who practises black magic there are no other supernatural beings apart from werewolves in Cry Wolf and certainly no vampires. This is again a major difference to the Mercy Thompson novels where the diverse range of supernatural creatures gives the stories a real urban fantasy edge.
Most of Cry Wolf focuses on Charles and Anna’s burgeoning relationship. Anna’s suffered three years of abuse and the hands of her last alpha and is naturally scared and apprehensive about her feelings for Charles. Charles has been the enforcer (read sanctioned assassin) for the Marrok, for a couple of hundred years. He is a strong alpha werewolf whose job it is to kill rogue werewolves and other threats to his father’s authority. The pair would have plenty of relationship issues to work through even without Bran needing Charles to investigate rumours of a Rogue werewolf in Montana’s Cabinet wilderness area as soon as he gets Anna home. The resulting trip to through the frigid winter wilderness to hunt the rogue provides a page-turning fantasy action plotline for the story.
Cry Wolf is an exciting fantasy story and Patricia Briggs’s fast-paced plotting and believable, engaging characters are guaranteed to draw readers into her Alpha and Omega world but for me it sits uneasily somewhere between an urban fantasy novel and romance story and doesn’t quite manage to deliver either. It will be interesting to see where the author will take the next book in this series and if the series will become more urban fantasy orientated or whether the romance plotline will still dominate. Either way there is plenty here for Patricia Briggs’s legion of fans to enjoy – even if the story doesn’t have any vampires in it.
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