Series Review: Alpha & Omega by Patricia Briggs

Over the past few months I’ve discovered something about myself: I am a latent marathon series reader. In order to keep my reviews fresh (and not dominated by one author for a month) I thought rather than reviewing each book individually I could do a few “series reviews.”

Cry WolfCry Wolf by Patricia Briggs (Alpha & Omega #1)

Genre: URBAN FANTASY

Publisher: Ace on July 29, 2008

Source: Bought

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Anna never knew werewolves existed, until the night she survived a violent attack… and became one herself.

The first book in the series begins in media res or “in the middle of things,” after Anna and Charles have already met and realized they’re mates. Things are tense and uncertain between them – although it’s obvious they have an instinctual desire to protect and care for one another, they’re still complete strangers. The awkwardness is made worse by the fact that Anna barely knows anything about being a werewolf, let alone how to use her abilities as an Omega. But slowly Anna learns how to help other wolves and a tentative affection blossoms between her and Charles…until a rogue werewolf starts killing people, a black witch shows up, and all hell breaks loose.

As much as I love this universe (fans of the Mercy Thompson books know it well), I thought the real star of the show was Anna and Charles’ relationship. The two lovers are so different but somehow it works perfectly. Charles has a push and pull relationship with his wolf side, Brother Wolf. There are many times when Charles is compelled by logic to act in ways that may be more socially acceptable, but won’t get him what he wants – that’s when Brother Wolf pipes up and tells him to get his muzzle on straight and go for the kill (sometimes literally). Anna’s relationship with her wolf is considerably more complicated since she was never taught how to properly connect with that side of herself; when her wolf takes over, it’s usually to protect Anna’s psyche from the trauma of her past.

Anna’s confidence in herself and her strength as a wolf grows in leaps and bounds. I loved seeing her come out of her shell and realize that she is powerful in her own right, but there’s still a long way to go.

Hunting Ground by Patricia BriggsHunting Ground by Patricia Briggs (Alpha & Omega #2)

Genre: URBAN FANTASY

Publisher: Ace on August 25, 2009

Source: Bought

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Anna Latham didn’t know how complicated life could be until she became a werewolf.

HUNTING GROUND picks up only a few months after the events of CRY WOLF, with Anna and Charles being sent to Seattle to preside over an international wolf conference. The topic of the conference? The impending “coming out” of the werewolves to human society. Fans of Briggs’ work will know that this was also a significant plot point in the Mercy Thompson series, so it’s nice to get an idea of what the political machinations behind that decision looked like. I was pleasantly surprised by how present the Fae were in this instalment; they added to the tension and atmosphere of barely restrained violence that permeated the text.

Charles and Anna are still getting used to their mate bond, but they’re clearly in love and made for each other. While their relationship takes a necessary back seat to the plot, I really appreciated the developments we saw between them. Particularly impressive was their maturity: when one of them gets jealous or possessive there isn’t any petty behaviour or refusal to communicate, but rather a calm discussion about it in private. Is there anything more satisfying in a romantic sub-plot than two adults, acting like adults? Not in my eyes!

I would’ve liked to see a tougher version of the Anna we saw in the first book, but I guess that’s a bit unrealistic given the short time span between the two books.

Fair Game by Patricia BriggsFair Game by Patricia Briggs (Alpha & Omega #3)

Genre: URBAN FANTASY

Publisher: Ace on March 6, 2012

Source: Bought

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They say opposites attract. And in the case of werewolves Anna Latham and Charles Cornick, they mate.

FAIR GAME takes place several years after HUNTING GROUND, with the werewolves now fully “out” in human society. The increased scrutiny the werewolves are under has required Charles to do even more damage control than usual, and the killing is really wearing on him. To give Charles a break, the Marrok sends him and Anna to Boston where the duo will be helping the FBI track down a serial killer who’s been targeting werewolves. I really enjoyed the forensic thriller vibes of this one, especially with the introduction of new character FBI agent Leslie Fisher. Agent Fisher has a very interesting history with the Fae and I’ve got a feeling that she’s going to be an ally for the North American werewolves.

The character development in FAIR GAME was seriously on point. Charles has always been a bit of an enigma, but I feel like I understand him a lot more now. Briggs does such a fantastic job of making him seem quietly dominant and invulnerable that I forgot how much was going on under the surface; turns out he and Anna are more alike than I would’ve thought. As in all things, Anna is right beside Charles in terms of character growth.  She takes charge during the investigation, managing the humans, werewolves, and Fae around her like a pro. It was also unbelievably satisfying to see her take back her power and kick some bad guy ass when the situation calls for it. She’s come a long way since the first book, that’s for sure!

The ending of this book blew my mind. Patricia Briggs has really upped the ante with this one, and I didn’t see it coming at all. I need to know what’s going to happen next! I think it’s safe to say that I’m howling for the sequel, Dead Heat. Get it? Howling?…I’ll show myself out.

Are you a fan of Patricia Briggs? What do you think of Anna and Charles? And the most important question of all: if you were a werewolf, would you rather be an Omega or an Alpha?

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