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

Content warning-both the book and my review contain mentions of assault, sexual and otherwise, if you prefer not to read about such topics, you might prefer another book. Cry Wolf also contains references to self-harm.

I was surprised to find that I had no review posted of Cry Wolf on this site, so I decided to write one after my most recent re-read. My opinion is definitely biased by the fact that I’ve been reading the Mercy Thompson series (set in the same world with some overlapping characters) since before the Alpha & Omega series was published, and I’ve been reading both of them ever since. If you were intrigued by the Mercy Thompson or Alpha & Omega series, Cry Wolf could be a good entry point, though especially in the later books of both series the plots become intertwined, and spoilers will be present for one series or another if you attempt to read one series in its entirety, and then the other.

Without further ado, here’s my review of Cry Wolf.


Cover

The cover might suggest slightly more of a horror feel than the books warrant, but I appreciate the lack of shirtless men or swooning women

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.

It is recommended you read the prequel “Alpha & Omega” before reading Cry Wolf.


Reading this book after Burn Bright (and before Wild Sign, but there’s no word on my pre-order so I can’t say yet how long it will take for me to receive and review the book) really brought home how planned Patricia Briggs’s series must be—Cry Wolf has foreshadowing for both the Mercy Thompson and Alpha & Omega books, with threads that only came into the open in the most recent additions to both series.

Reading Cry Wolf was a fun, quick way to get an overview of (most) members of the Marrok pack, and the dynamics present there. I don’t like how normalised sexual assault is in fiction, but as it’s a horrifyingly common experience, I understand authors wanting to provide examples in fiction of survivors thriving despite their past. Even though Anna’s recovery from long-term abuse is magically speeded a little, the compassion shown to her trauma—by Charles and the other characters—is nice to see.

I also like the world-building made possible through Anna’s abilities, and both her place and Charles’s in the pack structure. I love Asil as a character, and this book is the one that solidifies him as an important character in the Alpha & Omega books. I think Bran and Charles both also get a chance to be more nuanced characters in this series than the Mercy Thompson novels, and it’s very interesting being able to see them in different lights. In contrast Samuel, who is a major character in the Mercy series, rarely appears in the Alpha & Omega novels; Cry Wolf being something of an exception.

I appreciated Anna’s determination to work on her abilities in both this book and the rest of the Alpha & Omega series. I’m trying to avoid directly comparing this series to the Mercy Thompson books, as I truly enjoy both, but it is a nice change from Mercy’s more chaotic approach.

I was also reminded of how refreshing it is, despite insinuations from other characters, that there is no love triangle/competing love interests in the Alpha & Omega novels. Anna loves Charles, and he loves her. There’s no angst or question there. Especially in the realm of paranormal romance/mystery, it’s a nice change of pace.

Even looking at Cry Wolf without the additional benefit of context, it stands alone as an interesting read, even on my third or fourth reading. The plot is compelling, the setting truly becomes a part of the tension in the book, and there’s a bevy of believable and unexpected threats and well-developed characters. I’d recommend this book to fans of Ilona Andrews’s Kate Daniels series, Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate, Molly Harper’s Naked Werewolf books or Shelly Laurenston’s Pride or Magnus Pack series.

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