I got it! I got it, and I read it, and I should’ve put this review up on Wednesday but I got distracted re-reading the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews instead, so here we are.
As always, through discussing this book there may be unavoidable spoilers for previous books in the series, or the interconnected Mercy Thompson series. If you haven’t read them I don’t know why you’d read this review, but do so at your own risk.
There are also the usual trigger warnings for mentions of sexual and physical abuse, but there’s also elder abuse and incest mentions in this one. If you’d prefer to avoid any of these topics, Wild Sign will not be for you.
Mated werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham must discover what could make an entire community disappear — before it’s too late — in this thrilling entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling Alpha and Omega series.
In the wilds of the Northern California mountains, all the inhabitants of a small town have gone missing. It’s as if the people picked up and left everything they owned behind. Fearing something supernatural might be going on, the FBI taps a source they’ve consulted in the past: the werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham. But Charles and Anna soon find a deserted town is the least of the mysteries they face.
Death sings in the forest, and when it calls, Charles and Anna must answer. Something has awakened in the heart of the California mountains, something old and dangerous — and it has met werewolves before.
I usually think that Patricia Briggs handles the sensitive topics covered in this series well, Anna’s history affects the way she approaches situations/is affected by them, but the horrible situations included in this book seemed at times unnecessary. Nothing graphic happens on-page, but the variety of abuses that are integral to the plot of Wild Sign made it a much less fun book for me to get through than I was used to. Much like some of the events in Iron Kissed make me want to skip the book on re-reads of the series, I feel like Wild Sign might be a book that I avoid re-reading (or skip chunks on in re-reads) because of some of the narrative choices that were made.
I was glad that the book didn’t go where I thought it was for a while, and I thought the nursing home mentioned in this novel was an interesting setting that I wouldn’t be surprised to see referenced in future books. I was glad to get more of an insight into Leah’s background and character in this book, and I think some of the developments that came about in Wild Sign will make for some intriguing character developments in future novels, in both the Alpha & Omega series and the Mercy Thompson books.
Speaking of major developments, how about that epilogue? It makes sense that something big was coming in that area, and I liked the thought that was put into various options, but I have to admit I didn’t expect things to come about the way they did. I refuse to spoil such a huge moment via a review, so I should stop writing about it now, but that twist ending left me buzzing in excitement for the next book in either series, because the ripple effects from the epilogue (much like the conclusion of Fair Game) should be huge.
I was so hung up on all the implications of the conclusion of the book, that I almost forgot how Anna and Charles came to know of the situation in the first place, and everything that suggests might happen. I like the way Patricia Briggs concludes books solidly, while still carrying over believable antagonists. Instead of having a villain survive in increasingly probable ways*, one situation is dealt with, but the larger force that caused it is often still very much a factor. I’m in favour of solid endings, but I also like the more realistic acknowledgement that some problems are too complex to overcome with some personal growth, sleep deprivation, and physical pain.
I thought the plot of Wild Sign was a compelling one, and it’s only through writing this review that I realised how much is uncovered in this book. It was also through Wild Sign that I became aware of The Hu. I didn’t know Mongolian folk metal was a thing, but I like it.
Anna and Charles’s relationship, as always, is well-written and lovely. I didn’t like the way Bran’s behaviour was treated in this book, but I wish Charles was a little more assertive towards his father in general, so I suppose it’s in character. Tag was a fun addition to this book, and the rest stop/general store that he led Anna and Charles to at the beginning of this book was a fun addition to the world.
Overall, despite the dark moments in Wild Sign, it does a lot for the series and I would still recommend it for fans of the Alpha & Omega and Mercy Thompson series’. I wouldn’t recommend it to newcomers for a few reasons, but mostly because there are huge spoilers for previous books, and without context a lot of the character moments in Wild Sign would lose their significance.
*I like the Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh, and Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim series but it does get tiring at times