Alpha & Omega, Book 1
Published August, 2008
ACE, Mass Market paperback, 294 p.
From the back....
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's 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 the pack...
I'm in a bit of a quandary over Cry Wolf. The short story (in the On the Prowl anthology) was fabulous. Quick paced and full of all the action I've come to expect from the Mercy-verse. However, in Cry Wolf the pace seemed to lag. Don't get me wrong. I loved seeing more of Bran and Charles, but it became predictable in places.
Take Leah for example. We first come across her royal bitchiness in Moon Called - as she's chasing Mercy through the woods - and from what had been said, we knew that she was motivated by her hatred of Mercy because a) she's a coyote, b) Mercy has a special place in Bran, Charles and Samuel's life, and c) she can still have children. Simple, and sticks with what we know of her. In Cry Wolf though, she could have been so much more. Instead Leah was wasted in just furthering Anna and Charles' inner anxieties. She's Bran's mate/wife for goodness sakes, yet she's used as no more than a footnote in the book.
But despite the annoying use of Leah, we did get to encounter the wonderfully complex Asil. He's quickly became one of my favourite characters in the Mercy-verse. The backstory Ms. Briggs established for him, and his involvement in the action are vital to whether or not this story worked. Congratulations all round for giving us such a wounded warrior!
In Moon Called we only saw Charles for brief moments yet it was obvious that he was a much different wolf to Samuel. And thank God! Portrayed as the ultimate assassin for the Marrock, Charles' displays of vulnerability are very much unexpected yet appreciated. Anna delves below the facade that Charles puts up between himself and the world - even Bran - and in return we see Anna slowly blossom as she discovers her own strengths and worth. It is beautiful to watch this wounded wolf discover herself.
Bran is the real surprise in Cry Wolf. Seemingly invincible, we explore the secret past that Bran has been struggling to hide - even from himself - and how this has led to his relationship with Leah. There is a reason for her presence in their pack, and Bran's bed. And Samuel makes a brief return to the fold and even though he's only around for a few scenes, he's always a welcome addition.
There are a few surprises for everyone, including what happens on the remote mountainside in Montana. I don't want to give away any spoilers, so I'll just say that we meet a fallen warrior who redeems himself, and a nasty piece of work from Asil's past that threatens to set off a chain of events that could have tragic consequences for all the Marrock pack.
So, while I have grouched about some aspects of the book, I still consider it a great book. If you loved reading Mercy, then you'll have to include this in your reading pile. A great start to a spin-off series.