This is a review of the first three books in the Alpha & Omega series by Patricia Briggs. To read more about each book, click these links:
These books were sent by the publisher for my review.
Patricia Briggs is a very well known author. Her Mercy Thompson books are some of my favorite urban fantasy books out there – a real heroine, loveable relationships, fantastic secondary characters, and a world that is fantastically created. There isn’t really anything about that series that I don’t like.
I was really, really nervous about reading her spinoff Alpha & Omega series. Generally spinoff series don’t really do anything for me, and I read that this one was more romance focused, which I’m not very big on. However, the mood hit me. I wanted to read something a bit lighter, but something I knew I would enjoy. Patricia Briggs to the rescue.
I should say that apparently there is a short story involving Anna that can be very helpful to read before you start book one. I did not read said short story/novella before I started the series. I don’t really feel like I missed out on anything. Briggs is good about dropping enough cues and information about her past to give readers a solid foundation for Anna’s character. Though, if you’re a reader who likes to be prepared, you might want to hunt that story out and read it before you start Cry Wolf. In fact, it seems like the events in Cry Wolf start out right after the events in the story end – which might be information worth noting for potential readers.
Alpha & Omega is very different than Mercy Thompson. Some of the characters overlap, but the secondary, and more background characters that passingly get mentioned in her other series get highlighted here. The fact that most of the book centers around Charles, Bran, and their politically powerful pack gives the world that Briggs has created a bit more diversity, a bit more of a dynamic. A lot of the pack politics and hierarchy are mentioned in Mercy’s books, but since Mercy is a coyote, and Anna and Charles both are, they are a bit heavier, more important, and more fleshed out here.
Yes, this series is a bit more romance focused. While I thought that would bother me, it really didn’t bug me in the least here. Anna and Charles are a rather difficult pair. They are complete opposites, and their relationship is filled with as much passion as it is struggle. Both characters are deeply scarred by traumatic lives, and those scars play a very real role in their ability to interact, and trust each other. The tug-of-war that they felt, their getting-to-know-you phase, and the relationship itself is dynamic, raw, real and full of emotion that will make you feel deeply.
As I mentioned, Anna and Charles are both incredibly scarred characters, and that’s probably what made me so pleased with the series. Neither character remarkably heals. They both learn spend as much time learning how to live life as they are, flaws and scars and all, as trying to heal. But there are very real moments of honesty with these characters. They are more fragile, and emotionally unveiled than many other characters that I’ve run across. It was a brave move for Briggs to create a character that actively, honestly, and openly deals with severe PTSD. It impacts the plot, her development and so much more.
Charles, likewise, has his own demons, which become far more obvious in Fair Game. Along with the struggles of their relationship, and the turbulent politics of the time, their struggles to not lose themselves to the things that haunt them is nothing short of awe inspiring.
Each book is, like Briggs other series, is blessedly self-contained. While it is important that you read the books in series order, you’ll get no cliffhangers here. The endings are a bit predictable, and there are plenty of feel good moments to balance out the darkness and the (ample) tension. Briggs always has a tendency to leave me wondering how she packs so much into fairly short, easy to digest novels.
Make no bones about it, this is different than Mercy Thompson. The politics are different, the wolf world is a bit more intense, and the characters are vibrant and real. While I still think Mercy Thompson is my favorite series, Alpha & Omega is a close second. Intense and emotional, with writing that pulls you in, this is a series that is a must-read for fans of this author.