Anna is finally settling down into married life with Charles, and her wolf is very settled with her mating to Brother Wolf. It is a precarious balance though, as echoes of Anna's brutalised past keep cropping up at unexpected times, making it difficult for her to truly relax and enjoy her new life. Those echoes of abuse haven't put Charles off, but every time one of them withdraws it makes life challenging as they try and find their balance again.
When Charles and Anna are sent to attend a meeting of werewolves from around the world it is guaranteed to be an interesting time. The Marrok's plan to bring the wolves out into the world is not a popular one, even though the wolves are vulnerable to threats and blackmail as long as they are secret. As the Marrok's enforcer Charles has power and position among the Alpha wolves - even though he is not an Alpha himself. When Anna is attacked and almost kidnapped at the meeting it becomes clear that someone is willing to do anything to keep the wolves a secret - but there are plenty of suspects and very little time.
I have been re-reading the books in the Alpha and Omega and Mercy Thompson series in the order suggested on the Patricia Briggs's website - an order that is quite different to the published order in some cases. I have to confess that in many ways the Alpha and Omega storylines are my favourite, partly because the weight of the story falls on Anna and Charles equally - while in Mercy's world the story falls on her shoulders with a supporting cast. Re-reading Hunting ground was lots of fun and was over much too quickly for my liking, and I can't wait to get the next book in the recommended reading order (Blood bound) so I can keep visiting their world.
One of the interesting aspects of the Alpha and Omega novels is that Anna is a domestic violence survivor, having been abused by her former pack, but her transformation to werewolf doesn't heal the trauma overnight. I had forgotten how damaged Anna was in these early books, and I have a great deal of respect for Briggs and the way she has handled Anna's pain and her past. This is one of the better series for werewolves as the characters are fully formed and very "human" while at the same time they display so many of the characteristics of a real wolf pack. This is a fantastic series that deserves to be discovered, and the Alpha and Omega novels provide a nice balance to the Mercy Thompson novels - an amazing idea to weave two separate stories together as it creates a richer world that is more rewarding for it's readers. Hopefully there are many, many more to come.
One of the most hysterical things for me about reading the book was not the book itself, but rather than fact that the library copy I borrowed had dog hair in the pages - real dog hair, from something like a black Labrador or German shepherd. So either someone was reading this to their dog (which is kind of cute), or a werewolf was reading the book and shedding while they were at it!
The recommended reading order is:
- Moon called
- Cry wolf (Alpha and Omega)
- Hunting ground (Alpha and Omega)
- Blood bound
- Iron kissed
- Bone crossed
- Silver borne
- River marked
- Fair game (Alpha and Omega)
- Frost burned
- Dead heat (Alpha and Omega)
- Night broken
And to fill in the gaps there are some new (and old) short stories in:
- Shifting shadows: Stories from the world of Mercy Thompson
If you like this book then try:
- Tinker by Wen Spencer
- Night shifted by Cassie Alexander
- Kitty and the midnight hour by Carrie Vaughn
- Dark descendant by Jenna Black
- Burning water by Mercedes Lackey
- Blood price by Tanya Huff
- Urban shaman by C.E. Murphy
- Spiders bite by Jennifer Estep
- Dead witch walking by Kim Harrison
- Precinct 13 by Tate Hallaway
Reviewed by Brilla