Shdnx's Reviews > Cry Wolf

Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs
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Jun 17, 11

bookshelves: theme-romance, fantasy, about-shapeshifters, about-werewolves, about-magic, paranormal
Read from June 10 to 14, 2011

(Spoiler-free review)

As the first book of the Alpha and Omega series, but also taking place in the same world as the excellent Mercy Thomspon novels, this book certainly had expectations to live up to. And so it did, for it is an awesome book, although not the same way as Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1) is.

Storyline

We get right into the events from the first page of the novel, although the story really only starts later, at about the third of the book. This isn't too bad: we get to know Anna and Charles, the two protagonists, and much about Anna's dark past, and basically the events of the Alpha and Omega short story - so the book stands complete on its own, does not need you to read the short story first to perfectly understand everything, although you won't understand it all at once: I was at first confused, not knowing what was happening or why it was happening, but everything was explained shortly. It also very well reflects how Anna must be feeling at the beginning of the book (and, well, throughout the book, basically).
Still, the book picked up quite slowly, and wasn't really interesting at first. This is one of the main issues that prevented me from giving it 5 stars, instead of 4.

The third-person narrative worried me at first: I was afraid that it would be alienating (although I have to admit I don't nearly feel as connected to Anna or Charles after reading both novels in the series as I did to Mercy and Adam when I finished the Mercy Thompson series, but that might be just that I spent much longer with the latter two throughout the 6 books). However, it has proved to be better suited for this series than a first-person point of view would have: we get brief insights to the heads of some of the characters, but mainly Anna and Charles - it was very interesting to see how hard are both trying to make their relationship work, although often misunderstand the other. In general the third-person view adds much more depth to the book. A pleasant surprise.

This book focuses much more on emotions and romance than the Mercy Thompson books, so those who are hoping to find a new Mercy Thompson novel with just different characters will be disappointed: the story in itself is decent, but it wouldn't fill a book - in the other hand, it's better than the "story" of some of the romantic novels I've read, only constructed to give a scene. This story is more than that: it was interesting, shocking, and unpredictable: there were a few turning points, surprising developments, although not as much as there would have been if it wasn't for the third-person perspective - it took away much of the mystery, seeing into the head of the characters.

The feelings were authentic, I couldn't find anything exaggerated, unrealistic or unbelievable, which would have really undermined the solid experience the book provided.

The ending of the book is quite odd, and left me slightly disappointed. I certainly expected more than that, and this was the second main reason for not giving 5 stars to the book.

Characters

All the characters were great, I really couldn't find too much to complain about.

Anna is a woman who just had been through a terrible part of her life, and all the suffering scarred her very deeply. However, during the book, she repeatedly surprises everyone (often including herself) with her competence, and we gradually see her growing up to the tasks presented.

Charles, Anna's mate, is almost as troubled as she is, but in a different way, and for different reasons. He is thrown off balance by Anna, as she reveals a different, new side of him - not the cold hunter he became doing what he had to do during his long, lonely life. He bends a lot harder than Anna, so he doesn't change a lot during the book, but that is very realistic, considering the age difference between Anna (in her 30s) and Charles (more than 200 years old).

We don't get to know very much about Walter, but he is absolutely well designed: I can easily resonate with him, in spite of not having had to live through what he did in his life.

Asil is even better than Walter: a very thoughtful and complex character. His age is absolutely believable: his whole being feels somehow old and tired, but with the temper and energies of a werewolf.

For me, Bran has always been one of the most interesting characters of this world (he also appears in the Mercy Thompson series), and we get to know him more, and even get a glimpse into his head, and for very briefly, we can see him for the man he really is: noble, and great, in the truest sense of the word (as in, extremely powerful). We also get to know some things of his past, from where he started off, and that puts everything he is and everything he does in a slightly different light. He still appears odd, though, as if something in him didn't quite fit, and I'm not sure whether its intentional or not - if it is, it's pure genius.
I would absolutely love a short story or even a novel written from his perspective, although that would take away much of the mystery his character, and his place in the world is built upon, so it's probably not going to happen.

Conclusion

A great book, pure entertainment. I really enjoyed the world of werewolves, but missed the pack-spirit (or mentality) that appeared in some of the Mercy Thompson books. The werewolves feel off without their packs - it's their natural way of life after all. In this book, we don't see a pack: we just see a bunch of werewolves, although much of the pack mechanics is explained (which is great, by the way).

Overall: well done, and looking forward to reading further books of the series.
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