Wednesday, 14 October 2009

URBAN FANTASY REVIEW: Cry Wolf (Alpha and Omega 1), Hunting Ground (Alpha and Omega 2) - Patricia Briggs

Charles Cornick is his pack's enforcer and lives a harsh life, doing jobs other wolves can't - or won't. And his most recent task was rescuing Anna Latham from a life of brutality. This leaves him shot and wounded, but he's happy to pay the price. Charles is strongly drawn to Anna, and her growing 'Omega' powers will see his people through dangerous times. Anna desperately needs her new mountainous home to be safer than the life she's left behind. But when a rogue werewolf starts murdering hikers, Charles and Anna are sent into the winter forests to investigate. Charles is still weak and will need Anna's strength as they discover a web of witchcraft that could drag down the whole pack. Including its leader Bran, Charles's father, head of a vast network of wolves. And if Bran weakens, dark madness could run like a fever through half a continent.

To be honest I’m a fan of Patricia’s heroine Mercy Thompson however for some reason I really had a hard time getting to grips with her latest heroine set in the same world. She felt a little under whelming and whilst characters need vulnerabilities to keep the reader attracted to them, I was not sure that she was the right one for the role that was thrust upon her. Add to the mix a very possessive male principle protagonist who treated her a bit like a china doll and you can probably imagine how much I started to loath her.

That said however, the adventure that you get with Patty is always going to be something special as the scrapes really are close and she does play for keeps which always keeps me glued to the novel. Add to the mix an uncertainness in regard to the outcome or which way it is going to unfurl next and it’s a magical mystery tour of an adventure. Don’t get me wrong, Patricia’s writing is still several rungs above a number of others within the genre today but I never lost that niggling feeling to do with the female lead and whilst she does emotionally grow within the context of the tale I do hope that she goes further next time to make her a character that I can not only respect but one that I can empathise with one hundred percent.

Anna Latham didn't know how complicated life could get - until she became a werewolf. And now she's not just part of any pack, but under the direct supervision of Bran, leader of the North American werewolves. And her mate is his son Charles, the pack enforcer. With all the advances that have been made in forensics, the werewolves will not be able to hide their existence from humans much longer - and Bran wants their coming out party to be on his terms. But his European counterparts don't see things the same way. Anna and Charles are chosen to represent Bran at a key meeting. But when a French werewolf, one of Bran's most vocal opponents, is found murdered, Charles's reputation shoots him to the top of the suspect list. And among the wolves, there is one penalty for breaking the law: death. The killer must be found, or Charles will take the fall.

After the hard time I had with the original tale in this series I decided to give the second novel a go as most of the ground work had been accomplished in the original and I was hoping to see how the characters would grow within their relationship. Whilst Mercy is more action driven, this series is more the emotional romantic aspect of the supernatural genre allowing mellowness that some might think is missing from Mercy’s outings.

This time, now that they’re married, the two characters are still “feeling” each other out emotionally as each seeks a way to make sure that they’re respecting the others boundaries and trying to demonstrate their own individualities to the other so that their partnership can grow stronger. Its well written, the characters do grow but I have still not shaken that feeling that I had from the previous offering about the inner strength of likeability to do with these two. As secondary characters, they would be acceptable, intriguing even, but I am still not sure that they are truly alpha material to be honest. It is stronger than the original; the script flows better but at the end of the day Mercy will remain my favourite series by Patty.

1 comment:

Adele said...

I've read the first on eand i really liked it, but as you say that may be more down to the writing than the characters. Mercy is still my fave too.