To start things off I didn't read the short story that originated this novel (Alpha and Omega in the 'On the Prowl' anthology) nor the Mercy Thompson books until after reading this book. They've never appealed to me (kind of like the Aisling Grey novels by Katie MacAlister never appealed to me, but the Silver Dragons trilogy does...) and honestly speaking I wouldn't have picked up Cry Wolf if I didn't desperately need a quick fix. Not a werewolf person overall--I'm more of a vampire as the romantic hero girl.
I'm not sure if that was a bad thing or not though. I'm going to look up the short story to see if the events that are so carefully stated, but largely not in detail, were part of that story or not. Pretty much the first page of chapter one landed us at the tail end of a battle, when heroes are cleaning themselves up and preparing to fix their lives around the new circumstances. The battle that had happened was between Charles and an alpha of a seperate pack. Apparently that Alpha had been abusing Anna, Charles' mate, for three years. No wait. What was the distinction that Aisil makes later...that's right. Abuse has lost meaning over the years, whereas brutalize has not. Leo, the Alpha of the pack, had brutalized Anna for 3 years.
This is another case of lots of events in a short period of time. At the start of the story Anna has known Charles for three days, by the end of the novel its been a little over two weeks. I loved Anna. I loved her with a fierceness that I didn't expect. To survive everything and still manage to have a sense of humor at times...oh I just love her! Its not that she immediately rallied and went from being a timid, scared and beaten woman to a strong, fearless warrior chick either. Everything was new to her even though she had been a werewolf for 3 years. Leo had told her so little about what that meant that she was naive in so many ways. But she tried. What she lacked in knowledge she made up for in persistence. Or patience. Or in some cases with Charles, impatience.
By her very nature Anna is accepted by practically every wolf she meets (its part of being Omega, she's like the eye in the middle of a storm), but she doesn't want the attention or adoration. She's largely wary of dominant males--after her experiences with them in Leo's Pack, but over the course of the novel she learns to trust some. To trust in her instincts and learn from what they are telling her. I found it sad that she was both afraid of Charles (he's a VERY dominant male) and only felt safe around him. He too had to earn her trust, just like everyone else. Which made for some emotional moments between the pair of them.
Of the story--the rogue werewolf terrorizing the Cabinents and making it hard for law-abiding werewolves everyone--that took a turn for the not so great and easily fixed variety about halfway through. I suspect half the people who read the book would have made the connection a little earlier, and I was hitting myself for not picking up on the clues littered throughout that are eventually made clear, but for everyone else let's say shocker! Bad shock. Very bad shock. Not bad as in the writing was bad, bad as in 'oh dear lord that poor character has had enough happen to them!' bad.
I hope that in the second book (due out in August called 'Hunting Ground') more of Anna is explained. They teased at it a little, how because of what she endured she was different other then being an Omega. Since Omegas are, by nature, not dominant or submissive, apparently all werewolves--Dominant or Submissive--feel a protective need to keep them safe. Omegas have all the fierce protective instincts of an Alpha, but none of the aggression in other words, so they are more fragile then submissives (they won't, inherently, fight back if they can choose a more peaceful option). Anna's wolf-self however seemed to protect her during the worst of her treatment--not help her fight, but instead shield her human mind and sensibilities from the worst of what was happening to her. Charles notes at one point that when she is feeling playful, or less guarded or fearless, clearly her wolf is bolstering her spirits, but not really taking over (kind of like Blended Drink of Anna and Wolf!Anna--not really one or the other).
I'm making a bungle of it, and I suspect the author has explained it in better ways elsewhere, but that is what I understood of it.
This book has, if not changed my general opinion of werewolves, at least made me rethink not giving books with them as the forefront a chance (I can't rightly say that Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels series did that since its about weres in general, not just werewolves). I am looking forward to book 2!
I don't think Patricia Briggs can write a bad book. I've read and loved all 4 Mercy Thompson books, and an early straight fantasy called The Hob's Bargain, and now Cry Wolf. Not a bad one in the bunch. I wasn't sure I'd like this book despite it being set in the much loved Mercy Thompson world. The character of Anna sounded like she might be too weak and timid to be likable. But Anna possesses a quiet strength that allows … more
Now Briggs begins an extraordinary new series set in Mercy Thompson’s world—but with rules of its own.
INTRODUCING THE ALPHA AND OMEGA NOVELS...
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’d learned to keep her head down and never, ever trust dominant males. But Anna is that rarest kind of werewolf: an Omega. And one of the most powerful werewolves in the country will recognize her value as a pack member—and as his mate.