My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Patricia Briggs is the queen of character. When people talk about character-driven stories, her books are what I think of. In Cry Wolf, she focuses on Anna and Charles, two werewolves that I met briefly in Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series. Charles is an alpha wolf, and the enforcer for his father’s pack (his father being the leader of all werewolves in North America). Anna is an Omega, which seems to mean she is somehow outside the pack hierarchy and has the ability to calm any werewolf’s tendency toward violence. Cry Wolf is basically the story of how Anna and Charles hook up, which, in my mind, shifts the book more to the paranormal romance side of things than the urban fantasy I’m used to from Briggs’ other series.
The book starts in medias res, in the middle of a story. In some ways I like that kind of opening because it gets you right into things, but this one was a little too far in. It felt like the book started right after the climax of a missing story of which we gain bits and pieces through backstory as Anna deals with the aftermath. There were enough unexplained references that it left me a little off-balance, like I’d somehow picked up the second book in the series without noticing. (I didn’t, I checked. Twice.)
The plot was straightforward enough, Charles and Anna hunt a rogue werewolf together but find something even more dangerous. Briggs used the environment to great effect, isolating the characters in an unforgiving winter wilderness. As always, Briggs does a marvelous job of showing rather than telling, and proves she knows her craft well. The whole story was woven through with details that revealed the personalities and backstories of the characters in such a way that I was burning through pages. Having met some of the characters from Briggs’ other series, I was eager to learn more about them, especially Bran, but I think even someone picking the book up cold would have no problem connecting with the characters. My favorite character was actually Walter, who I’d never met before.
I liked that Anna and Charles were both working through issues, but found it odd that they were required to be together from the very beginning and were just trying to figure out how to make it work. It was very different from the clash of personalities that eventually turn into passion I’m more used to. I also felt a little cheated at the climax, things just fell into place a little too easily. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it, I just think more could have been done with it. The resolution didn’t leave me with much tension, so I didn’t get that itch to run out and buy the next book I often experience at the end of a story. That said, I’ll happily read the next one if I come across it.
I’d recommend this book for anyone who likes paranormal romance and fans of Mercy Thompson.