Patricia Briggs has chosen to write a spin-off series during the middle of her very successful Mercedes Thompson series. I am not complaining, because Mercedes Thompson has been really good, but it’s something of a surprise to me.
Briggs opens Cry Wolf, the first installment of Alpha and Omega, without a lot of explanation of what has happened in the story so far. We are taken straight to a scene in Chicago where Bran, the Marrok (Werewolf Overlord), is cleaning up the mess caused by his son Charles rescuing Anna. Anna is a different type of werewolf than we have known before and it makes for some interesting diversity as her specialized abilities become clear. The first 60 pages or so are spent on establishing a relationship between Charles and Anna while providing a smattering of background information on how she came to be in the horrible situation from which she was saved.
The best parts of Cry Wolf are in the last half of the book as the adventure really takes off. There are some particularly well written moments as Briggs continues to build the world that we know from Mercedes Thompson. Anna provides a new set of experiences and a completely different personality through which to explore Briggs’ world. Briggs’ superb writing skills are clear and she never re-uses the same character types in her novels.
On the whole, Cry Wolf is a good book for a new reader of Briggs’ urban fantasy work, but it’s a really good book if you have enough background information to appreciate what’s going on. For me, the additional insight into Mercedes Thompson’s world and some of the history that is depicted more than made up for the rough first section of the book. Briggs is doing some really great stuff and for her fans, the addition of a parallel series is nothing less than a treat.