8 Rated Books Book Reviews

*ARC* Book Review: Cry Wolf

Title: Cry Wolf

Author: Patricia Briggs

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Stand alone or series: The first full length novel in the Alpha and Omega series (following the novella “Alpha and Omega” in the On the Prowl anthology); set in the same universe and involving many of the same characters from the Mercy Thompson books

Summary: (from Penguin Group USA)
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.

Why did I read this book: I love the Mercy Thompson series, and the titled heroine is one of my all time favorites. I also have been reading Patricia Briggs since middle school, and am a huge fan of all her writing. So, it follows that when we received an ARC for Cry Wolf, I was ecstatic!


Patricia Briggs is a writer of fantasy–be it of the more traditional sword and sorcery variety, or the newer wave of urban paranormal fantasy. Recently, Ms. Briggs’s Mercy Thompson series has earned high praise and has garnered quite a following–myself included! In all of Patricia Briggs’s stories, she manages to write heroines that are intelligent and strong in their own, different ways. And what’s more is, they are distinct from each other. While I was so very excited to read Cry Wolf, I was a little nervous because I love Mercedes Thompson so much. How would Anna compare tot he levelheaded Mercy? Would this just feel like Mercy as an Omega werewolf?

Of course, I had nothing to worry about. Anna is every bit as engaging as Mercy, but in a completely different, distinct way. Never fear, brave readers–we are in very safe, capable hands with Patricia Briggs.

Cry Wolf begins immediately following the events of “Alpha and Omega”, the novella in the On the Prowl anthology (which, for “Alpha and Omega” alone is well worth the price of purchase). A warning–if you have not read “Alpha and Omega”, you might find yourself a bit lost at the beginning of Cry Wolf. There is enough information and explanation to read this book without reading the prior novella, but, as with most stories, fans that have read both “Alpha and Omega” and the Mercy Thompson books will be the more satisfied readers.

A brief recap of the events leading up to Cry Wolf: Anna was a normal, quiet, compassionate girl until the day she was attacked, toyed with and turned into a werewolf at the behest of the Alpha of the Chicago pack. Since her transformation, Anna has been abused, frightened, and cowed into meek submission by the males in her pack. That is, until Anna sees the covered up news of a murdered young boy her pack is responsible for–and in an act of defiance that she should not be able to perform, Anna contacts the Marrok. Bran Cornick, the Marrok, is the big dog, so to speak. As Marrok, he controls all the werewolves in North America, and he’s alarmed when he gets Anna’s call. He sends his right hand man, his son Charles, to Chicago to investigate.

Charles learns that the Chicago pack has been breaking all the rules, and he learns what has happened to Anna. And then, something even stranger happens–Charles’s wolf chooses Anna’s for his mate. This is highly unprecedented since Charles is a very old werewolf and has never had a mate, and because usually it is the human half that selects a mate, and later the wolf side follows. Also, all this happens within 24 hours of knowing each other. Together, Charles and Anna manage to take down the Chicago pack, but not without Charles taking on some serious injuries. The Marrok himself comes down to Chicago to look after his son and Anna, and tells her that they must leave together immediately for Aspen Creek, Montana. Anna, whose wolf has accepted Charles’s for her mate, agrees and packs her worldly belongings and leaves with Bran and Charles.

Anna quickly realizes that she knows nothing about werewolves, despite having been one for three years, due to the abuse and purposeful alienation she has suffered at the hands of her old Alpha. With Charles, however, Anna feels safe for the first time in her life, and together they discover that being mated is more than just having their wolf-sides accept each other.

The Marrok, Charles, Anna, and Samuel (who we know very well from the Mercy Thomspon books) attend a funeral, and a very, very old werewolf in Bran’s pack named Asil makes Anna’s acquaintance…and recognizes her for the Omega she is. And Anna is able to, with a simple touch, calm Asil’s madness within and give him temporary peace. Asil knows what Anna is because his long dead mate, his true love, was also an Omega wolf. And lately, Asil has been haunted by nightmares, reliving his mate’s murder over and over in his dreams. Asil knows something is wrong.

In the cold, wild woods bordering Aspen Creek, a rogue wolf kills a hiker. Something is out there, and Charles and Anna head out to investigate. And somehow, Asil knows that his dreams are connected to the killings.

Cry Wolf is another incredibly strong entry by Patricia Briggs. It took me by surprise, as this book is less focused on the overall mystery story, and much more focused on the relationship between Anna and Charles, which does set it apart from the Mercy Thompson books. This is not to say that the mystery story is not up to par–as Ms. Briggs has shown us time and time again, the plot is detailed and carefully developed. Asil’s storyline, and how it fits in with the investigation of Anna and Charles in the woods is wonderfully crafted.

As always, however, it is Ms. Briggs’s characterizations that really make her work sing. I found myself falling in love with Anna and Charles here, just as I had fallen in love with Mercy. Anna’s story of self-discovery, her compassion, her final understanding of what being an Omega really means is beautiful to read. I love that Anna’s strength is derived from her feelings for others and her need to protect the ones she loves. Similarly, I loved reading more about the mysterious Charles Cornick and seeing his struggle with reconciling his wolf’s mating with Anna to his own human emotions. The burgeoning relationship between these two characters, their missteps and growing trust, is a major part of this book, and one that I think will appeal to readers of not just urban fantasy, but to romance readers as well.

I also was very pleased with how this book fit in to the overall Mercy Universe timeline. Cry Wolf takes place following the events of Moon Called, and the overlap between Mercy’s story and Anna’s here flows nicely. Seeing some characters we know intimately already from the Mercy books, like Bran and Samuel, help to smooth the transition.

One of the things that Cry Wolf does even better than the Mercy books I believe is the further exploration of werewolves and pack politics. Understandably, Mercy’s books are told through the filter of Mercy’s thoughts and perceptions–and as a coyote walker, no matter how much she understands of werewolves having grown up with them, she still is not part of the pack. Anna’s thoughts, however, are pointedly different as she is a werewolf, and I enjoyed the details of werewolf ‘magic’, of the mating bond between wolves, and dominance versus submissiveness.

Now, I’m excited to see if we’ll have a Mercy-Anna crossover at some point in the near future? In Bone Crossed perhaps? I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed.

Notable Quotes/Parts: I loved reading Anna coming into her own–she looks very delicate and meek, but when someone she cares about is threatened, she uses her reservoir of strength to protect them. Without getting too spoilery, in one particular scene in the wilderness, when Charles is threatened and unable to act, Anna’s reaction and ability to protect him is a stunner to read.

Additional Thoughts: One note–Patricia Briggs is an author that does not shy away from darker aspects. The abuse that Anna has been through is cutting for the character, psychologically and physically. I love this about Ms. Briggs and her writing; the unflinching look at the darker side of pack politics is something I appreciate, and Ms. Briggs manages to tackle these heftier issues with sensitivity and relevance to her overall storylines.

Verdict: I loved this new entry to the Mercy Thompson universe. This is a book not to be missed by fans of Ms. Briggs’s earlier works, and should be a wonderful introduction for new readers. Cry Wolf is thrilling, gritty, and sexy to boot. Highly recommended, and I cannot wait to read more of Anna and Charles.

Rating: 8 Excellent

Reading Next: Ruins by Kevin J. Anderson


  • Ana
    July 20, 2008 at 11:27 pm

    Oh my, now I have got to read this! LOL.

  • Christine
    July 21, 2008 at 6:03 am

    Thanks for the review, Thea.

    I’ve just recently caught up on the entire Mercy Thompson series, as well as the short “Alpha and Omega” from the On the Prowl anthology. I was amazed at Briggs’ talent to pull me in and garner such an intense emotional response from me when I read “Alpha and Omega”. In a mere 70 pages, I think, and the author had me fully connected to Anna. And emotionally vested in her character, too. I can’t wait to read Cry Wolf!!!

    I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments:

    Patricia Briggs is an author that does not shy away from darker aspects.
    and …
    …and Ms. Briggs manages to tackle these heftier issues with sensitivity and relevance to her overall storylines.

    I think that’s a huge part of why I love this series. All the politics and emotional components of her stories make sense and feel so real.

  • Sarai
    July 21, 2008 at 6:30 am

    OMG I can’t wait to get this Squeal!!!!

  • Thea
    July 21, 2008 at 8:46 am

    Ana, you got next 😉 I think you will really love this one…and maybe it will finally get you to read the Mercy Thompson books already! Heh.

    Christine, I completely agree with you re: “Alpha and Omega”. Novellas are tricky; it’s hard to write a fully developed story in such amount of space, but Patricia Briggs does it wonderfully. I couldn’t wait to read more about Anna and Charles, and Cry Wolf does not disappoint 😉

    >I think that’s a huge part of why I love this series. All the politics and emotional components of her stories make sense and feel so real.

    Dear Author has a review up right now for Cry Wolf as well, and while I kinda focused on more continuity and pack-politics/world-building, Janine focuses a lot on the emotional character aspect. I think this speaks highly to your observation, Christine 😉 I completely agree with you.

    Sarai–Only a week to go! 🙂 I hope you love this one as well.

  • kmont
    July 21, 2008 at 8:56 am

    Went on the prowl for this one just in case the store I frequent had it early. Have managed to get books there early before, but no dice with this one. *BIG pout*

    I did *head desk* however get two books I’d been wanting. It’s time to start wading through the TBR pile and decide what to take with me on vaca in November! Yep, it might take that long to decide.

    Thanks for the great review! You know I always enjoy yalls insight.

  • meljean brook
    July 21, 2008 at 8:57 am

    After reading Alpha and Omega last year, it pretty much became my template (er, but not in a formulaic way) for writing novellas. She packed so much goodness into it.

    I can’t wait for this book. I’m haunting my local bookstores hoping that someone releases it early.

  • Ciara
    July 21, 2008 at 9:09 am

    YAY! I finished it yesterday, and it was so good. THANK YOU SO MUCH! I love how real PB’s characters are. Real people, real issues, real emotions. I feel like I know them. I’m emotionally invested in their triumphs and tribulations. And might I add that I have never read such a compelling and realistic portrayal of a rape survivor in fiction. Most of the time the heroine overcomes her PTSD quickly and easily.
    How will I last until BONE CROSSED???

    PB is moving back to Washington State! Did I tell you this was the best place to be, or what? 😛

  • Angiegirl
    July 21, 2008 at 9:40 am

    Man. This is going to be one long week waiting for it to come out. Thanks for the early review, Thea!

  • Tracy
    July 21, 2008 at 10:24 am

    I’ve never read Briggs (I know, don’t say it) but I’ve been hearing more good stuff almost daily about her work. After reading this I think I’m sold. Great job on getting my butt to the bookstore! (like I really needed a push?) 🙂

  • Brie
    July 21, 2008 at 10:47 am

    Gosh, I need to get my hands on this book. Thanks for the review, Thea! Now I’m all revved up in anticipation for it.

  • li
    July 21, 2008 at 11:04 am

    I skimmed because I don’t want any spoilers, but just had to say that I’m *so* jealous you got to read this early!!!

    Sigh. One more week to go…

  • Wendy
    July 21, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    Hi, Thea! fabulous review, I enjoyed Cry Wolf a lot as well and can’t wait to read. I really loved Anna and Charles’ relationship, and how we got to know Bran more, he’s one of my favorites. 🙂

  • Thea
    July 21, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    Kmont–hah! I know the feeling. I’m on vacation in three weeks, and I need to really get organized and pick some books to bring with me 🙂

    Meljean–something we might see in “Thicker Than Blood”?? 🙂 I’m certain we’ll see some early copies trickle in to stores.

    Ciara–dude, what is up with Washington and cool authors? It’s clearly the place to be 🙂 So glad that you loved Cry Wolf too! “Emotionally invested” indeed–I genuinely care for each of these characters and cannot wait to see what happens next. Gaah, Bone Crossed seems so far away!

    Angie, my pleasure 🙂 It’s almost release date, hang in there!

    Tracy–yay! My work here is done 😉 Patricia Briggs is the real deal, I really hope you enjoy her books.

    Brie–You’re quite welcome 🙂 PB’s got quite a fanbase I see, everyone is eager for this book.

    Li–One week of waiting and it’s all yours! As a fellow Mercy fan, I can guarantee you’ll enjoy this one 🙂

  • Thea
    July 21, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    Wendy 🙂 Hey thanks for commenting! I really loved the dynamic between Charles and Anna, especially in comparison to say the dynamic between Mercy and Adam or Mercy and Sam.

    And yes, hooray for more Bran! As the leader of all werewolves in North America, he comes across as very strong and dangerous, but tempered with compassion too. I love it 🙂

  • M.
    July 21, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    do i detect a feminine wolf theme going on? kitty and the midnight hour, now this…
    i’m guessing the smugglers are dog (canine) people *g*

  • Ciara
    July 21, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    It was great getting to see Bran more. I’m really curious about his relationship with Leah. We got some hints, that he needed that mate bond and didn’t want to love her because he didn’t want to be vulnerable again, but I wonder – is that a set up for a future romantic plot? Leah is just so unlikable. I don’t understand how Bran accepted her as his mate. There’s gotta be something else there, don’t you think?

  • Aymless
    July 21, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    Oh my. I think I have Prowl in my TRB (sad that I don’t know what’s all there! and it keeps growing *shakes fists at powerpuffs and kristi*) I think this will have to fall on the TBB for now! *sigh* Have money now but no time! *pout* Is it too much to ask for both!

  • Bridget Locke
    July 31, 2008 at 11:39 pm

    I loved this book! And I really loved seeing more of the werewolf community. And that part you’re talking about when Anna fights back? I was so surprised, but I let out this loud laugh because it was just so cool! 🙂 Can’t wait for Bone Crossed. *sigh*

    And Sarai will be super happy when she reads it. Name sound familiar? LOL!

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