Audiobook Review: Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs
Series: Alpha & Omega #1
Publisher: Ace (July 29, 2008)
Tiara’s Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Narrator: Holter Graham | Length: 10 hrs and 6 mins | Audiobook Publisher: Penguin Audio (January 15, 2009) |Whispersync Ready: Yes
Cry Wolf picks up immediately after the novella Alpha & Omega, which after reading this I do agree with the author’s recommendation of reading that before diving into this series. It will give you the context necessary to understand how Charles and Anna have already gotten to the moment this book starts with. The novella can be found in the book On The Prowl, as well as part of the hardcover edition of Cry Wolf, which is how I read it. There’s also an audiobook available on Audible, though I think it’s a bit pricey for just one story. This is a spin-off of the Mercy Thompson series and vaguely references some events in the first book of that series.
Charles Cornick, second to the Marrok–an alpha wolf who controls all the wolves in North America, has been injured in a fight with the Chicago pack. The Chicago pack is responsible for violating many of the pack rules (again, explained in Alpha & Omega). Among these violations is harming an Omega wolf, Anna Latham. Omega wolves are neither dominant nor submissive and work outside the pack hierarchy to bring peace to wolves. The Chicago pack abused Anna in order to hide what she is and led her to believe that she is a submissive wolf. When Charles and Anna meet each other, their wolves choose the other as their mate, and Anna leaves the years of abuse for a new life with Charles in Montana. Upon arriving at Charles’ home, Anna is still plagued with misgivings and fears. Her abuse at the hands of her old pack leaves her uncertain despite Charles’ reassurances that she is wanted. However, the couple isn’t given enough time to start hashing out their relationship as Charles’ father sends him on another mission into the Montana hills to find what he believes is a rogue wolf that has been attacking indiscriminately. The Marrok encourages Charles to take Anna along with him thinking she may be able to aid him, but what they find is much more sinister than they thought.
If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been reading the first book of various series lately in an attempt to find a few series to get addicted to, and I have found quite a few that I want to continue, including this one. This story was fast paced and exciting. I could barely stop listening to it to eat. It turned out to be so much more than the paranormal romance that I was expecting. The romance in this series is heavier than in Mercy Thompson, but it still managed to to weave a good story around the romance while allowing for character growth and exploration–especially exploration of Anna’s Omega status. And this Omega thing, while interesting, still feels a little shaky. It’s only the first book, though. However, I do feel that Anna as a character is explored in greater detail than Charles in this book. Maybe it’s because Anna has so many more issues to get over than Charles who really worries more about how Anna will perceive him since he is the enforcer of the pack and seems a bit vapid at this point because Briggs seems to be holding on to that “Stoic Indian” stereotype. I am pleased with Anna’s personal development. I was afraid she was going to turn too much into a special snowflake. However, Anna became surer in herself. She didn’t grow out of all her timid nature, and as an Omega wolf, she’ll likely be more on the calm side in this series. She is allowed agency, though. She pushes herself, and when it’s too much, she pulls back. I don’t expect her to go from abuse victim to snarling badass, but I do appreciate what Briggs did with her. Also, I’m hoping later books will tell us more about some of the other members of this new pack, as it’s mentioned throughout the book that Bran’s (the Marrok and Charles’ dad) pack is made up of werewolves with various issues such as Asil who never got over his mate’s death and wants death and Sage whose past is hinted at as being abusive. Bran is the glue that keeps his pack sane, and you just get the feeling that he takes in the strays for their own safety.
Now, let’s talk about the ugly. First, I mentioned in my review of Alpha & Omega that I was a little worried how Charles would be handled as a Native American lead. I don’t remember there being an issue with Mercy Thompson, but it’s been quite some time since I read a Mercy book. I feel I’m much more aware of the roles that characters of color play in all media. Representation matters, and how that representation is presented matters as well. Yes, there were instances of this book that irked me in regards to how Charles’ heritage was handled and various comments made. It felt unnatural, forced. I am hoping, though, that as Briggs progressed through this series that some of these things became less of a focus and she handles him with a more delicate hand. I really would love to continue this series, but things like this can be deal breakers. I enjoyed this book enough to continue and hope for the best. Second, the narration was a bit “meh” for me. It wasn’t bad, but I don’t feel like enough was done to distinguish voices. Most of the men sounded the same with the exception of Tag, who was described as having a high voice that belied his big size, and Asil, who looked Middle Eastern but, since he’d spent some time in Spain, sounded like Antonio Banderas’ Puss in Boots. The women weren’t too much better with only Sage really standing out because of her thick Southern drawl (that I found a little laughable as a Southerner myself). I will continue to listen to the books since I didn’t dislike the narration. Holter Graham just might be the type of narrator that has to grow on me.
Being as this is about the pack that Mercy was raised in, I feel like I should be reading this side by side with those books. Part of me does want to take up the task of rereading the first book and continuing that series, as well. I look forward to reading more of Charles and Anna’s adventures and watching them grow as a couple.