By Patricia Briggs
Sorry about the recent lack of posts. At the beginning of the month, I moved halfway across the country from Boulder, Colorado to the Washington, D.C. area. I was all prepared with three prewritten posts to get me through the chaos of the actual move itself. What I hadn’t predicted is that I would get so overwhelmed with everything being new and different that I would immediately retreat into simply rereading my trashy comfort books, which is what I’ve been doing for the past few weeks at a furious pace.
I’ve reread all five of Ilona Andrew’s Kate Daniels books, which Rebecca has already written about, and both of Patricia Briggs’ Alpha & Omega books, which I figured I’d introduce here, since it could be a little while since I read anything new.
Briggs is better known for her Mercy Thompson series, featuring a female mechanic who shape-changes into a coyote, but was raised by a pack of werewolves. It is your typical werewolf/vampire genre series, but just done far better than most. Whenever I run into Charlaine Harris fans, I always make a point of recommending Patricia Briggs, since Mercy Thompson is everything Sookie Stackhouse isn’t: smart, independent, funny, etc. The first two books are immensely entertaining (I might read them next), and the third one is equally good but delves into some unexpectedly difficult-to-read territory (I am not going to read that next). After that, Briggs seemed to lose interest a little bit, and the subsequent books do not have the same quality of writing and plotting.
However, Briggs then turned her attention to a new series, the Alpha & Omega series, currently with two books in paperback and one in hardcover, which I haven’t read yet because I’m very much against hardcover books. This new series is great! It features peripheral characters from the Mercy Thompson books who are a little darker and tortured, which I always appreciate, and is set smack in the middle of the werewolf pack, instead of on the fringe.
The series actually kicks off with a short story/novella in the book On the Prowl, which is often shelved in the romance section and has a cover that will embarrass you to be seen carrying around. On Rebecca’s advice, I haven’t read any of the other stories in the book, but the Alpha & Omega story is actually good enough to be worth the full cost of the book, in my opinion. (Although, on a side note, the story is available on its own for the Kindle through amazon.com, which is one of the best arguments for a kindle that I’ve heard so far.) The story does set the entire series up to the point that the reader would be missing serious background information if they started with the first full novel.
The first full novel is Cry Wolf, and just really delves into the characters and their relationships with each other, all within the confines of a very well structured and paced narrative. The second novel, Hunting Ground, doesn’t have quite the same tight plot structure, but is still very entertaining. I’m somewhat afraid I’m seeing a bit of a pattern with Patricia Briggs, so I’m mentally preparing myself for the third book being a potential disappointment, but I’m still very much looking forward to reading it. Right at this moment, I’m more into comforting fluff books than quality, so I’m sure it will live up to that.
At least you have a good excuse! I just got stressed out and resorted to reading romance novels so embarrassing I won’t even write their names (and I’m the person who happily admits to liking the Twilight books).
I love the Alpha and Omega books–they might be my favorite of Briggs’s stuff. I have read the third one (the downside of Kindle is that nothing is ever in hardback, so it’s hard to resist) and it’s fine. About on the level of the second.
I’m actually just glad that you are in the same boat, so I don’t have to be too embarrassed about retreating to trashy books in times of stress. I’ve put a hold on the third book at the library, so hopefully I’ll be able to read it soon.
I think we’re all in the same boat, then. I haven’t reviewed anything in a while because I’ve largely just been reading fanfiction.
Incidentally, you can get the prolog and part of the first chapter of Fair Game on Amazon, if you’re interested in reading a bit while you wait for it to come out in paperback.