Anna has been a werewolf for 3 years – and those years have been spent as the victim of the Chicago pack, a pack that brutalised and tortured her to keep her under control. Until Charles, son of the Marrock, came to town and killed the old Alpha, rescued her – and formed a mate bond with her.
She’s now a member of the Marrock’s pack and is reeling from the changes that have so transformed her life and having to come to terms with how this pack works – how it is not the abusive situation she is used to, but nor is it a haven of peace and tranquillity. There’s also the revelation that she is one of the ultra-rare Omegas and what that means, and that the mating bond with Charles has not yet solidified.
Neither she nor Charles has the chance to assimilate to the changes as a rogue werewolf appears to be killing people, just before the Marrock wants to reveal them all to the world. Charles is the only one he can send to investigate, but things escalate badly when they face an evil far more dangerous than an out of control wolf – but a centuries old threat that could destroy the entire pack.
As someone who is familiar with the world of this series from the Mercy Thompson Series
, I found this book fascinating for what it developed. The story was good, it was interesting and it was well written – and certainly pulled me in and was never a struggle to read – but I think the main gem of this book was expanding the world.
Through this book we got to see more detail about the Marrock, his history, what he was and what that means. Through that we also see far more of what goes into being a werewolf – I think one of the problems with writing about such a mainstay of legends like a werewolf is that people have already read so much and tend to take that as a base line. Patricia Briggs has done an excellent job of creating something very original with the werewolves – their immortality and pack bonds – and making that a whole foundation for what it means to be a werewolf. They’re not quirks, or oddities intended to differentiate these from the generic – they’re elements that have created a truly original being and a foundation for their whole society while still paying homage to the mainstays of werewolf mythology. There’s some interesting conflict here that we’ve only seen from the outside – like the nature of being a monster, the need to kill, even the need to put down your fellow werewolves who lose themselves and what that means for your own morality.
This book also opened up witchcraft a little, which has always been something lurking in the back of the series but never really expounded upon to any great degree. These new insights add texture not just to this series but to the world as a whole – it’s one of the joys of reading an expanded universe that you can put the different stories together to create a completed whole without it feeling convoluted.
That doesn’t mean this book isn’t perfectly fine to read if you haven’t read the Mercy ThompsonSeries
it’s still fascinating it still has an excellent world and it as a fun, action packed story that is paced well – managing to balance some good action, some great mystery, a few surprising twists and a lot of very concise description of the setting to really bring the mountains alive. I think the characters have a lot of potential – Anna has layers of conflict and experience and learning... but her “growth” often feels like mercurial mood swings. She’s supposed to be gaining on confidence, but she seems to swoop between meek mouse and fierce eagle between paragraphs. I think it’s supposed to be her natural Omega nature pushing through her abused nature but at times it feels… random. The ancient characters also have a pretty good sense of their age which is pretty rare to see done well. And the veteran werewolf was a wonderful and tragic figure.
Even if I hadn’t read the other series, reading this book would pull me in, incite my curiosity and encourage me to read more.
While we still have the ongoing and very cliché dominant-werewolves-who-snarl-and-own-their-women that is prevalent in this world setting (Charles can’t even stand to see his own father with Anna because ZOMG MAH WOMAN!) the emphasis is more on protection. And by protection, I don’t mean “CCTV at work and you better not go shopping on your own, because you are MAH woman and I will keep you safe!” It is much more about caring and protecting than dominating and controlling – it further adds to the texture of submissives and how valuable they are for a pack simply because Dominants are so dominant and have to play their silly games all the time that it’s submissives that give the pack reason to be.