Rec a Series is a monthly post highlighting one of my favorite series, past or present. This month, I’m shining the spotlight on a series that branched off an insanely popular Urban Fantasy series. Take one insanely dominant werewolf enforcer second only to the Marrok, add in a brutalized female werewolf who falls outside of pack hierarchy, and you’ve got a match guaranteed to provide a few ulcers to even the most powerful wolf. If you love Mercy Thompson, you really need to check out Alpha and Omega.
Alpha and Omega by Patricia Briggs
Yeah, yeah, I know. I tend to talk about the spin-offs before I jump into the original series, but for some reason I seem to like them better. Maybe it’s some weird form of rebellion? I dunno. Alpha & Omega centers around a very briefly mentioned side-character from the first Mercy Thompson book, Moon Called named Charles Cornick. Now, Charles is a bad-ass among bad-asses. He’s the younger son of Bran Cornick, also known as the Marrok—the leader of all the werewolves in North America, and Blue Jay Woman, the daughter of a Salish man of magic. He’s Bran primary enforcer, the one who takes care of problematic werewolves the other alphas can’t or won’t deal with. On a trip to Chicago to investigate the young werewolf, Alan Frazier, from Moon Called, he meets a young woman whose pack has brutalized her for reasons of their own. Anna Latham. Charles recognizes Anna, not as the submissive wolf her packs wants her to believe she is, but as the Omega wolf she is. Brother Wolf, his werewolf aspect, recognizes her as something much more interesting: his mate.
This series is different from a lot of paranormal romances with über-alpha males and weaker females. Charles recognizes that he has to be careful with Anna, considering all she’s been through. He knows he’s got a long road ahead of him and is willing to be patient and not push too hard. He’s also afraid of losing her, which causes a lot of problems between them. So, he’s not infallible, he’s not an alpha-hole…he’s just very very powerful. Anna, on the other hand, has strength, but it’s more subtle. Yes, she’s skittish around very dominant wolves. She spent three years in hell, that doesn’t go away just because her hubby is werewolf boogeyman #2 (her father-in-law being #1). But she has a core of steel and is willing to risk a lot for those she loves. FBI agent, Leslie Fisher, sums up this couple really well in Fair Game when she tells Anna: “I thought that you were mismatched when I first met you two, but you aren’t, are you?” Anna replies with “No, I’m the only one who knows when he’s teasing.”
The books are woven throughout the Mercy Thompson timeline, with actions occurring in one that affects or at least is referenced in the other. We see that from the beginning with the reason for Charles to go to Chicago in the introductory novella. Strangely enough, I’ve found the actions in the original Mercy series to have less of an impact on the A&O books than the other way around. YMMV.
Overall, I find these books to lean a lot more towards paranormal romance than urban fantasy, though on the “sweet” side: not a lot sex and none of it graphic. I’ve also decided that if I really, really want a Charles of my very own.
Narrator: Holter Graham is amazing as the narrator for the audiobooks. If you’ve read the series but not tried the audio, DO! I adore his voice for Charles. Absolutely perfect. Bran’s isn’t too bad either. In Dead Heat, things got a bit mixed up but Briggs stated at a reading that was due to Graham being ill around the time of recording. Other than that, these books are an auditory dream.
Quote: This quote, from Hunting Ground pretty much sums up Charles and Anna’s relationship:
“My grandfather would have loved to have met you,” he told her huskily. “He would have called you ‘She Moves Trees Out of His Path.’”
She looked lost, but his da laughed. He’d known the old man, too.
“He called me ‘He Who Must Run into Trees,’” Charles explained, and in a spirit of honesty, a need for his mate to know who he was, he continued, “or sometimes ‘Running Eagle.’”
“’Running Eagle’?” Anna puzzled it over, frowning at him. “What’s wrong with that?”
“Too stupid to fly,” murmured his father with a little smile.
Alpha and Omega –
Number of Books: Four
- Cry Wolf – events occur immediately after the novella, Alpha and Omega
- Hunting Ground – events occur after Cry Wolf, but before the second Mercy Thompson book, Blood Bound
- Fair Game – events occur approximately 2 years after Hunting Ground and immediately after the sixth Mercy Thompson book, River Marked
- Dead Heat – events occur after the seventh Mercy Thompson book, Frost Burned
Number of Extras: One
- Alpha and Omega – Originally published in the anthology On the Prowl and occurs immediately after the first Mercy Thompson book, Moon Called, on the timeline
- No, the fifth book is scheduled for March, 2018.