Cry Wolf – Patricia Briggs

In a vast sea of mediocrity, it is a wonderful thing to have a rock like Patricia Briggs. Having just read the prequel story of Anna and Charles contained in On the Prowl, it was a natural progression to move on to the first book in their series (the only one I currently own). Cry Wolf picks up very shortly after “Alpha and Omega” leaves off, and rockets on from there, non-stop.

I’ve read so many complaints – between limyaael’s rants, which I’m still making my way through, and Goodreads, not to mention my own criticisms – about what fantasy in general and urban fantasy in particular does wrong, it’s fun to go through the checklist with Patricia Briggs.

– Of bad sex scenes there are none in Cry Wolf. There are no detailed sex scenes at all, in fact, which is in keeping with the tone of the book, and maintains its level well above PNR (paranormal romance). As I said with “Alpha and Omega”, this could easily have been Hot Wolf Sex PNR. But that’s not the point of this book. The avoidance of it makes me feel almost smug.

– Mary Sue? Not here. Anna is damaged, yes, and she’s what under other circumstances I might call “Speshul”: she is an Omega, a rare and valuable thing, and she is loved and hated for it. But that isn’t the be-all and end-all of the character. Again, she could have easily Mary Sue’d all over the place, and didn’t.

– Charles starts off badly wounded, and, werewolf or not, that is a problem throughout the book. The injuries are never conveniently forgotten – they remain a very real hindrance to him, healing in a manner in keeping with the rules established for such things.

– A complaint I’ve had lately is about flat main characters acting in front of a cast of pallid and flat background characters. Patricia Briggs doesn’t do flat. The members of the pack, even characters only onstage for a few pages, all give every indication that they could carry their own book if it was required of them. It’s something I’ve reveled in about her writing before: it’s what Joss Whedon said about Jayne Cobb. Each person is the hero of their own storyline. If Ms. Briggs ever gets stuck or bored, she could write a book about Heather the park ranger and make it great.

These are great characters proceeding about their business in a well-built world. And they’re characters I look forward to spending more time with.

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