So, Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs came out in March of 2018. I was so super excited about this book as it has been three long years since we’ve had an Alpha & Omega book.
The Alpha & Omega Series by Patricia Briggs consists of the introductory novella “Alpha & Omega” (2007) as well as 5 full-length novels; Cry Wolf (2008), Hunting Ground (2009), Fair Game (2012), Dead Heat (2015), and Burn Bright (2018). While these books take place within the same world as the longer Mercy Thompson Series and there is some slight character overlap, it is not necessary to read one before the other.
These books are part romance, part urban fantasy with a healthy dose of mystery thrown in for flavour.
We follow werewolves Charles and Anna Cornick. Charles is the younger son (he is still hundreds of years old) of the Marrok, who is the alpha of all alphas in North America. He acts as his father’s enforcer and primary investigator as well as being in charge of the pack finances. Charles’ mother was witch born so he has magic as well as his werewolf abilities. He is also in the unique position of being an alpha, or very dominant werewolf, who does not have a pack. Anna is an omega wolf, with a traumatic past. Omega wolves have the rare ability to calm dominant werewolves, as a rule, they are cherished and protected. They also fall outside the structure of pack hierarchy.
In preparation for the new release, I wanted to reread the previous novels in the series. I decided to listen to them in audiobook format. They are now amongst my favourite audiobooks of all time. The entire series is narrated by Holter Graham. He does an AMAZING job — and is the voice of Charles Cornick for me. I also finally read the introductory novella, Alpha and Omega, which I discovered I owned in three different collections.
During the reread, I got to get reacquainted with, and love, a few of the side characters I’d forgotten about. Moira from Hunting Ground and Joseph from Dead Heat, oh how I’ve missed them, also Asil in general.
Somehow, I had completely spaced out on how much the fae are in these books. Not just secondary characters who have pasts and relationships with the wolves, but the fae as a political body is a force to be reckoned with.
Anna is one of my favourite fictional characters. A music prodigy who was made a werewolf against her will, she was abused by her former pack until Charles comes to investigate. What I admire is while she has been beaten down for years and has some serious PTSD, she is still a strong female character. Being outside pack dynamics she stands her ground, even against the Marrok, and insists on a level of independence. I appreciate how Briggs handles Anna’s trauma. Too often a female character is instantaneously cured of fear and the after-effects of traumatic events as long as the “big strong” male is there. While Anna does feel safer around Charles, she is still working through her own inner demons.
Now the newest book — Burn Bright.
Refreshingly, this book is primarily set in Aspen Creek. The Marrok is away and Charles is running the pack along with his stepmother, Leah. There is no love lost between the two, but there is a healthy dose of grudging respect. When one of the Wildlings (werewolves too out-of-control to be trusted in mainstream society) is captured by mysterious commandos, much craziness ensues.
I loved that we got to see the entire pack, minus the Marrok. Briggs writes amazing character dynamics. The pack is one giant family, and they act like it. They fight and bicker, but at the end of the day will stand shoulder-to-shoulder to defend their home and each other. I SO did not see the end coming!
Summary: Great urban fantasy series featuring werewolves and fae (as well as assorted other creatures), interesting characters and the audiobooks are awesome!