Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hunting Ground (Alpha and Omega 2) - Patricia Briggs

Hunting Ground
Patricia Briggs
Ace Fantasy
Copyright Date: 2009
978-0441017386

The jacket description:
Anna Lathan didn't know how complicated life could be until she became a werewolf. And until she was mated to Charles Cornick, the son - and enforcer - of Bran, the leader of the North American werewolves, she didn't know how dangerous it could be, either...

Anna and Charles have just been enlisted to attend a summit to present Bran's controversial proposition: that the wolves should finally reveal themselves to humans. But the most feared Alpha in Europe is dead set against the plan - and it seems like someone else might be, too. When Anna is attacked by vampires using pack magic, the kind of power only werewolves should be able to draw on, Charles and Anna must combine their talents to hunt down whoever is behind it all - or risk losing everything...

Hunting Ground is the sequel to Cry Wolf and continues the story of Anna and Charles Cornick. There's still been only a short time since the two werewolves first met (which is told in a short story in the anthology On The Prowl), and as a result, they're still feeling out their relationship and getting to know each other.

Patricia Briggs has created an interesting world here. The Alpha and Omega series shares the world with the Mercy Thompson series, although the characters from each set of book hardly interact, so you don't have to have read the Mercy Thompson series to understand and enjoy the books of the Alpha and Omega series. So far, the world seems to have been very internally consistent, with no gaping holes that I can see. The author has incorporated all sorts of different strands of mythology and legend: Werewolves, the Fae, Vampires, and even elements of North American legends (although those are mostly in the Mercy Thompson books).

One thing I like about all the books set in this world, and Hunting Ground is no exception here, is the way the author sets up her mysteries so you think the bad guy is one character, and then throws in a twist or two, to fool the reader. So far, every single time, the villain has proven to be someone else at the end of the book.

The other unique thing about this world is that the mythological/fantastical aspect is slowly being acknowledged by the rest of the world. It's neat to see the process in progress. Most of the urban fantasies I've read to date follow one of the two premises: that the world of the fantastical is kept secret from everybody, or that it's widely known about, and has been for years. Patricia Briggs has taken the middle road here, and it makes for a nice change.

In Hunting Ground the focus of the story is as much on the relationship between Anna and Charles as it is on the events of the conference and outside problems. As a result, I kind of felt that I needed the refresher that rereading Cry Wolf would have been (it's been a few months and a lot of books between then and now). Rereading the other books has been moved farther up my priority list.

Almost unrelated is the fact I found the Darque Reviews quote on the back cover to be really neat. Darque Reviews was one of the first book review blogs I subscribed to when I got started doing this. I can't find the full review of the book, or I'd link to it.

Overall, I really liked Hunting Ground and I recommend it to all lovers of urban fantasy and paranormal romance.
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