Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I'm not sure how to write this review without excessive gushing. Gushing hurts my credibility as a reader. Well, I think it's clear that I'm not above a little gushing if I love a book. But I do try to be objective. However, sometimes a good book deserves gushing, and lots of it. Such is the case with Cry Wolf. My tastes are somewhat simple when it comes to a book. I want to be involved and entertained. When I read a book that takes me to that next level of pure emotional enjoyment, catching me where I live and feel deeply as a human, I wish I could rate it higher than five stars.
Patricia Briggs is an author that I was not expecting to come into my life and rock my perception of what I consider good urban fantasy. Now, the standard is much higher. She has found a way to make the werewolf tale that much more enjoyable to this lover of the genre. She writes characters that convince me that there must be werewolves out there, and that they aren't all ravening beasts. That there is an entire spectrum. That they are lonely, in need of love, always fighting a battle of control against their animal natures, or that some have completely given into their animal side. That they form bonds of family and love that wrap around them, and when those bonds are taken away, it has the power to destroy them. Conversely, the bonds of love and pack, can heal a long-broken heart.
The characters in this story show that spectrum of wolves very well. By the end of the story, they felt like people I knew. Oh, and there were some characters that I crossed myself in hopes that I never encountered their likes. Mariposa, oh, how she gave me the shudders. Oh, and Bran.... Could I love him more now? Even though he has some really scary aspects to his personality? Although that just increased his appeal to me. What control this man has. How tortured he truly is. Ms. Briggs, do write a separate story for Bran, I humbly ask.
Charles and Anna: More continued goodies with their nuanced, layered relationship. It's a symbiotic relationship, almost. It would seem that Anna is the weak one, and Charles is the strong one. Not so. Anna's presence brings strength and calmness to Charles. She saves his life numerous times in this story, in fact. And Charles gives Anna that reason and that purpose she had not found before. She loves him so much it scares her. He heals the broken places deep inside of her with his love and devotion. And, he brings her to a home where she had been lost before. I love that not only does this couple come together, but Anna comes to form deep, important relationships with other wolves in this story, who are in need of the peace that she can give them as an Omega wolf.
There were scenes that clutched at my emotions and wouldn't let go. When Anna sings to Asil and Bran, and they fall with their heads in her lap. These troubled wolves finding the peace that an evil adversary had denied them. It was just wonderful to watch.
There are dark and scary moments in this story, as Charles, Anna, and Walter, a wolf they encounter, face a very malevolent entity from the old wolf, Asil's past. Oh, there was plenty of horror in this story. Of the more subtle, not in your face, but very unnerving variety. And the power of this person, powerful enough to take over a character who is known for his absolute strength and control. Shuddering thinking about it.
Yes, I'm gushing. I waited a few days to write this review, trying to get my thoughts in order. For me, this is urban fantasy at its best. Cry Wolf truly is an exemplary werewolf story to me (and that's saying a lot from me). It's the kind of book that you don't want to put down for anything. Ms. Briggs with her misleadingly simple way of telling a story, will have likely a profound effect on you, if you appreciate really good storytelling. Watch out if you haven't read her yet. In the end, I can't speak for other readers. I won't even try. I can only speak for myself. This was a fantastic story. I hope that others who read this enjoy it as much as I did.
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