Oh Anna and Charles, I love you so much. From the very first Alpha and Omega novella, Patricia Briggs has given this hero and heroine such depth of character, that I feel like I know them. They are flawed, brave, loyal, insecure, and violent. But above and beyond all that, they always love one other.
This book may be my favorite yet in the series. I was surprised at the onset to see how much time had passed since the events of Hunting Ground. While it’s not spelled out precisely, it’s been a few years. (Events from River Marked are referenced and we know the first two books take place roughly around the same time as Moon Called.) But what’s interesting is that Charles and Anna have changed very little with the passage of time. I would have expected that with a love like theirs, a few years would find these two in the happiest place they’ve ever been. But things are harder than ever.
Charles has always been his father’s sword of justice. But now that the werewolves are “out” to human society, it’s vital to keep a lid on werewolf violence. So Bran’s sending Charles out to kill their misbehaving brethren in record numbers. It’s wearing on Charles; breaking his spirit; and driving him to cut himself off from Anna. He’s haunted by the ghosts of his prey. To give him a reprieve, Bran sends Charles and Anna to Boston to help human investigators solve a serial killer case.
The killer has been torturing and murdering victims for decades. And in recent years, he’s moved onto Fae and werewolf targets. Details of the killer’s depravity were disturbing at times, but it was really a captivating case. The mystery introduces us to new characters, like Leslie, a tough human FBI agent; Isaac, the Alpha of the Boston pack; and Beauclaire, a fascinating Fae whose daughter was among the abducted. I won’t spoil all the amazing twists and turns, but I can say that it was unpredictable and kept me on the edge of my seat.
The world-building is flawless and merges seamlessly with the Mercy Thompson series. I love the effortless way I can sink back into these books. But most of all, I love unfailing way that Charles and Anna love each other. It baffles me that either one can still manage to question their worth to the other, when it’s so obvious how deep their love runs. But it’s gratifying to see them prove that love over and over again.
I give the book extra points for giving me a little peek inside Bran’s head. And double bonus points for a spectacular ending, guaranteed to bring repercussions into future books in this series and the Mercy Thompson one. I can’t wait to see what happens next. 4 1/2 stars.
*ARC Provided by Ace
Fair Gameby Patricia BriggsRelease Date: March 6, 2012Publisher: Ace