Mated werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham must discover what could make an entire community disappear–before it’s too late–in this thrilling entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling Alpha and Omega series.
In the wilds of the Northern California mountains, all the inhabitants of a small town have gone missing. It’s as if the people picked up and left their possessions behind. With a mystery on their hands and no jurisdiction on private property, the FBI dumps the whole problem in the lap of the land owner, Aspen Creek, Inc.–aka the business organization of the Marrok’s pack.
Somehow, the pack of the Wolf Who Rules is connected to a group of vanished people. Werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham are tasked with investigating, and soon find that a deserted town is the least of the challenges they face.
Death sings in the forest, and when it calls, Charles and Anna must answer. Something has awakened in the heart of the California mountains, something old and dangerous–and it has met werewolves before.
I was very excited when I got my little hands on this book (digitally speaking) and I’ve re-read it, and every time I finish it, I’m left with that good book satisfaction that quickly turns to a sort of sadness that the book is over, the characters and their world no longer vividly a part of mine. All of this to say, I really enjoyed this book. This is the latest in the Alpha and Omega series, featuring the couple Anna and Charles. It is loosely tied to Briggs’s Mercy Thompson series, but I’ve read all the Alpha and Omega books without feeling like I was lost, so if you don’t want to read about twenty books to get up to speed on this one, you’ll be just fine. I do think that it is better to have read the other books in the Alpha and Omega series, because you get to see Anna and Charles develop as characters; you get to see them get even better as a couple; and you get to see secondary characters be more fleshed out, like Bram. Anna and Charles are on another mission on behalf of Bram (Charles’s father). The mission brings to light the pasts of Bram and his wife, which are tangled up with that evil mentioned in the blurb–and it really is pretty gruesome. That brings me to a content warning for abuse and incest–it isn’t on the page, but it is mentioned by other characters. What I enjoyed most, and what kept this book from becoming too creepy and scary for me, was Anna and Charles’s constancy and their warm relationship.
The book starts out by showing us one of the secondary characters that is involved in Anna and Charles’s mission. Then we’re shown Anna and Charles having a normal day at home before politics (werewolf-y type politics) rudely interrupts them. This is where we see that warmth I mentioned. Anna and Charles play music for each other, because they both love music and as a game; they enjoy making each other happy in big and small ways. We see this over and over in the rest of the story and it lightened what might otherwise be a fairly dark book. On the page, we get one big battle scene. However, there are other scenes which are almost darker than the battle scene, even if they are lacking in gore. That said, there is no ambiguity in terms of if the big baddy is actually terrible. He is definitely terrible and definitely needs to be stopped.
Anna can be vulnerable and strong with Charles, and Charles can be vulnerable and strong with Anna. This is something neither of them can really express with other people for various reasons. For example, Tag, who is accompanying Anna and Charles on their mission as backup, points out that Charles laughs when Anna is around. Charles is an enforcer among the wolves, which means he holds himself apart from almost everyone, not because he doesn’t care for them, but because he has to be impartial if he should ever have to come after one of the werewolves. Because of his position and his dominance (remember, he is a unique werewolf), Charles is feared by werewolves to varying degrees. But with Anna, he doesn’t have to be impartial. Also, a lot of people think Charles is all muscle in his enforcing, but we get to see in these books–especially in this book–that Charles is not just a great fighter, but a good investigator. He uses his magical abilities that he inherited through his mother (including Brother Wolf) and years of experience investigating other horrible situations to track down as much of the truth as he can.
Anna is Charles’s mirror, in a way. She is the omega that the series title refers to, and because of how Briggs interprets the omega concept, Anna doesn’t have to follow the rules of dominant and submissive werewolves. Also, Anna is friendly and curious and has developed a quiet sort of authority as she’s grown into herself. For these reasons, she can speak to people in ways Charles can’t, and Charles respects her for it. She is also very stubborn. We get to see all of that on display in the book, particularly as it progresses. Charles lets Anna take the lead in a lot of situations–talking to witnesses and other baddies in an attempt to figure out who or what the big baddy they’re looking for is. And when Anna ends up in a bad situation towards the end of the book, she is vital to her escape–yes, Charles is on his way to rescue her, but she is actively rescuing herself, too.
Over all, I really enjoyed this book. It ends on a tiny cliff hanger, and there are some issues that are left on the backburner, so I am hopeful there will be another book in the future. If you enjoy couples stopping actually terrible people/creatures from doing terrible things, go forth and read this book.
You can buy a copy here.