This book picks up from right where the prequel, Alpha and Omega: A Companion Novella to Cry Wolf, leaves off. If you haven't read that one, stop now and go and read it. If you don't you are missing an integral part of the story! As the story begins, Anna has chosen to go with Charles and Bran (the "Marrok") to Montana and join the Aspen Creek pack. The relationship between Charles and Anna develops further, and we are introduced to more members of the pack, in particular: Samuel (Charles' brother), Asil (aka the Moor, one of the oldest werewolves aside from the Marrok, born around 8th century A.D.), Sage Carhardt, Colin Taggart, and Leah (Bran's wife). We also learn of Bran's plan to "out" the werewolves to the public.
In Aspen Creek, werewolves are not a secret: Either someone is one or married to one or knows one, and their existence is common knowledge amongst the residents. There are some government agencies that are also aware of their existence, and wolves are being blackmailed and/or used. Bran feels that the only way to put a stop to this is to stop living in secrecy.
When word gets around that people are being attacked by supposed grizzlies in the Cabinet Wilderness in Northwest Montana, Bran assumes that either a rogue werewolf is out of control or some wolf wants to make trouble for Bran and foil his plans to bring werewolves out to the public. He sends Charles and Anna into the mountains wearing human-scented clothing as a ruse to try to draw out the wolves.
Asil, also known as the Moor, has quite a reputation for being one of the baddest wolves around. He was married to an Omega, who was tortured and killed by a Black Witch named Mariposa. Asil has been hunted by Mariposa for centuries and, when she turns up in Aspen Creek, no one is safe.
Complex characters seem to be Briggs' forte! The more I learn about Anna and Charles, the more I love them. Thank you, Ms. Briggs, for creating a wonderful protagonist like Anna: Despite being beaten down (literally), she rose beyond even her own expectations. I really enjoyed learning more about Bran and his history, although I am still a little confused about his "berserker." However, I am very intrigued by his special relationship with Anna. I didn't see it coming, but I even fell for Asil! He is really suave (loved Graham's Spanish accent), and I loved Anna's effect on him. He seems to be the most knowledgeable about Omegas because he was married to one, and he takes on the role of teaching Anna more about herself.
Samuel, who is also a doctor, is a little bit of an enigma to me. I really don't know much about him, except that he is Charles' brother and that he has spent time with Mercy Thompson who is the star of Briggs' sister series. It seems that Samuel figures more prominently in that one, and I really must read that series after this one so that all the pieces fall into place for me.
One of my favourite characters from this book is Walter, a soldier who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and fled to the mountains to live because he felt that no one was safe around him. He survives a wolf attack and is Changed, and Anna and Charles come across him in the mountains. I thought he brought a really interesting dynamic to the relationship between Charles and Anna, and I was really moved (to tears, actually) by his actions.
Bran also mentions that the wolves came from Europe and that their presence is most heavily located in North America with smaller packs in Europe, South America, and elsewhere. He further states that there are other beasts that live in other parts of the world, and I wonder whether Briggs will develop other series based on these other creatures!
I was correct in my prediction that this series is only going to get better! I am totally sucked into Briggs' world and can't get enough!
Holter Graham is a new-to-me narrator, and I quite liked his interpretation of the characters. His voice is very animated and, at times, his voice became very intense and he spoke rather quickly. What I loved most about his voice is that he really brought Anna's spunk to life. She is rather cheeky, and I often smiled while listening to those moments as Anna put Charles (or sometimes Bran) in his place! I often thought, "You go, girl!" Graham was spot-on in his portrayal of Anna.
MY RATING: 5 stars!! I loved it, and I will likely re-read it again in the future! You should definitely read it!