Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs

Dead HeatDead Heat

by Patricia Briggs
Series: Alpha and Omega, #4


Hardcover, 324 pg.
Ace Books, 2015
Read: March 6 – 7, 2015
One of the biggest difficulties I have here on this ol’ blog is coming up with something to say about later books in a series. What (barring a significant shift in quality) can I say that I haven’t already said? I’m honestly not sure here, but I’ll give it a try.

It’s been three years since the jaw-dropping conclusion of Fair Game, and we’re finally able to get back to Brigg’s Alpha and Omega series. Things seem to have been pretty quiet for these two. We’re not given a lot (or any, as far as I can recall) of information about what’s been going on in the lives of Charles and Anna since then, but we can guess — they’ve grown closer, Charles has done a little enforcing for his father, Anna’s. . . well, honestly, I don’t know, she’s been doing her own thing.

Hunting Game is a nice departure from the typical setup for these books. There’s no assignment, no renegade werewolf, no investigation — just Charles trying to get a gift for Anna and introducing her to an old friend. Sure — something supernatural comes up, there’s something/someone that needs to be stopped before people die. Thankfully, conveniently, fortuitously, Charles and Anna are in town and they (with the help of the local pack) can take charge to protect those who need it the most.

There’s not a lot here that will progress the story of either series, no dramatic character growth or supernatural threat that will shake things up. It’s about spending time with these people, understanding them a bit better — at least in a new light. Seeing Charles away from his family — but amidst friends that might as well be, sheds a good deal of light on his character — not just his past. It’s also interesting seeing the way this particular pack acts together (as opposed to Bran’s or Adams’s).

There’s a warmth to this book, even when things got hairy and tense — which fits a novel about an Omega — the same way that Mercy’s books have a very different feel. A welcome addition to the growing Brigg’s world.

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4 Stars

Night Broken by Patricia Briggs

Night Broken (Mercy Thompson, #8)Night Broken

by Patricia Briggs
Series: Mercy Thompson, #8


Hardcover, 341 pg.
Ace Hardcover, 2014
Read: March 19 – 20, 2014

Yay! Mercy’s back! She’s back and she’s facing off with her most potentially destructive foe . . . Adam’s ex. Oh, sure, there’s some sort of Gray Lord threatening her, a supernatural super-baddie that Mercy and her pals have never heard of, and an escaped felon who has powers a lot like Mercy . But the big danger comes from Christy.

This wasn’t a “big” novel in any real sense — seeds were planted/characters were introduced tha will be important, and I wouldn’t want to say that nothing significant happens. But, no epochal shifts, no game changers here — just straightforward case of bad guy comes to town, and Mercy et al. stop it. And along the way the final confrontation with the bad guy, we get to spend sometime with the Tri-Cities pack, as well as see some of the fallout from the last couple of books in this or the Alpha-Omega series. And that’s fine. Not every book needs to be an even, some just need to have a fun story, and maybe even move the chess pieces around a bit.

Initially, the villain of the piece looks fairly disappointing, just some stalker jerk making life difficult of Christy. But it soon becomes clear that there’s more to this guy, and it doesn’t take long to see that he’s one bad customer — creepy, dangerous, and powerful in a way I don’t think I’ve seen before. All in all, a worthy competitor for Mercy and the pack.

As always, the interplay between Mercy and the various members of the pack — or just between the pack without regard to Mercy — is fascinating. At once familial, yet competitive, not necessarily all that affectionate, yet more loyal than a troop of Marines.
The more the Jesse/Mercy relationship develops, the more I like to see it — particularly here, where much of the book can be seen as mother v. step-mother, watching Jesse maturely navigating those treacherous waters was quite satisfying.

My main (only?) quibble with the book was the way that Adam was depicted. He was continually utterly clueless about the way that Christy’s actions would/did affect Mercy. A lot of that, to be fair to the guy, can be attributed to how much he’s moved on from Christy and how devoted he is to Mercy — he doesn’t even see his ex as a potential threat. But, 1. Adam’s smarter than that and 2. given how territorial werewolves are in Briggs’ universe (and as seen in this book), it’s almost impossible to believe that he wouldn’t pick up on the territorial incursions Christy’s making.

Not the best thing that Briggs has written in this series, but not the worst. It had a good story, it was good to spend time with these characters, and I enjoyed the introduction of the new forces at play. A fun way to spend a few hours. Just about everything you could ask for.

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4 1/2 Stars

Dusted Off: Wolfsbane by Patricia Briggs

Wolfsbane (Sianim, #4 - Aralorn, #2)Wolfsbane

by Patricia Briggs
Mass Market Paperback, 304 pg.
Ace, 2010

A fun, solid read with characters you end up caring a lot about without even noticing, just a touch of action, a splash of romance, and at least one character who switches between species. In other words, it’s a Patricia Briggs novel.

Like its predecessor Masques, this was written pretty early in her career, and it shows. It’s still a heckuva story, and I’d jump right into a third adventure of Wolfe and Aralorn.

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3 Stars

Dusted Off: Masques by Patricia Briggs

Masques (Sianim, #1)Masques

by Patricia Briggs
Mass Market Paperback, 294 pg.
Ace, 2010

I didn’t know what to expect out of this. Between the fact that this is a different genre than I’m familiar with Briggs writing in, and the way she lowered expectations in the forward about this when it was reissued, I came into it not expecting a lot.

I should’ve known better. Not unlike her protagonist, Patricia Briggs knows how to tell a story. This was not the best fantasy I’ve read recently, but it was a very enjoyable tale.

Briggs’ strength has to be her characters, and even here in her first novel, she nailed ’em. They were people you cared about, or could easily see yourself caring about, if you got to spend some more time with ’em.

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4 Stars