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Listen Up! Alpha & Omega Series, part 1

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Welcome to my new weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to…

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Audiobook reviews: Alpha & Omega Series Books 0.5-1

After picking up and blazing through the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs on audiobook, someone encouraged me to listen to the spinoff series, Alpha & Omega. I was more than a little frustrated with the Mercy series (possibly another Listen Up! post), and I was told by a number of people that they, in fact, enjoy Alpha & Omega more than Mercy. After finishing the first two stories, I can whole heartedly agree! Overall, the Alpha & Omega series has a balanced feel, sharing equal time between romance and action, as well as male and female characters. Whereas Mercy is told from the first person point-of-view of the heroine, the Alpha & Omega stories have multiple points-of-view, adding to that sense of balance.

Today I’m sharing my reviews of the prequel novella and first book, and be sure to come back next week for my reviews of books 2 and 3. Note: This series can be read independently from the Mercy Thompson series, but the two series are somewhat intertwined. For more information on chronological reading order, please visit Hurog forum website. Due to the building nature of the series, each review may contain spoilers from previous books.

Author: Patricia Briggs
Narrator: Holter Graham
Audio Speed: 1x
Series: Alpha & Omega 0.5, 1

Alpha & Omega, Book 0.5

The series opens with this novella, sharing the story of how Charles and Anna meet. For those unfamiliar with the Mercy Thompson world, Charles is her adoptive brother of sorts – the son of Bran, head of all werewolves, the man that helped raise Mercy. This story takes place during the same time as the first Mercy book, Moon Called.Anna is an emotionally and physically abused female werewolf, who didn’t ask to be turned (a big no-no in this world). She knows little about her own kind except darkness and cruelty. When she realizes something isn’t quite right with her pack, she contacts Bran and shares her concerns.

Charles is Bran’s second and executioner. He arrives in Chicago to discover what is wrong with the local pack, but finds himself inexplicably drawn to the timid female wolf, Anna.

Anna and Charles are special right from the start. There is a huge gap in their experiences, ages, and knowledge, yet the pair click immediately – even through Anna’s fear. What I love is that instead of this being explained away by “true mating” or “insta-love,” the author gives logical explanations based on who each wolf is in relationship to the other and the larger werewolf society. I also enjoyed the back-and-forth changing POV’s from Anna and Charles, giving great insight from two perspectives.

The story is quick, but satisfying for me, especially having learned about the events in Chicago peripherally via the Mercy series. However, the novella is completely stand alone and works as a great introduction to the Alpha and Omega series.

Overall, the narration by Holter Graham is good. I enjoy his soothing “narrator” voice, and find his female voices well-done. However, I did not care as much for the voice of Charles. The voice came across sounding like a “big brut” and someone slow, rather than the intelligent, sharp Native American that I find Charles to be. While it didn’t bother me enough to disrupt my enjoyment of the story, I still didn’t care for it that much.

Story: B+
Narration: B-

Cry Wolf, Book 1

After feeling frustrated with the Mercy Thompson series, I feel like I’ve found a real treasure in the Alpha and Omega series. Cry Wolf is the first full-length story in the series, following the must-read prequel novella that shares how the primary characters, Anna and Charles, meet.Firmly straddling the line between urban fantasy and paranormal romance, Cry Wolf continues the story of how Anna and Charles become mated. Although Anna has been a werewolf for three years, she was kept in the dark as to her true Omega nature and all that it means to be a were. Anna’s wolf has fully accepted that Charles’s wolf is her mate; however, Anna’s human half continues to be haunted by the atrocities she endured for three years under her former alpha and pack. This, coupled with Charles’s lack of experience in mating and in dealing with an Omega, makes mating a difficult proposition. I throughly enjoy how Ms. Briggs uses the wolf, especially in Anna, to deal with the horrors, keeping the human safe and mentally intact. It’s an interesting and effective tool that allows the characters to progress forward without minimizing their horrific pasts.

In addition to the story of their mating, Anna and Charles must help Bran, Charles’s father and the alpha of all North America werewolves, find a rogue were who has attacked innocent humans near to their home in Aspen Creek, Montana. Heading out into the wilderness together gives the pair some much needed alone time to talk about all that has happened. It also affords Anna the chance to ask questions, giving the reader insight to Ms. Briggs’s mythology. The riddle of the rogue and all that comes with it, is an exciting and fascinating story on its own.

Being shared through multiple character point-of-views is one of the best things about Cry Wolf. It not only gives the listener/reader a greater understanding of the overall story, but it provides a balance that one doesn’t always find in UF series. I found myself completely engaged with each character even when the story wasn’t being shared from his/her POV.

I also want to mention how much I enjoyed the characters of Asil-the Moor and Bran, two wolves I met during the course of reading the Mercy Thompson books. Learning more about both characters’ long history brought a lot to the entire Mercy/A-O universe.

I enjoyed the narration by Holter Graham much more this time around. Whether it is that his performance has improved between the novella and this book or if it is my perception, I found myself enjoying each of his character voices, even Charles, with whom I did not care for in the prequel. I find his cadence soothing and easy to enjoy.

Story:  A-
Narration: A-

JENsignature

  • Melanie Simmons

    I think I like this series better than Mercy (though I love her too). I think part of it is getting to see things from the different POVs and the other part is getting more time with Bran and Asil. Wait until you get to Shifting Shadows. Asil has a great story in it. I’m really excited for book four in this series coming out next month. I’ve requested the audio for review.

    • I too am excited to listen to the upcoming title. I hope we see more from the fallout with the Fae!

      • Melanie Simmons

        Yea, what happens in Fair Game was so big, it will be interesting to see how that is handled. I was expecting more in the last Mercy book about it, but there wasn’t much, if I remember right

      • The seventh Mercy book (Frost Burned) takes place chronologically right after Fair Game and it did not really address the issue. The 8th book (Night Broken) takes place AFTER the upcoming A/O book, so?? Who knows?

  • Jennifer @ The Book Nympho

    I like this series more than Mercy too.

  • I love this series, but Mercy has special place in my hart, as you can see I’m in the minority (here..lol) I’m glad you you enjoyed it, specially Holter Graham’s narration, he’s always great! 🙂
    Great review!

    • Thanks Loupe! I didn’t think I’d like it more than Mercy, but I got so angry and frustrated with the most recent Mercy book, that I had to stop listening to it. Anna & Charles represented everything that I was mad about the Mercy series, so they swept in and stole my heart. I will go back and listen to that last Mercy book, soon…

  • I love this series a tad bit more than Mercy (only because I am mad at Adam–still LOL) 🙂 Both are awesome though 🙂

    • Exactly! I haven’t even finished the last book because I was mad at Adam and the Pack in the opening scenes!

  • Jeffe Kennedy

    Interesting! Mercy didn’t work for me and I’ve always felt left out of the squee over it. Maybe I’ll try this one!

    • OH Jeffe… YES!! I think you will really like this series. Much more romance and a great balance with action. Equal time between love story and adventure. Keep me posted!!

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  • UnaReads

    I love the world, absolutely love the world. Mercy has a special place in my heart and therefore a small advantage over Alpha and Omega. Though I really love both series, I feel a kinship to both Anna and Mercy. I haven’t had the pleasure of the audio of A&O but I hope to soon. As for the fourth book…I may have an ARC…I may have already read it. Stay tuned for Gikany and I’s review of it coming up in a couple weeks!

    • Brat! ;-P

      • UnaReads

        I tried to resist and I just couldn’t…I am weak. Plus it’s punishment, I’ve become addicted to audiobooks and I have you to thank. Just when I thought my reading addiction couldn’t get any worse… Such sweet torment!

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