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Listen Up! Alpha & Omega Series, part 2

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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 2-3

A couple weeks ago, I posted my audiobook reviews of the first two Alpha & Omega books (prequel novella and book #1). With the upcoming release of the fourth book, Dead Heat, I’m sharing my reviews for the rest of the series. I hope you enjoy the series as much as I do!

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 2, 3

Hunting Ground, Book 2

As Hunting Ground opens, we find Anna and Charles married and mated, working on discovering the necessary give and take required for both to feel comfortable and whole. The pair is sent to Seattle as Bran’s representatives to oversee a dialogue with the European werewolf packs over the issue of coming out to the humans. While Bran is planning on doing this no matter what (see Mercy Thompson series), he wants to make the Europeans at ease with his decision. Unfortunately, Charles and Anna are both put to the test from foes coming at them in all directions, and the pair must work even harder at their relationship to ensure their very survival.

I now understand, when I told people that I was going to start reading Patricia Briggs’ Alpha and Omega series, why so many told me 1) how much they loved Charles and Anna and 2) how they like it more than the Mercy Thompson series. While I would love to discuss the merits of these statements, especially the second one, that would not be helpful as a review for this wonderful book. (Find me… let’s discuss!)

Anna and Charles MAKE this series absolutely wonderful. Like Kate and Curran of the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews, each compliments the other so beautifully that you know as a team, they will be able to concur all obstacles in their path. I admire that their mutual, growing love is the strongest bond portrayed by the author. I also adore that neither really has a clue, and with open, honest dialogue, they are learning together what works. The internal struggles each experience creates rich, three-dimentional characters that I care about completely. The growth over time is organic and crucial to my utter enjoyment. What I love is that not only does the pair grow in their relationship, but their individual growth is equally well-rounded and strong. And oh, do I LOVE Anna!! She’s learning to find her voice just fine!

Although Hunting Ground continues the developing relationship between Anna and Charles, its central story is a complex mystery involving vampires, murder, betrayal, and more. Although I was able to pick out who was behind the majority of the problems, I didn’t fully guess the whys. Listening to Anna and Charles work together to solve the mystery is highly engrossing. I did have a small problem with one of the deaths in particular – more the reasons given for it rather than the death itself. I felt the story changed directions and motives in the middle, rather than sticking with what was first presented, and it bothered me.

One thing Ms. Briggs does well is develop her mythology. She spends a lot of time giving background, history, and behavior analysis for the werewolves and other preternatural creatures. For the most part, I find these narrations interesting and involving; however, after two full books, I hope it gets trimmed back in the next story. It was beginning to become repetitive by the end of Hunting Ground.

I also felt like there was a little too much left open-ended by the conclusion of the book. The talks didn’t end in any formal manner, and I want to know what happened with the European packs, as well as the other Omega wolf introduced to Anna. I guess I’ll have to be patient until the next title (which will hopefully address some of the questions).

I’ve come to look forward to the narration by Holter Graham. His voices have all become familiar friends. His accents for the foreign wolves are fabulous. The alternating point-of-views are made all the more clear by his distinctive changes in character voices.

All-in-all, Hunting Ground is a near perfect story. The blend of romance and urban fantasy mystery is ideal and exciting. I cannot wait to pick up the next title!

My Rating: A, loved it.
Narration: A, loved it.

Fair Game, Book 3

Charles and Anna are back in action, this time in Boston, helping the FBI solve a set of gruesome and troubling serial murders that spans over 30 years. Fair Game is set about two years ahead of the previous two books in the Alpha and Omega series. In those two years, the werewolves officially came out to the humans, and Charles has been required to enforce even stricter rules set by his father, Bran. The killing of other werewolves is taking an emotional and spiritual toll on Charles, while placing a huge strain on his relationship with Anna. Bran sends Anna and Charles to Boston so that Charles can focus on catching a bad guy rather than feeling like he is the bad guy.

Fair Game has all the wonderful characteristics that I have come to enjoy in this series. Anna and Charles make a great team, learning when to give and take, knowing each other so well. Even though Charles is under great stress and is unable to be the mate Anna deserves, I appreciate that Ms. Briggs allows him the time to assess and grow. I also love how much Anna has developed from the beginning of the series. She’s gone from victim to hero, and I adore her character so much!

The primary plot revolves around a long-running serial killer case which has some odd and nearly invisible patterns. Since three of the most recent victims are werewolves, Bran feels the need to send in one of his own to assist. Anna and Charles bring a lot to the table, and I appreciate that they have been given the freedom to speak candidly when necessary. Sorting through the clues through both Charles and Anna’s eyes is exciting and entertaining. Although I pretty much knew from the beginning who the bad guy was (a major clue is given in Frost Burned, the seventh Mercy Thompson book), it was still an engrossing tale.

I’ve said it before, but balance is what I love so much about this series and the primary couple. Balance of romance and mystery, Charles and Anna, alpha and omega. Ms. Briggs creates a storyline that is dark and horrendous, but gives it light and hope. Straddling the line between paranormal romance and urban fantasy, the Alpha and Omega series is an ideal balance of so many moving parts.

Warning… RANT AHEAD…

What I didn’t like… Okay, so this is a general rant, but it bothers me when an author has a “spin off series” that ends up being a significant part of the primary series. Up until Fair Game, this wasn’t the case. While there are overlapping characters and events, this series was independent of the Mercy Thompson series and visa versa. However, when I read Frost Burned, it was clear that a major, unexplained event happened “off screen,” and it bothered me that it wasn’t addressed within the book. Well… I found out that it was explained, but IN THE SPIN-OFF SERIES! While it didn’t compromise the integrity of either book or series, it bothered me that it even happened in the first place.

While I’m ranting… What is it about rape? Both of the primary female characters in the Mercy Thompson world are victims of brutal crimes, to include rape and being forced to do things against their wills. Rape and brutalization are a big part of Fair Game. Is it just me, or do these two series contain too much violence against women – no matter how gracefully and tactfully the author handles both the acts and the after effects? ~end rant~

The narration by Holter Graham is spot on, including some excellent Boston accents. His voice has become familiar and comforting to me. I love the slight differences he puts behind Charles and Brother Wolf. He also brings to life some wonderful new characters, ones that I would love to see again.

Overall, I enjoyed Fair Game and other than my pet peeves listed above, feel it is a solid story and wonderful addition to the series. I am looking forward to the upcoming fourth book, Dead Heat.

My Rating: A-
Narration: A

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  • Melanie Simmons

    I loved Fair Game. I loved seeing Charles finally be able to be the good guy.

    I agree with you about the events in a spin off affecting the other series. Jeaniene Frost just did a very similar thing in the most recent Vlad book, she had a spoiler for the last Cat & Bones book, so you can’t read Vlad if you aren’t caught up with C&B without the spoiler.

    • It’s so aggravating… why call them two different series then? I understand why, but it would be more usual to fans, especially new to the series fans, if the series names stayed the same or were listed as a subset. LOL. At least both Patricia Briggs (via her forum) and Jeaniene Frost list “recommended reading order” to include all the bits and pieces.

      I am sooooo looking forward to DEAD HEAT next week. I’m avoiding all discussion, except I did have to read Gikany & Una’s review to post it. But I’m not reading the comments or anything else! 🙂

      • Melanie Simmons

        I just finished writing my review for Dead Heat last night. I really enjoyed.

  • Jeffe Kennedy

    Hmm, I was all finger-poised to use my Audible credit on the first in this series (do I have to start with 0.5?), but now the Book 3 rant has me pausing. I wouldn’t like that. And I’ve never been able to get into the Mercy books. Torn!

    • First-yes!! Get these books! They are amazingly awesome: great blend of PNR and UF. You will love them! They are very different than the Mercy series (I like it better). And you really should start with the novella because it sets up their relationship.

      Second-the rant is more from the perspective of someone who reads the MT series. If you only read A/O series, it won’t really impact you at all.

      If you have more questions, let me know!!

      • Jeffe Kennedy

        Okay – I bought the novella for post-RITA judging reading. Only because I totally trust you. 🙂

      • I’ll reimberse you if you don’t like it!! The novella is setup. It gets much better!!

      • Jeffe Kennedy

        ha! I love a guarantee 😀

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