Wednesday 10 March 2010

Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs

Second full length novel in the Alpha and Omega series, Hunting Ground continues the story of Charles and Anna. Bran the Marrock of the US werewolves has decided it's time for the werewolves to come out into the public. He knows that this view will not be without opposition, and Anna and Charles are sent to Seattle to keep the peace at the wolve's conclave. But nothing is ever simple, when one of the delegates is murdered, suspicion falls on Charles and the penalty for murdering another werewolf during the conclave is death. It will be up to Anna to discover the truth and save her mate.

Sounds relatively straightforward? Actually though that's the plot in a nutshell it's actually more complicated than that. But I'm not giving any spoilers away.

The thing I love about Patricia Briggs writing is that it's like catching up with old friends. You really feel you know the characters and I'm always eager to find out what's been happening in their lives.

I enjoyed Hunting Ground more than Cry Wolf (the first full length novel in the series) I think mainly because this story feels more like a coherent whole. Everything is working together, plot, character and the overall story arc. It's a little strange because you know where the overall universe plot is going (as the Mercedes books are ahead of the Alpha and Omega) but it also gives you a privileged viewpoint.

A major part of this story was the progression in the relationship between Anna and Charles. I love how Patricia Briggs tackles the concept of the bonded couple, it makes that 'instant soul mate' convenience thing in some other stories look like nothing other than a convenience.

Most UF authors are building over the course of two or three books towards an innate trust and instinctive understanding between their main couple (usually with a few major arguments and flare ups along the way). But Patricia Briggs takes Anna and Charles to that point almost immediately, as their wolves bond before their human selves do. She illustrates in a realistic way that relationships based on a form of instant bonding have just as many problems (if not more) than relationships which build over time. Anna and Charles's relationship is incredibly strong in some ways but it's also fragile. They have to work at understanding each other, instinct can only take you so far, the rest of the way is a leap of faith.
He loved her beyond all reason and didn't expect her to love him back. He was just waiting for her to wise up.
He expects that when she sees him for what he is - a killer - that she will be repulsed and leave him. But Charle's view is biased by his own perception of himself. He doesn't see himself in the way that Anna does. She has an objectivity, she sees all that he is and knows what being his fathers strong right arm costs him. And she proves she's more than capable of defending him.
(Angus)"...I don't ever want to face that man fang and claw."
"If you don't shut up," Anna bit out, "you might not ever have to worry about it."
A quick shout out for two new characters - Moira (witch) and Tom (werewolf) - as soon as I started reading them I wanted to know more. So was delighted to find out that their story is in the anthology Strange Brew which I will be picking up very soon.

I highly recommend this entry in the series and am impatiently waiting for the next release in the series. Luckily there will be another Mercedes book before then to help me through the wait.


Darlynne said...

I love this series, too, and immediately took to Anna and Charles. You're right about feeling as though you're visiting old friends and I get the same feeling when I read Mercy's books. Thanks for a great review.

LesleyW said...

Darlynne - you're welcome. I just wish it wasn't such a long wait til the next Anna and Charles book. I'm trying to remember that patience is a virtue. :)

Anonymous said...

I loved reading Hunting Ground, I also wish the next book was coming out sooner, but Silver Borne's just a short time away. I loved Anna and Charles relationship. It reminded of Eve and Roarke from the In Death series. Both of these of couples are still learning things about each other and learning to be omfotable in their relationships. That's what makes it so realistic.

LesleyW said...

Layla - that's one of the things I most enjoy the slow development of the relationship.