Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Book Review - Patricia Brigg's Hunting Ground

Hunting Ground (Alpha and Omega Book 2) by Patricia Briggs
Published by: Ace
Publication Date: August 25th, 2009
Format: Paperback, 304 Pages
Challenge: Shifter Challenge 2011, Horror and Urban Fantasy
Rating: ★★
To Buy
Charles and Anna are still adjusting to married life. Charles isn't used to letting anyone into his closed off, sequestered little world and Anna is having trust issues after the brutality she faced at the hands of her previous pack. But personal issues have to be set aside for the greater good of the werewolves. Bran, the Marrok, the Alpha of all North American Alphas, has called a meeting in Seattle where the European werewolves can voice their concerns about the announcement of their existence. They don't have a vote or a choice. This will be happening. But Bran is willing to offer them whatever they need in return, from monies to shelter. The Italians, Germans and French werewolves are the main factions, with England being solely represented by their leader Arthur. They all have personal grudges and feuds. The Italians are bringing another Omega, Ric, whom they swiped away from the Germans, and France is being represented by Chastel, THE BEAST, whose blood lust is notorious. Charles has such concerns over his fathers safety that he does the unheard of and stands up to his father saying that he and Anna will go in his stead. Charles does not care if the others view this as a slight. It's for his father's protection. Arriving at the local packs landing strip, Anna and Charles head into Seattle. For Charles, this is not his element. He is one with nature, not concrete and noise, which is what Anna is. She loves the bustling metropolis right on the water, reminiscent of her hometown, Chicago. Their first stop off is to visit the fairy that Bran has negotiated with. Dana is to see that there is no bloodshed and the truth is spoken, of course, it is virtually impossible to do that around werewolves anyway.

Once their offering has been given to Dana all sorts of hell starts to break loose. There are too many Alphas in once place. First they all show up at a local restaurant and the fracas has to be calmed. The next day Anna is taken shopping by a member of the local pack and his white witch wife, where they are promptly attacked by vampires using werewolf pack magic. But this doesn't stop business from continuing on as usual and dinner parties needing to be attended. Anna and Charles visit Arthur and his human mate Sunny for dinner. Arthur believes he is the reincarnation of the real King Arthur, and even carries around a sword he claims is Excalibur. Sunny will be the first victim. It should have been Anna, but, her life seems to be worth something, unlike others. As death starts to reign down on what was to be a "peaceful" conference, Charles is glad his father isn't present, but he sure wishes that Anna was out of harms way. Trying to untangle who is really behind these attacks and who they can trust will take all the courage and strength the newlyweds have. And hopefully they'll get a happily ever after.

Intertwining myth and pack politics, this is the least successful of Briggs' novels I've read. So much of what drove the first installment of the Alpha and Omega series was the ping ponging back and forth between the confused minds of the two leads. Will they make this work, can they truly be mated. Seeing as at the beginning of this book they are together and everything is going as smoothly as it can given that they have just recently met, there is way to much uncertainty in each other and too much possessiveness on the part of "Brother Wolf." They are MATED. In the world Briggs has created, they are together, there's no going back. They are one. To then have them doubt this over and over makes you kind of want to slap them. But aside from their obvious character flaws, this book took to long to get to the center of all the swirling red herrings. Once you finally got there you realized, it's kind of cool. This is a neat integration of Arthurian Legend and other mythologies into a world of werewolves. But it took a long time of "are we there yet" to reach the point of satisfaction. While I am interested to see what happens to these characters, if they keep doubting themselves and their purpose, I'll start doubting why I'm still reading this series.


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