Author: Patricia Briggs
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Publication Date: March 2012
Hardcover: 293 pages
They say opposites attract. And in the case of werewolves Anna Latham and Charles Cornick, they mate. The son-and enforcer-of the leader of the North American werewolves, Charles is a dominant alpha. While Anna, an omega, has the rare ability to calm others of her kind.
Now that the werewolves have revealed themselves to humans, they can’t afford any bad publicity. Infractions that could have been overlooked in the past must now be punished, and the strain of doing his father’s dirty work is taking a toll on Charles.
Nevertheless, Charles and Anna are sent to Boston, when the FBI requests the pack’s help on a local serial killer case. They quickly realize that not only the last two victims were werewolves – all of them were. Someone is targeting their kind. And now Anna and Charles have put themselves right in the killer’s sights…
Stand alone or series: Book 3 in the Alpha and Omega series
How did I get this book: Review Copy from the publisher
Why did I read this book: Are you kidding me?! I adore Patricia Briggs; I adore the Mercy Thompson series (it is my second favorite UF series of all time); I freaking love Charles and Anna and all of the books to date in this series. Of COURSE I was gonna read this book as soon as possible!
**WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS MILD SPOILERS FOR THE FIRST TWO BOOKS IN THE ALPHA AND OMEGA SERIES. If you have not read books 1 & 2, and you wish to stay unspoiled, look away now! You have been warned.**
Married life for omega wolf Anna Latham to dominant wolf mate Charles Cornick is blissful, but lately their bond has become strained. Following the public outing of werewolves to the rest of the world, public tensions have been running high, leaving supernatural creatures in a politically precarious position. With such intense scrutiny placed on werewolves, any violent act or slip-up could result in public fury, and with anti-supernatural creature legislation in the ether, the stakes are incredibly high. In this tense environment, Bran, the Marok and Alpha in charge of every werewolf in North America, needs to make sure that any and every wolf transgression is put down quickly and quietly, before news reaches the general public – and the only person capable to do the dirty work is his son, Charles. Charles has been his father’s right-hand man for centuries, but even his stoicism and determination falters as he’s sent out on increasingly more missions, hunts, and kills. The ghosts of those he’s murdered haunt Charles, and he becomes more aloof each day, shutting down his mate-bond with Anna in an attempt to protect her from the guilt, terror, and even the possible harm his ghosts can cause.
Anna isn’t having any of that brooding ‘I’m protecting you for your own good’ nonsense, though, and does everything in her power to get her father in law to lighten Charles’ load. Bran sends the couple on a consulting gig in Boston, to help a special task force including the FBI, Homeland Security, and “Cantrippers” (a new agency dedicating to archiving and protecting humans against supernatural creatures) catch a brutal serial killer, who has managed to take down not only human prey, but fae and werewolves, too. For Anna, it is the perfect opportunity to spend time with Charles and distract him from the ghosts that haunt his thoughts – and when a new victim is abducted by the mysterious killer, Anna and Charles are determined to find and save the girl before it is too late. As they close in on the killer, both Anna and Charles will have to confront their own demons in order to stop the murderer, and repair their strained bond.
Reading a new Patricia Briggs book is like receiving a highly anticipated, awesome birthday present – you look forward to it all year, you’re excited and nervous when you start unwrapping, and then you’re blown away by the level of sheer awesomeness within. Such is Fair Game. Without fail, I am always nervous when I start a new book of a beloved series – there’s the potential for Things Going Wrong, and that tends to freak me out. Reading Patricia Briggs, however, always reminds me of what a ninny I’m being because her books – both the Mercy and the Alpha & Omega series – are always, always fantastic.
Fair Game has our pair of intrepid heroes in a rough patch, and not because they don’t madly love each other, but because of the strain put on Charles by his father (and in turn because of Charles’ incredible pigheadedness in blocking Anna out). If there’s one thing we know about these two characters over the course of the series, it is that they are flawed and damaged creatures. Anna was changed to wolf under the most dire, horrific circumstances, and Charles’ past is no less gruesome. Together, though, the two are a perfect match.
I am always in awe of the premise behind this spinoff series and the concept of the “Omega Wolf”. The romance trope in which the big burly hero wants to protect the poor, sweet heroine can be incredibly grating – but that’s not all an Omega Wolf is, nor is it truly what the Omega Wolf represents. Anna is not a victim and she doesn’t wait around for people to save her, and I really, really love this about her character. Like Mercy, Anna is an under-powered heroine, lacking in brute strength and aggression – but that does not translate to a lack of agency or power. Rather, Anna’s strength is in her ability to assess a situation and understand how to approach others, especially those that no one else dares approach.
I also love Charles and his unique relationship with his wolf side – Brother Wolf, as he refers to him – and how Brother Wolf plays an especially central role in this book. So often in werewolf novels, the beast is the thing that needs controlling; in Fair Game, it is Brother Wolf that takes over and helps the human side of Charles heal. Beyond our main characters, there are a few notable additions to this book in the character of FBI Special Agent Leslie and Boston Pack Alpha Isaac – both of whom I hope to see in subsequent installments.
As always, the writing, scope of world building, and the plotting is fantastic in Fair Game. Tied to the events in the Mercy Thompson books (though running behind that current timeline), I am once again in awe of the intricacies of pack magic, supernatural creatures and custom, and political entanglements that all play a role in this third novel. While I was able to suss out the identity of the killer fairly easily, the overall mystery and the details of the investigation are so wonderfully wrought a smidgen of predictability hardly matters. Finally, the novel finishes on a dramatic, pitch-perfect note – complete with bloody decapitation and a nightmare of political implications. I cannot wait to find out what happens next.
Once again, I found myself completely engrossed, enthralled, and impressed with Fair Game – it was absolutely worth the wait. If you haven’t read this series yet, you really need to start.
Notable Quotes/Parts: From the prologue:
Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Leslie.
The year she turned eight, two things happened: her mother left Leslie and her father to move to California with a stockbroker; and, in the middle of a sensational murder trial, the fae of story and song admitted to their existence. Leslie never heard from her mother again, but the fairies were another matter.
When she was nine, her father took a job in a strange city, moving them from the house she’d grown up in to an apartment in Boston where they were the only black people in an all-white neighborhood. Their apartment encompassed the upper floor of a narrow house owned by their downstairs neighbor, Mrs. Cullinan. Mrs. Cullinan kept an eye on Leslie while her dad was at work and by her silent championship eased Leslie’s way into the society of the neighborhood kids who casually dropped by for cookies or lemonade. In Mrs. Cullinan’s capable hands, Leslie learned to crochet, knit, sew, and cook while her dad kept the old woman’s house and lawn in top shape.
Even as an adult, Leslie wasn’t sure if her dad had paid the old woman or if she’d just taken over without consulting him. It was the kind of thing Mrs. Cullinan would have done.
When Leslie was in third grade, one of the kindergarten boys went missing. In fourth grade, one of her classmates, a girl by the name of Mandy, disappeared. There were also, throughout the same time period, a lot of missing pets — mostly kittens and young dogs. Nothing that would have attracted her attention if it weren’t for Mrs. Cullinan. On their daily walks (Mrs. Cullinan called them “busybody strolls,”to see what people in their neighborhood were up to), the old woman began stopping at missing-pet notices taped in store windows and taking out a little notebook and writing all the information in it.
“Are we looking for lost animals?” Leslie asked finally. She mostly learned from observation rather than by asking questions because, in her experience, people lied better with their lips than they did with their actions. But she hadn’t come up with a good explanation for the missing-pet list and she was forced, at last, to resort to words.
“It’s always good to keep an eye out.” It was a not-quite answer, but Mrs. Cullinan sounded troubled, so Leslie didn’t ask her again.
When Leslie’s new birthday puppy — a mutt with brown eyes and big feet — went missing, Mrs. Cullinan had gotten tight-lipped and said,“It is time to put a stop to this.” Leslie was pretty sure her landlady hadn’t known anyone was listening to her.
You can read the full excerpt online HERE.
Rating: 8 – Excellent
Reading Next: Fair Game by Patricia Briggs
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