Excerpts – January 2009

January 4, 2009

Some excerpts from recent releases and upcoming books:

  • Evil Ways (excerpt), by Justin Gustanis
    The second Quincey Morris book is out already.
  • At Grave’s End (excerpt), by Jeaniene Frost
    The “read chapter one” link will show the excerpt in a little popup.
  • Bone Crossed (excerpt), by Patricia Briggs
    Here’s the first chapter of the fourth Mercy Thompson, it’ll be out in hardcover in February.

We’re practically swamped in anthologies lately, this one is a holiday themed collection. The stories in Wolfsbane and Mistletoe involve werewolves and Christmas, though several of them could have been set at any time of year and seem to only include seasonal mentions as an afterthought.

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Cry Wolf is the first novel in a new series by Briggs. Anyone familiar with her Mercy Thompson books will recognize some of the characters. It’s set shortly after the events of Moon Called.

The main character is Anna, a skittish young woman who was turned into a werewolf against her will. She spent years living in an abusive pack until being recently rescued by Charles, whose wolf side immediately claimed Anna’s as its mate. Of course this makes things awkward between Anna and Charles, who are basically strangers.

Charles is the son of the leader of all the North American werewolf packs, and he works as his father’s enforcer. He explains to Anna that she is a rare Omega wolf, which means she has a calming effect on other werewolves and is not bound by direct orders from an Alpha. When a rogue werewolf begins hunting humans close to Charles’s home, Anna hopes that these newly-discovered abilities will help. But the rogue is only part of a larger evil, one whose ancient grudge and current ambition could endanger the rest of the continent’s werewolves.

This book was set up in the story “Alpha and Omega” from the On the Prowl anthology. It explains how Anna and Charles meet, so if you skip it then you should be aware that you’re missing out on backstory. It also includes a Karen Chance short that some who enjoy Briggs might like. I didn’t care for the other two stories, they’re more romance-oriented.

Briggs tries to work the story’s most important details into Cry Wolf, but I can easily see some things confusing those who didn’t read “Alpha and Omega.” The basic plot of how the main characters met came through just fine, but I didn’t feel that this book did the best job of introducing the relationship between Anna and Charles. We got a great take on the difficulties of their situation, but not as much of a sense about why they should be together other than the attraction that their wolf sides share. I hope that the next book spends more time on the human part of their relationship, because right now it seems a little arbitrary.

Anna is a likable character, and the peculiar way that she managed to deal with some of the traumatic events of her past makes for a fantastic twist. Charles is still pretty mysterious, it was interesting to see the different ways that the other characters reacted to him. It was nice to get a different view of Bran’s pack, though (and this is just random speculation) I’d be surprised if Anna and Charles end up spending most of their time in Aspen Creek.

There was a good balance of mystery, action, and character development, and the ending was intense. This is a series with a lot of potential, and I’m looking forward to getting to know the characters better.

Excerpts – August 2008

August 3, 2008

Excerpts from upcoming and recently-released books:

  • Cry Wolf (excerpt), by Patricia Briggs
    The first book in her new series, related to the Mercy Thompson books.
  • Midnight Never Come (excerpt), by Marie Brennan
    A historical fantasy about a fae court that interacts with Queen Elizabeth’s. You can also find excerpts from Brennan’s recently-reissued Warrior and Witch on her website (link).
  • Gale Force (excerpt), by Rachel Caine
    The latest Weather Wardens book will be released August 5th.