I am, predictably, late – and shame on me too! Patricia Briggs is by far one of my favorite UA writers, and when I won Wild Sign from Netgalley and Berkley Publishing, I was thrilled! A little too thrilled, perhaps, since I finished Wild Sign at least a month before it came out. And now, it has finally come out yesterday! So without further ado, I am thrilled to review this newest installation of Briggs’ Alpha and Omega series and the larger “Mercyverse.”
From the Publisher:
Mated werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham must discover what could make an entire community disappear — before it’s too late — in this thrilling entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling Alpha and Omega series.
In the wilds of the Northern California mountains, all the inhabitants of a small town have gone missing. It’s as if the people picked up and left everything they owned behind. Fearing something supernatural might be going on, the FBI taps a source they’ve consulted in the past: the werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham. But Charles and Anna soon find a deserted town is the least of the mysteries they face.
Death sings in the forest, and when it calls, Charles and Anna must answer. Something has awakened in the heart of the California mountains, something old and dangerous — and it has met werewolves before.
What I Loved:
- Tag the Berserker Werewolf. Tag has been introduced to us in prior Alpha and Omega books, but this is the first time he has been upgraded to a “main wolf” in Wild Sign. And man, is he delightful! Tag has a wicked sense of humor, is fiercely loyal, and has a strong bond with Anna because she is only one who can prevent him from going berserker. AND he brings in some of the most intriguing characters (no spoilers here, but Tag has the most fun friends). The old wolves are some of my favorites because they have the best stories.
- The “Atmosphere.” Wild Sign is undeniably spooky. The missing town, an ancient spirit, music that lulls the listener’s senses – it all puts a reader on edge. I loved every minute of it. The Mercyverse books tend to be a little more “action packed” from start to finish, and I liked the slower pace here because it really emphasized how spooky it is for an entire village of people to go missing with almost no trace. I love the little clues that slowly build up – the witch’s grimoires musical instruments, and carved runes, slowly building to the big reveal at the end as to who the ancient baddie is. It felt more like the murder mysteries I read than a classic UA, and it was so much fun.
- The “Americana.” Without giving too much away, we finally get to learn about Leah’s backstory. Her father was a preacher and a leader of a group of people that went out west, as people tended to do for a long period of time. There is sasquatches and even Coyote makes an appearance (one of my favorite characters of any series, to be honest). While a lot of the other Mercyverse books tend to be more “Euro-centric” with the history of the Fae, vampires, and werewolves coming to the USA from the mother countries, here we have some good old USA mythologies.
What Didn’t Work For Me:
- The Triggers. Normally, triggers don’t bother me. I am not saying that in a coldhearted way, but I do often read dark fantasy (see my reviews for The Queen’s Weapons and The Queen’s Bargain for some delicious darkness), and reading about various triggering events or scenes do not, well, trigger me. However, the rape scene in Silver Borne really affected me since I did not expect it from the Mercyverse, and the events in Wild Sign similarly left me unsettled and unhappy. It also felt a little gratuitous and more than a little reminiscent of Bishop’s other graphic scene in Silver Bourne. So not only was it triggering, it didn’t feel all that original.
- The Cliffhanger. I can’t say much on this for obvious reasons. But I will say that, while it will advance the story in a lot of great ways, it left a whole bunch of characters in positions “out of character” for them, and felt like a gimme. It won’t put me off reading the next book, but I am not really happy with this.
Wild Sign is another engaging book in a long series of engaging books. I highly recommend buying and reading the first book, Cry Wolf if you are new to Patricia Briggs, or even better, start from the very very beginning of the Mercyverse and read Moon Called (both on sale at Bookshop!). However, if you are already initiated into the Alpha and Omega / Mercy Thomas world, then you will find Wild Sign a worthy installment, if slightly problematic. I found it both challenging and captivating, which I usually find to be a good thing when reading. Four waves out of five! Pick up your copy here (as always, on sale at Bookshop!) and tell me all about your feels. Three and a half waves!