Caitlin Muchow ‘18 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs, the fourth novel in her Alpha & Omega series, was released by Ace on May 3rd. Alpha & Omega series is an urban fantasy, and it is a spin-off of the popular Mercy Thompson series, that follows mated werewolves Charles and Anna on their many adventures through the infrastructure of the supernatural world that Charles must maintain as second to his father, the Marrok, the ruler of all the werewolves in North America.
In this new addition to the series Charles and Anna are traveling to visit some of the few close friends that Charles has, and buy Anna a hose for her birthday, rather than their usual trips to enforce werewolf law. In the midst of the emotional turmoil brought on by seeing friends from the past, there is a dangerous Fae in town who is replacing human children with magical simulations, and this fae hits way too close to home.
None of Patricia Briggs books are bad, they are all good if not fantastic. However, this one just did not hit the same notes as well as others have.
The interactions between Charles and the friends from his past, that are introduced in this book, are fascinating. Charles is a mysterious character by nature, and getting a glimpse of some of the events in his life in the two hundred years before he met Anna was very interesting, and provided a lot of insight into how he developed into the character he is now. The relationship between Charles and his human best friend, Joseph, who he has not seen in decades, is beautifully done. These new characters also provided a source of drama when emotions from the past rose up again in the form of jealousy, and heartbreaking sadness that comes from being immortal and having friends who are not.
Anna has grown into an extremely spunky and well-developed character, however this particular installment of the series does not do much to move her character forward. This novel seemed to focus more on Charles, leaving Anna’s character flat. Though her character’s pizzaz does shine through in a few sparkling moments, such as when Charles’ old flame, Maggie, tries to put Anna in her place and Anna shows that she is tougher than she looks. Charles and Anna’s relationship is always well done but there does not seem to be as many intimate moments between them as there are in the other books.
There was less action than many of her previous books, but what it was lacking in action it made up for in plot. The story surrounding the family they were visiting and the fae they were trying to catch was very captivating, and the villain turned out to be someone somewhat unexpected.
All in all there is really nothing that Patricia Briggs could do to make a book really bad, but this one just does not stand on par with her other books. Hopefully, the next book explores Anna’s character more deeply, and develops the relationship between her and Charles even more. There seems like there are a lot of things coming for Anna and Charles in the future, and for the whole werewolf community, especially when it comes to the fae.