On the plus side, Dead Heat has two themes that are really interesting and worth exploring within the universe that Briggs is building. First is Charles’ relationship with an old, non-werewolf friend. They’ve touched some on what happens when everyone you know ages and dies, but it’s interesting to see it in first person. Especially knowing that they don’t have to die–they could be changed instead–but refuse to do so.
People as old and powerful as he should never be given someone to love. For Anna he would destroy the world.
Fair Game continues the story of Anna and Charles, this time to Boston, getting themselves involved in the investigation of a supernatural-hunter serial killer who’s been killing people (including Fae and werewolves) for decades.
This time around, we leave the icy mountains to instead to head to Seattle. Long story short, the werewolves are coming out as the Fae did back in the 80s (in this universe). In order to make the transition a bit smoother, Charles and Anna are traveling to Seattle as representatives of the Marrok in order to meet with various delegations of the European wolves.
After so many books (if you read the Mercy Thompson books first), it’s interesting to see the first real look at the European wolves , or really European characters in general. We have one wolf who rules most of mainland Europe as an unofficial, cruel mirror of the Marrok, another who believes himself to be King Arthur reborn, and another Omega whereby Anna can learn more about her powers. On top of that, there’s a Fae apparently powerful enough to hold the negotiations in check and a white which who gets her power from a rather interesting sacrifice. After only half a dozen characters in the first Alpha and Omega, it’s interesting to see so many more here. It brings Hunting Ground much closer to the Mercy Thompson books in style.
First off: no, you didn’t miss anything. This book really does start a few days after Anna’s and Charles’ are mated, skipping to the end of what essentially makes up the Alpha and Omega short story. It’s a bit of a rough start, especially since so much of Anna’s character comes from those events that we never actually see, but I think it works.
That leads into the next interesting part / potential problem with these books. Anna was tortured and raped by her first pack. Even though you never actually directly read the scenes in question, they’re an unrelenting part of Anna’s characters through not only this book but the entire series. On top of that, the paranormal romance parts (read: sex scenes) of Alpha and Omega are far more direct than they ever were in Mercy Thompson. Putting the two together leads to some rather strange and questionable scenes, in particular between Anna and Charles that, at least in my opinion, feel like they were never dealt with as they should/could have been.