Book Review: Wild Sign by Patricia Briggs

Posted June 21, 2021 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Book Review: Wild Sign by Patricia Briggs

I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Wild Sign by Patricia Briggs
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Ace Books on March 16, 2021
Pages: 368
Format: eBook
Source: my own shelves

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Also by this author: Night Broken, Dead Heat, Bone Crossed, River Marked, Hunting Ground, Iron Kissed, Cry Wolf, Fire Touched, Moon Called, Silence Fallen, Burn Bright, Storm Cursed, Smoke Bitten, Moon Called,

Sixth in the Alpha & Omega urban fantasy spin-off series (eighteenth in the Mercyverse) and revolving around Anna and Charles Cornick, a werewolf couple sent on missions for the Marrok. The focus is on a small village of people who have disappeared.

If you’re interested, there is a chronological listing of the Alpha & Omega books on my website.

My Take

Oh, whoa. Omigod, the FBI think Anna is the one who rules the wolves, ROFLMAO. And later Charles has his own thoughts on this *more laughter*.

Bigotry is alive and well, even as the FBI wants an alliance, it’s that comment “the job of the FBI, is to protect the citizens of the United States. We can do that better through an alliance with the werewolves.” Then Anna follows that with “Who are citizens of the United States.” A comment with which Goldstein has a problem. Not very promising. It certainly reminds me of the lesson Beauclaire and the fae learned in Burn Bright.

Whoa, this’ll make you re-think Leah! We learn her back story, and it’s pretty nasty. It will take you a bit to figure out what’s happening, though. We also learn some sad facts about Charles’ childhood and his interactions with Bran. More “back history” comes when we find out why Taggart ended up in Aspen Creek and then there’s the “story” about Mercy’s birth.

There are two prologues in this. The first one involves Dr Sissy Connors and the second is before events in Burn Bright, 5. There is no point in this second prologue, as it doesn’t appear to add anything to this story. All it did was confuse me.

The FBI’s reasoning for Anna and Charles to investigate this village of missing people is slim. Okay, so Leah owns the land. So what?

I do enjoy the games Anna and Charles play. Marrying into the Cornick family was meant to be for Anna, as they are all so musical.

“Do you know that he doesn’t talk unless you’re present?”

It’s too damn cute how these damaged wolves try so hard to not be scary around Anna. Near the end, there’s a cute anecdote about Anna trying to get control of her Omega power. I keep reading it over and over, laughing every time.

While Briggs primarily uses third person dual protagonist point-of-view from Anna’s and Charles’ perspectives, there is some third person subjective point-of-view from other characters — Leah and Bran are certainly interesting in their thoughts.

Oh-ho, that mystery about Sherwood is lessening, as we learn that he’s a Power. Of course, Mercy and Adam figured that out earlier. Mercy also “jumped the gun” with her own compulsion event in Iron Kissed, 3, which is so similar to the interaction Anna has at the end.

Wild Sign is both scary and cozy. I love the sound of the village with its positives in the amphitheater (but the abandoned instruments), the care they expressed for their pets (in their very dark way), the signs Charles finds so amusing, the homes they created, and all with that darkness of spirit.

Well, those Erasmuses/Greens certainly have a history, and Daniel couldn’t be in a better place than Angel Hills, a horror of a place.

I do love Queen’s “We Will Rock You”, but who knew it could be such a lifesaver, lol!

Wild Sign is a combination of tension, drama, humor, and love with two of my favorite characters as well as the horror of black witches. The pace is a combination of slow in some parts and fast in others. I’m already wanting to re-read it! If only to figure out what truly happened at the end between Leah and Zander and ??

I’m sure hoping Briggs intends to continue with these revelations between Bran and Leah. She’s hinted at various feelings but it changes quite a bit in Wild Sign without being explicit. To make the future even more intriguing, Samuel shows up very briefly with a very valuable package.

Life in Aspen Creek is gonna be interesting.

The Story

Leah started singing in April . . .

All the inhabitants of a small, illegal town have gone missing, and the land’s owner leads the FBI to Anna and Charles. And Bran sees it as an opportunity to test the FBI.

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.

The Characters

Anna Latham Cornick, a musician, is an Omega wolf. She’s mated to Charles Cornick, Bran’s youngest son and financial manager for the pack and their corporations, a born werewolf, and the Marrok’s hatchet man. Brother Wolf is Charles’ wolf. He has magic: shaman from his mother, witchborn from his father. Anna’s dad is a lawyer.

Aspen Creek, Montana, is . . .
. . . the Marrok‘s headquarters where Bran, the Alpha of all Alphas, rules the werewolf world. The cold, methodical, and stupid Leah Fenwood Cornick is Bran’s mate, whom his wolf chose. Asil, a.k.a. the Moor, is notorious throughout the world. Helen Oxford has a sister at the airport in Missoula. Colin “Tag” Taggart, a.k.a. Carrottop, is a berserker werewolf who is Charles and Anna’s henchman on this trip.

Wellesley, a brilliant artist, and Jonsey had been some of the broken in Burn Bright.

FBI
Special Agents Leslie Fisher and Craig Goldstein have worked with Anna and Charles before.

Cantrip is . . .
. . . a scary federal organization that hates supernaturals.

Marble Mountains, California, is . . .
. . . where Wild Sign is located and where the locals will not go. Happy Camp is the nearest real town to Wild Sign. Rob is a Karuk who works at a gas station. Dana runs a coffee shop where Zander works. Ford (a Sasquatch) works the trading post. Breeze is Ford’s sister.

Sissy Connors, PhD, has a doctorate in botany and roams the world looking for plants that may contain cures…yep, she’s an experienced hiker. She’s also an anti-social white witch. Elvis is her half-German shepherd who accompanies her everywhere. Dr Tanya Bonsu, Sissy’s life partner, teaches. Diana, a black witch, had been Connors Senior’s sister.

Dr Connors Senior, a.k.a. Doc, is Sissy’s father and lives in Wild Sign. Carrie Green is one of the residents. Bear and Kriemhild (who had belonged to Opera Singer, a.k.a. Jenny) had been some of their pets. The Singer in the Woods makes promises. Other pseudonyms for the residents included the Family of Hellions with Mommy and Daddy Hellion, Hell Bringer, Doom Slayer, and Baby Demon (probably the Tottlefords with Malachi the father and Emily likely to be the mother). The Sign Maker, a.k.a. the deaf Jack. Snow Cone, a.k.a. Zander, is a famous photographer and author. Bright Thing’s is one of Zander’s books. Emma.

Angel Hills is an assisted living facility run by Dr Sheldon Underwood. Letty is a receptionist. Mary Frank is an LPN. Daniel Green, a.k.a. Daniel Erasmus, is a patient there as well as Carrie’s grandfather. Jennifer had been Daniel’s wife. Their son Jude had been powerless and Carrie’s father. The pregnant Cathy Hardesty works there as does her mother, Dr Hardesty.

Before Burn Bright
Leah, Anna, Rachel, and Sage, who likes to protect newcomers, are on a shopping expedition in Missoula. Rachel is temporary in the pack after being extracted from her old pack.

Tri-Cities, Washington
Dr Samuel Cornick, is Bran’s older musical son who is mated to Ariana, a powerful fae; they’re traveling in Africa with Doctors Without Borders. Adam Hauptman is the Alpha of the Columbia Basin Pack in the Mercy Thompson series. Mercy, Adam’s mate, is Charles and Samuel’s foster sister and Coyote’s walker. The one-legged Sherwood Post had lost his memory when we met him in Fire Touched, MT 9. He was there. On the land back in the 1820s or ’30s. Ben Shaw is a computer tech. Werewolf.

Supernatural hate groups include Bright Future and the John Lauren Society. Beauclaire, a.k.a. Gwyn ap Lugh, the Prince of the Gray Lords, renounced any allegiance to the U.S. in Fair Game, 3, when the American justice system ignored the horrors Les Heuter committed. Isaac Owens is the Alpha of the Olde Towne Pack in Boston. Leo had been Anna’s original Alpha in Shifting Shadows: “Alpha & Omega”, 0.5, and Cry Wolf. Isabelle had been Leo’s mate. Justin had been Leo’s brutal second. Coyote is a trickster god and Mercy’s father.

In the 1980s
Aaron Simpleman had been the Alpha of the Wasatch Pack in Utah. Fin Donnelly had been Aaron’s second.

1820s or ’30s
Leah was the oldest of six and fifteen years old. Her parents were clueless missionaries. Tally was her oldest little brother and James is the youngest.

With the Salish
Blue Jay Woman, a Salish with magic, had been Bran’s beloved mate and Charles’ mother. Buffalo Singer was the youngest of her brothers and was endlessly patient with youngsters.

The Cover and Title

The cover has a dark cast to it beginning with the gray background and a silver birch carved with runes. The falling red leaves indicate that it’s autumn. The red-haired Anna is in profile, wearing a heavy jacket, and leaning back against the tree. Charles is Brother Wolf in his wolf form, his orange eyes glaring at us as he sits in front of Anna. At the very top, in white, is an info blurb. Immediately below this is the author’s name embossed in a bright blue. The title is in white crossing at Anna’s shoulder. A jagged horizontal rule in the same blue is below this. Below the rule is the series info in white with a shadow just above Charles’ head.

The title is the hidden town, Wild Sign, that repeats the runes scattered throughout the forest.

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