Burn Bright is the 5th book in Patricia Briggs’ Alpha & Omega series, which right now is my absolute favorite book series. It is set in the same world as her Mercy Thompson series, and I would recommend reading them both: they are truly wonderful books, and the world building is fantastic. You need to read these books in order, however, as the plot does depend on what came before. You could read just this series, without also reading the Mercy Thompson books, but you will be missing out on some fantastic reads. (I usually depend on GoodReads for reading order and the orders are here: for just Alpha & Omega by itself, and for the combined Mercy Thompson and Alpha & Omega series.)
One thing I appreciate about the creatures in this world is that the werewolves, the fae, and the witches are not sanitized or sentimentalized versions of themselves – they feel and react in real, often scary ways. These are not horror stories, but the characterization of some of the individuals in the books reminds me of original fairy tales – there are some very evil things out there, and they can and do act in very evil ways. There are some paranormal series that exist in a simple, clean world, but that is not this one. This feels real. Even the “good” characters in this world end up doing things that can be a bit unsettling, but feel true to the nature of a creature that is half human and half wolf.
In this book, Charles and Anna (the Alpha and Omega of the series name) are in charge of the North American werewolves while Charles’ father Bran is out of the country. Part of this involves supporting the wildlings, the werewolves that are too damaged to live safely among the rest of the pack. When the book begins, one such wilding contacts Charles because of an attempt to abduct his fae mate, leading to the discovery of humans with strange weapons going after something in wildling territory. This description sounds like this will be a book jam-packed with action, and while it does have action, the book starts very slowly. I love this series and so this was fine with me, but I have read opinions by others who felt it moved a little too slowly. I love this series so much, I was trying to read it slowly to make it last, so that didn’t bother me too much. I really wish the book had been longer – the writing is so good, and the world they inhabit fascinates me.
I really enjoyed seeing favorite characters again. Anna is such a great character, she is a fairly new werewolf and is still figuring out how to control her Omega powers – powers that affect all werewolves regardless of their status. It was interesting watching her try to discover how to help the wildlings she came across, without hurting them or anyone else. Charles was trying very hard to let her do things that his wolf did not want to let her do, and the dynamic between Charles and his Brother Wolf is always compelling. I also liked seeing Asil again, the very old wolf who is perhaps just a step away from being a willing himself. His presence adds to my enjoyment of the series.
Patricia Briggs releases one book a year, alternating between her two series, and the only sad feeling I have now is that I have to wait a year for her next book. If you prefer to listen to books rather than read them, I have also listened to both series in this world on audio and the narrators are very good as well.