Written by: Patricia Briggs
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Ace Hardcover
March 2010, $24.99
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Book Five of the Mercy Thompson series
Mercy Thompson, car mechanic and shapeshifter, never knows what the day-or night-may bring in a world where "witches, vampires, werewolved, and shapeshifters live beside ordinary people" (Booklist). But she is about to learn that while some secrets are dangerous, those who seek them are just plain deadly...
Mercy is smart enough to realize that when it comes to the magical fae, the less you know, the better. But you can't always get what you want. When she attempts to return a powerful a fae book she previously borrowed in an act of desperation, she finds the bookstore locked up and closed down.
It seems the book contains secrets-and the fae will do just about anything to keep it out of the wrong hands. And if that doesn't take enough of Mercy's attention, her friend Samuel is struggling with his wolf side-leaving Mercy to cover for him lest his own father declare Samuel's life forfeit.
All in all, Mercy has had better days. And if she isn't careful, she may not have many more...
Once upon a time ago, I was looking for something new when it came to urban fantasy. I am not sure what drew me to the Mercy Thompson series, but the moment I read the first installment I was hooked. Patricia Briggs had done what so many urban fantasy authors have forgotten how to do. She made an interesting character, had a plot, character development and even a little romance. On top of that the writing was good. I could relate to Mercy. I liked her. And I really kinda wished she was around to fix my car. Because lets face it my car would work a hell of a lot better if I had Mercy and Zee to work on it.
In this fifth installment Mercy is still trying to figure out how she and Adam work as well as how her life has changed so much in the past few years. Mercy has always been used to living on her own. Being part of something whether it is a relationship or part of the pack has become a bit foreign to her. She likes her space, likes knowing that she can handle most things that come her way on her own and above all she treasures her independence. But she loves Adam. He is her mate and she has grown to love his daughter and quite a few members of the pack. It means she is part of something again. And even though she is still fiercely independent she feels like she has lost some of that just in being part of Adam’s life, of feeling the mate bonds.
Of course all of this new and still strange feelings and information has to take a bit of a hiatus when Samuel, her first love, roommate and love wolf decides to go suicidal. But Mercy wont let Sam take the easy way out and so she allows his wolf to take charge, something that is very dangerous. Of course trouble seems to come in threes, so along with Samuel, she also has book from faerie that someone wants back…at any cost. So much for Mercy’s quite life as a mechanic.
Of course it goes without saying that if you have not read the other books, you may not want to read the review. There may be some spoilers.
Things I loved: For me this series keeps getting better. While there are supernatural creatures and as a whole it is urban fantasy, those are never really the focus which I find so refreshing. It’s about the characters and it has always been about them. Though there is a plot it goes hand in hand with the character development. Neither overpowers the other. Mercy is still the same woman I fell in love with the first in the series and yet she has grown stronger. She has matured and even though amazing things have happened, she is still at the core…just Mercy.
But that is the thing about the Mercy series, the characters are so important. I am invested in so many of them, but I never feel bogged down by the sheer number of people in the books. In a way it reminds me of a good ensemble tv series like LOST (as I am still mourning the end like a good LOSTie would). Not all of your favorite characters show up in every episode but when they do you get a bit giddy. Plus each time they do show up they grow somehow or they are even more fleshed out just like when you get to know someone. In this way Briggs is top notch and succeeds in what so many authors fail to do.
I really like Adam and Mercy’s relationships. Admittedly I was first torn about Samuel or even Stefan probably because I love those characters so much that I want them to have a happily ever after sort of ending and Mercy could give them that. However those men couldn’t give her the happy ending she needs, because one: I am not sure if she wants to be the pretty pretty princess and she needs an Adam. Despite all that has happened, Adam has always been there. He is patient and they compliment each other well even at the beginning of their relationship when they were driving each other mad. While some of the mushy mushy bits seem a bit forced, I also understand what Briggs was trying to do or at least I think I do. Sometimes love makes you do the wacky or even think the wacky.
More importantly this was how their relationship is growing, maturing and is providing a good little healing salve on both of their wounded hearts. They didn’t just fall into each other’s arms after years of messing with one another. We got to see them fall in love and that rarely happens in books these days. It is always rushed and headed straight long into the happily ever after. Not with these two. If it were easy, it wouldn’t be fun or nearly as entertaining. Now that Mercy is pack, things aren’t all puppies and rainbows. Mercy is not a wolf. She is something else and not everyone in the Pack is exactly pleased that Adam has chosen her as his mate. In fact there are some that try to interfere with those bonds that Adam and Mercy are still trying to figure out for themselves. Oh woe be to those individuals.
Unlike other books each of these could stand on its own. The story continues, episodic in a way, no real ‘last week on Mercy Thompson’. The book that Phin let Mercy borrow last time plays a prominent part in the plot. For some reason fae objects of power just keep jumping into our little coyote’s lap. First it was the walking stick, now it’s a book. Kind of makes you curious to see what is drawn to her next.
Things I didn't love so much: Samuel/Sam’s storyline was a bit weak compared to the other plots. It was resolved far too easy and as a fellow Mercy fan said it was tidied up too neatly. And nothing is ever that easy in these books. That is not why I love them. Things don’t land that perfectly in your lap. It was the wounded damsel and the wounded hero brought together to make each other whole. Aw how cute… Actually a bit cliché for my part. If Samuel does get to find his true love I want to see him work for it. I want to see them fall in love the way that I saw Mercy and Adam fall in love. While, yes Mercy and Adam may be their own version of the wounded damsel and hero, it wasn’t so boody frakkin apparent. And for that I was a bit disappointed. Then again I trust Patricia Briggs. I don’t think it will be this way. I don’t think things are ever as tidy as they seem. Maybe that is why I haven’t been drawn to the Omega series because its too easy. Plus I don’t want romance in the forefront. I don’t want it to be a soap opera or a mushy chick flick. I want a little bit of everything in a genre that has increasingly become overrun with nothing but romance.
That is about it. While not the strongest of the books, I still love where the books can and will take me. I am loving this journey and I do not want it to stop.
Buy or Borrow: Buy. It’s Mercy Thompson, how can you resist?
Part of: a Series.
Moon Called: Book One
Blood Bound: Book Two
Iron Kissed: Book Three
Bone Crossed: Book Four
River Marked: Book Six will be out Spring 2011
Also Recommended: Ilona Andrews’s Kate Daniels series which comes close to sharing Mercy’s reign as my favorite series. Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden series which is also amazing.
3.25 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks
Have your own review? Let me know and I will post it.