Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Sunday Seven: Fictional Places

It was a busy week this week. One that was full of loss (Mike, we shall miss you terribly), but also full of laughter (Murder Mystery toga Party B-day party…kind of awesome. An excellent way to spend my 32nd by the way). I also cleaned my house big time in preparations for the notorious shindig. Which had me thinking about my eclectic taste when it comes to interior decorating. My home is one that has posters of Serenity, LotR, and Secretary in one room while I have Mucha and Waterhouse paintings in the other. It is a home where action figures share the same space as artistic sculptures and the 360 is sitting right next to a fresh vase of flowers. I have bookshelves and columns, an antique writing desk, candelabras right along with a life size Spike standup and some Tribbles.

But I love my place. I call it geek chic, which seemed to be the general consensus when I had everyone over on Friday which was one of the first times I had people over since the big move. Sadly it rained so we didn’t get to enjoy the deck which is bedecked with solar powered strings of lights, a gorgeous couple of dahlias, and some nice patio furniture. If it wasn’t so hot right now I would be out there as we speak sipping on some Sangria.

Anyway, this week we have the top seven fictional places I would love to live in. We are going literary this time, so bibliophiles please weigh in.

1. Lothlorien (Lord of the Rings): I always wanted to be an elf and I blame it all on Tolkien. When my dad would read the Lord of the Rings to my brother and I when we were children I wanted to be Galadriel or Arwen. And I really wanted to live in Rivendell or Lothlorien. The reason I choose Lothlorien is largely due to Galadriel herself. Not only is it the Golden Woods and full of trees, but due to Nenya, Galdriel’s ring the flora is constantly preserved from death and decay. Add to that that it also created a powerful ward strong enough that Sauron himself would have to come by and say ‘hey, how’s your father’ in order for it to be conquered. Plus, it is just beautiful.


2. Hogwarts (Harry Potter): I wish I wasn’t just a muggle. I wish that my little camping tent turned into a nice cozy bungalow and above all if I had to do boarding school all over again, I wish I could do it at Hogwarts. I mean what isn’t there to like. It is a castle, it has a room of requirement (so if I required let’s say…oh Ryan Reynolds, would he magically appear? Or maybe a good margarita), has a Loch, an enchanted forest (yeah Unicorns) and Hogsmeade is just a hop, skip and jump away. Plus there is the whole learning magic thing which would come in handy methinks.


3. The Nightside (The Nightside series) : In Simon R Green’s novels of the Nightside, the Nightside is the other London, a place where gods and devils coexist, where it is always 3 am and the car you are standing next to might just eat you. In John Taylor’s words it is “a place where dreams come true and nightmares come alive. Where one can buy anything, often at the price of your soul... or someone else's. Where the music never stops and the fun never ends.” Granted I would probably get eaten or bamboozled in about .25 seconds, but it would be great to meet people like Razor Eddie, Dead Boy or Julian Advent along with John and Suzie, to have a drink at Strangefellows and catch a glimpse of the impossible.


4. Discworld (Discworld Series): I love Terry Pratchett and the Discworld series. After all it is a flat world, balanced on four elephants who are in turn standing on the back of a giant turtle. It is a place where Death is nice and occasionally snarky, where Rincewind is a wizard with absolutely no skills and Granny Weatherwax is just plain awesome. Magic is everywhere as is the humor, and the power of belief can be a dangerous thing. Still would be nice.


5. Wildcards Verse (Wild Cards): In George R Martin’s Wildcards universe in 1946 an alien virus rewrote human DNA. Many people died, some became jokers (aka mutations in not a good way) and others became aces. It’s a world where Mick Jagger is a lycanthrope and your power may be as simple as being able to levitate two feet off the ground, or maybe it is more significant like being able to fly. I wonder what my superpower would be? Or would I be a joker?


6. Alternate Atlanta (Kate Daniels Series): In the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews, magic and technology are not friends. In fact it was because of technology that magic pretty much said up yours and came back with a vengeance. During tech times, your phone works, possibly the interwebs, and your car for sure. But when the magic is up electricity is a no go I am afraid, so keep a fireplace lots of candles and know your spells. It’s a messed up world where vampires are not sexy but predators that scuttle and are controlled by necromancers, the little old lady next door might be a banshee and because of magic huge city blocks have been reclaimed by Mother Earth. It would certainly make things interesting, but I figure the average person does ok.

7. The Galaxy (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, etc): I heart you Douglas Adams. I want to go to Milliways, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, and to Alpha Centauri so I can get my very own Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster. Granted, yes this means that Earth has gone kaboom, but the dolphins did recreate it, so that is a plus. Admit it, it would be fun. I don’t know about you but I have my towel ready and I plan on not panicking.

Honorable Mentions: Coruscant (Star Wars), Buffyverse (Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel), Narnia (The Chronicles of Narnia), Lyras world (His Dark Materials) as I so want to see what my Daemon would be and Neverland (Peter Pan)

Do you have your own list to share, let me know and I will post it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Legion....

Of Extraordinary Dancers. Yep, superheroes that dance. I first saw these guys last season on So You Think You Can Dance and was smitten. I watched that routine a dozen times and couldnt wait to see more. Apparently it is going to be a web series and as a girl who will watch anything with some awesome dancing (Yes I am addicted to So You Think You Can Dance and America's Best Dance Crew) I think it looks pretty cool.

LXD "Moments" Trailer from Jon M. Chu on Vimeo.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Game of Thrones



Just saw this before the True Blood premiere. Yeah! I knew that HBO was bringing Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire novels to my living room, but I hadnt heard anything for a while. Things that also make me happy...Sean Bean, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Jane Espenson doing some of the writing for the series. Winter is Coming.

The Sunday Seven: Vampires in TV

While I am not a huge True Blood fan (because I love the Sookie Stackhouse series of books and I hate how the orgy it up far too much in the tv show, but I guess you can enjoy both just on different levels), I still watch it simply because it has vampires in it and me and vampires are kind of like me and zombies. We're close. Anyway, vampires = yeah and there have been quite a few representations on tv. Here are seven of my favorite male bloodsuckers.

1. & 2. Spike and Angel(Buffy: the Vampire Slayer and Angel): I adore the boys. Spike, for his snark and to die for cheekbones and hipbones and...because we really got to see his character grow and develop for the non shallow bits. And Angel, because he's the good guy, the hero and also not hard to look at. Joss Whedon created two amazing characters in these two vamps and I kind of heart them.


3. Henry Fitzroy (Blood Ties): Played by Kyle Schmid in the sadly short lived tv series Blood Ties based off of Tanya Huff's books, Henry Fitzroy was the bastard son of Henry the VIII who became a vampire. In the books he writes romance novels, in the series he writes graphic novels. Either way Henry is a great character and I love his relationship with Vicki.


4. Julian Luna (Kindred: The Embraces): Julian Luna, Ventrue Prince of San Francisco. Part of the also short lived (why are all the vamp shows short lived?) series Kindred: The Embraced which was based off of the World of Darkness Vampire: the Masquerade role playing game. Julian was elegant and intelligent, loving and yet unafraid to play the role of bad guy. I think what made him interesting was how much he clung to what was left of his humanity. A highly likable character, its sad that I didnt get to know more about his story.


5. Nick Knight (Forever Knight): Geraint Wyn Davies starred Nick Knight, a vampire who was over 800 years old. Wracked with guilt for his bloody past, Nick not only worked as a police detective helping others, but he spent a good deal of time trying to find a way to become human again. Forever Knight was one of those late night syndicated shows from the early 90's but I loved it. Still have the DVDs. Ooh I should rewatch.


6. John Mitchell (Being Human): Played by the lovely Aidan Turner, Mitchell was once a hero in the vampire community, arrogant and deadly. But like most of my choices he had a good deal of guilt and tried to change his ways. Now living with a werewolf and a ghost, Mitchell works as a hospital porter. He is softspoken and calm, and one of my favorites on the show. I hope they don't ruin him with the USA remake on Syfy.



7. Barnabas Collins (Dark Shadows): My list would be sad if I didn't have Barnabas Collins. Looking for his lost love Josette, Barnabas was the perfect soap opera vampire. He was cunning, manipulative, but also could be kind. Cannot wait to see Johnny Depp put on the fangs for him in Tim Burton's version of Dark Shadows next year.


Honorable Mentions: Mick St. John and Josef Kostan (Moonlight), Eric Northman and Bill Compton(True Blood), Daedalus (Kindred the Embraced)

Do you have your own list to share, let me know and I will post it.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dingo

Dingo
Written by: Charles de Lint
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Firebird/Penguin
Language: English
March 2008, $11.99
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

“Ever have one of those moments when everything just kind of stops and it feels as though the whole universe is focused on this one thing that’s got your attention? That’s what it’s like when I see her.”

High school senior Miguel’s life is turned upside down when he meets Lainey, whose family has moved from Australia to a lakeside beach town outside of Newford. With her tumbled red-gold hair, her instant understanding of who he is, and her unusual dog, she’s unforgettable. And as he quickly learns, she is on the run from a bargain made by her ancestors. There’s no question that Miguel will do whatever he can to help her – but what price will each of them have to pay?

Dingo is quintessential Charles de Lint – a mixture of darkness and hope, humor and mystery, and the friendship within love.


+++++++++++++

I have been in love with the Urban Fantasy since Charles de Lint and Emma Bull began to spin their tales. It was different than high fantasy which I could never really get into. It was my world, but different. It had everything I ever wanted: magic, faeries, monsters and more. It has been a while since I have read anything from the Newford Stories but I was drawn to the beautiful cover illustrated by Scott Fischer. It is gorgeous. I figured I would be getting the Blue Girl ala Australian mythology.

The story is typical of De Lint. Our lead meets someone with strange qualities and then gets sucked into a world he/she never knew existed and then they fight to come to terms with this new reality or to escape from this foreign world. Miguel works at his father’s vintage vinyl and comic store. It’s a fairly mundane existence until a beautiful redhead his age walks in with her odd dog. Lainey is from Australia and her dog, Em, is a dingo. The two hit it off immediately, though Em is less than enthused about the pairing. But strange things begin to happen. First when he meets Lainey on the beach she all but ignores him, then there are the large paw prints on his windowsill and dreams Miguel cannot explain. Is Lainey worth all of the risk?

Things I loved: I have grown used to American folklore when it comes to De Lint so Australian lore was a nice change of pace, and dingoes are pretty darn cute, I should know I had to look them up so I could see something other than Meryl Streep screaming dingoes ate my baby. And while this is light fare, perhaps because it is young adult or maybe because it is more like a novella than a full length novel, but I didn’t mind that. I like the dynamic between Miguel and his father, a former biker hard core guy that just happens to love music and comics enough to open a store. Miguel’s father knows about appearances and mistakes and what it means to grow into your own.

I also like the dynamic between Johnny and Miguel though at times Johnny upheld that stereotypical, want to hit him with a brick thug. So he has a sucky childhood it does not give him an excuse and sometimes his character fell flat. Yet other times I really liked to see that there was more to him than I thought. Em and Lainey aren’t as fully fleshed out, but I don’t think the story was ever about them, not really. Kind of the way the Sixth Sense was never about ghosts (sorry on tele a couple of nights ago).

While I don’t know anything really about Australian folklore, I wouldn’t mind if De Lint branches out and perhaps go into more depth with something else. And it made me curious enough that I spent a good deal looking up Australian mythos when I was done so that says something doesn’t it?

Things I didn't love so much: The dialogue is a bit of a miss. Most of the characters sounded the same, none of them really having a distinct voice and that was frustrating at times. It wasn’t horrible dialogue but each character kind of sounded the same and not achingly authentic. It was one of those moments where the author is trying to sound like a teenager, but it would be like my dad trying to sound like a teenager. It just doesn’t quite work.

I have been a Charles de Lint fan for many years and while this is not my favorite, I enjoyed it. I do think that I never really fully engaged with anything whether it was the characters or the plot. This is not to say that it was bad, but it was over far too quickly for me to get hooked and the story moves along quick enough that maybe that is a problem as well. But I do think that others would enjoy it. I imagine if I was a young teen, tween…I would like it. At least it would make me curious and I would want to read more. As an adult though I am glad it wasn’t my first taste of De Lint.

Buy or Borrow: Borrow. As I said it wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t amazing and I am not sure if it will be a keeper for me. I would much rather perhaps give it to my niece and see if she digs it.

Part of: Stand Alone story, but could probably be put with the Newford Stories

Also Recommended: The Blue Girl or the Newford Stories also by De Lint, or anything by Emma Bull.

2.75 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks

Have your own review? Let me know and I will post it.

Wednesday Trailers: The Adjustment Bureau



With movies like Inception and this one, I think that Smirking will be one happy little geek this summer. Love that they use music from Danny Boyle's Sunshine (also an amazing film), but it looks interesting and I dig both Emily Blunt, Matt Damon and apparently it is a loose adaptation of a Philip K Dick story.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Walking Dead


The Walking Dead has been one of my favorite comics of the past couple of years. It has zombies, so it is pretty much a given. Now it looks like AMC is bringing the comic to life and if the stills from the makeup tests are any indication it could be wicked awesome.

It is going to be a six episode first season, written, produced and directed by Frank Darabont and should sate my zombie appetite until they finally bring World War Z to a big or little screen near me. I really hope they try and stick to the story as much as possible.

For those of you who haven’t read the Walking Dead series. The series follows Rick Grimes, a police officer who awakes after being shot to a world over run by zombies. With his family and a small band of survivors this group struggles to start living and find a place to call home.

Thank you to Lubbert-Das for the lovely heads up. For more information head on over here

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Sunday Seven: Bad Movies

I thought I would do something a bit different. Not only in an effort to do a little more posting, but maybe hear from a few of you. So the Sunday Seven has begun. It will be a list 7 choices of course, the topics varying. Sometimes it will be literary, sometimes pop culture or maybe even readers will choose the topic. If I am really good I may come up with a banner, but if you want to share your own, let me know and I will post your answers so everyone can see your picks. This week: Bad movies you love anyway.

The Sunday Seven Worst Movies You Love: These are the movies that critics blasted where the dialogue and effects are cheesy, probably the plots too, but despite their overall badness you cannot help but love them. You may own them and you can probably quote a line or two.

1. Ice Pirates (1984): Robert Urich, Angelica Huston and Ron Perlman as space pirates. The bounty: water. Oh and a princess. Completely absurd, highly entertaining. Where else are you going to get Space Herpes, robots, Frog Lady, and Amazon women who ride unicorns?


2. Erik the Viking (1989): Behold Erik the Viking, Ulf the Unmemorable and Horribly Slain Warrior. Directed by Terry Jones this really is a Monty Pythonesque parody of all that is Viking. Completely fun. Ooh! Scary! Scary! Don't we look mean? You can't see me! But I can see you!


3. Berry Gordy's The Last Dragon (1985): When I say "Who's the master?" - you say... Sho Nuff! If you haven’t seen this film, why not? It’s an action kung fu movie that is a total parody and yet everyone plays it like it is not. Who didn’t want to glow all gold like when you do kung fu and then have a wicked dance off after the win?


4. The Queen of the Damned (2002): I know it is bad. I know it has no bearing on the books. But I dig the soundtrack and Stuart Townshend does a great rocker Lestat. Hello leather pants and hip bones. That is all I have to say. Plus it’s a vampire movie, so you know I have watched it a couple of times. Did I mention Stuart Townshend?


5. Xanadu (1980): Gene Kelly, Olivia Newton John, ELO soundtrack and rollerskates. A muse falls in love with a mortal and decides to help him open up a roller rink. *nod* When I was a kid I used to rollerskate with one of my mothers bellydancing scarves on my head so that I had a streak of color like all the muses had in the film. I also memorized the whole Xanadu roller derby dance. No one can take away my love for this film.


6. Only the Strong (1993): When I was in high school this movie came out. It features capoeira which is an Afro Brazilian martial art. Short story: Former green beret returns home to discover that his old high school has become filled with gangs and drug dealers. He decides to take the worst students and teach them capoeira, but of course in doing so he makes an enemy of the local drug lord and master of capoeira. Cliché plot and ending follows. It was thanks to this movie that a friend of mine enlisted in capoeira classes after seeing the movie. Sadly Mark Dacascos did not teach the class though I think we were delusionally hoping he would. I lasted last than a year before being distracted onto other things. Kind of wish I had stuck with it.


7. Teen Witch (1989): What teenage girl didn't want to become a full fledged with on her 16th birthday, become the most most popular girl in school, win the heart of the hottest boy in school, and of course learn a valuable lesson in the end? Just me? Didn't think so. Total cult classic with a jammin soundtrack. I mean who can beat the song "Top that" or "Popular Girl".I know I am not the only person that loves this flick.

Honorable Mentions: Summer School, The Last Starfighter, Killer Klowns from Outer Space, Once Bitten, Dead Alive, Love Potion Number 9, and Airborne

Do you have your own list to share, let me know and I will post it.

Mina: The Dracula Story Continues

Mina
Written by: Marie Kiraly
Softcover: 342 pages
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Language: English
December 2007, $14.00
Genre: Fiction/Historical/Vampire

She tasted the blood of Dracula...

In Bram Stoker's immortal Classic, Mina Harker became the living breathing object of an obsession- only to fall prey to the stalker's seductive powers. There was only one way to save her soul- by destroying Count Dracula, the creature who controlled and consumed her. But was the spell broken? Could Mina really return to the ordinary turns of a day, to the constraints of a Victorian marriage, after the pleasure of such exquisite darkness?

She lives to tell the tale…

This is the haunting story, as told by the Dark Prince’s most infamous mistress, revealing an unsettling, sensual, and remarkable tale of love that refused to die.


+++++++++++++

Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a wonderful piece of fiction. Not only has it inspired hundreds of movies, television shows, books and movies and made vampires pretty much famous, but the book itself actually has a lot of themes that were fairly progressive for its time. When I was in college we looked at all of this: the role of women in Victorian times, sexuality, immigration, etc.

When I picked up this book, I was looking for a different interpretation of the Mina story. The tale itself is steeped in a woman coming into her own independence and sexuality, so I was hoping this would continue that exploration especially since the cover depicts a corset with the words: mistress, victim, lover. I was expecting a bit of an erotic retelling or at least a new interpretation like Susan Kay’s Phantom which deals with the Phantom the Opera story.

Maybe that is why I was so disappointed because I was expecting something different than the story I read. I was expecting something new and fresh while staying true to the overall story. However, the adage of never judge a book by its cover sadly came true.

It begins with Mina’s journal and her account of the events leading up to Dracula’s demise. Mina can never go back to the life she once led after all that has happened. She wants and needs something else. Alas…anything good stops there. Then again this is just my opinion.

Things I loved: As always there is something good in every book. I did like the cover. I just didn’t get what the cover promised. I will say that the author managed to get the speech right, at least there was not any jarring inconsistencies. I did like how she continued Stoker’s way of telling a story through the journals of those involved. For the most part the prose seemed to adhere to the Victorian style and for that Miss Kiraly gets a nod.

I did like an idea that was proposed halfway through and that was that perhaps Mina was mad. That there were never any vampires and that maybe a thirst for blood meant something else. That passion and blood were mixed and that Mina could not tell the difference. When she begins to crave her lover’s blood, is that really what she is craving?

The beginning of the book isn’t horrible. It continues very nicely with Mina forever being watched by Van Helsing to make sure she isn’t a vampire, to the rest of those involved trying to make sense of it all. It’s slow in pace, but I don’t mind that. I just wanted it to go somewhere. I wanted it to be expanded and explored.

Things I didn't love so much: I finished it, so yeah. I think my biggest gripe is this was not the book I was expecting. Instead characters were shadows of what they could be. Jonathan Harker becomes a corporate tool and lacks the loving persona he had while Dracula was alive towards his wife, Mina decides to have an affair (which I am not completely aghast to, it was just the way it was done that drove me nuts), and Van Helsing, Jonathan and Seward apparently forget all that they have seen and done because they lock Mina away for believing in vampires. To top that the brides didn’t actually die and continue to wreak havoc on the countryside. Also apparently Dracula had a sister. Bah.

The few sex scenes are not very well written and seem out of place with the rest of the story. Once again, I was expecting more and I didn’t quite get it. I think you can stay true to the time period, but have Mina be a woman who is growing comfortable with her own sexuality and who refuses to adhere to Victorian sensibilities after all that she has been through. I would have been fine if she had shown this independence through her marriage or in other ways. For me at the end of Dracula I have always felt or wanted Mina to be that woman that wore red while everyone else did not. The woman who would call her husband by his name while in public or shamelessly reach for his hand or a kiss. Mina traveled far from her home to save her husband. She risked much, including her soul just to have Jonathan safe in her arms. She loves him, that I do believe. I just wanted more from her and of her.

The last bit of course is almost eye rolling, but I finished it. Suddenly, the vampires that have not been throughout the entire story appear. Except they were the same women that Van Helsing decapitated in the book. But apparently their ghosts are just as scary. And one of them is a good guy, or at least that is what the convenient journal that she has left wants you to believe. Oh and did I mention that Dracula has a sister and that she was one of his brides?

I wanted Mina to be the liberated woman, the woman who is strong and independent. Sometimes we got glimpses of it. She does not want to be the dutiful, typical Victorian wife when she goes home. She wants more. I get that. I get that she wants to feel the same passion and lust that she felt with Dracula, but can not seem to find it with his husband who has gone from doting to…well a cold fish. So she goes for Lord Gance, a narcissistic arrogant ass because apparently he reminds her of Dracula.

Buy or Borrow: Borrow

Part of: Stand Alone

Also Recommended: The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

2 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks

Have your own review? Let me know and I will post it.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Silver Borne

Silver Borne
Written by: Patricia Briggs
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Ace Hardcover
Language: English
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.