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review 2017-10-13 11:49
"Iron Kissed - Mercy Thompson #3" by Patricia Briggs
Iron Kissed - Patricia Briggs

"Iron Kissed" stepped this series up from good urban fantasy with a likeable, strong heroine and a satisfyingly complex supernatural world, to something that really gets face to face with abusive power and what it does.

 

In less than three hundred pages, Patricia Briggs managed to move from a fairly conventional (by Urban Fantasy standards) who dunnit, with Mercy trying to prove that her mentor did not murder seven fae on the local reservation, into a book that is really about what men and women do with power.

 

Mercy is brave and loyal and smart but she's not powerful and she doesn't have any magical healing ability. If Mercy gets hurt, she stays hurt.

 

Mercy grew up surrounded by male werewolves with an impulse for violence and the physical power to tear her apart. She survived by learning not to draw attention to herself. That's not an option for her any more. The two earlier books gained her the attention of the local werewolf pack and the local nest of vampires. In this book she is dragged into the affairs of the fae.

 

It is Mercy's vulnerability that makes her courage remarkable. When she stands up to those more powerful than her, with no ability to protect herself from the consequences, it means something.

 

The first part of the book expands our understanding of the fae, a not at all human set of people who will always put their security above the lives of the humans around them. Mercy negotiates a route through their threats where she can and initially this seems like another urban fantasy book where clever humans can outwit the monsters. Then Mercy is cornered by something powerful that wants to kill her and that she cannot fight or outrun.  Her only option is to seek protection. What I liked about this was her reaction: fear, not wise-cracking arrogance; guilt for putting others in danger, not a "hah, trapped you" joy; an understanding that, if things continue as they are, one of the many monsters she is surrounded by WILL kill her.

 

In the second part of the book, things get darker. Much darker. Mercy comes to understand that not all monsters are supernatural. She falls prey to one of them who hurts her, diminishes her and takes her to the brink of self-abnegation.

 

This was not easy reading. We'd left fantasy far behind and become entangle in the worst things we do to each other.

 

Mercy's reaction and the reaction of the people around her, made me cry.  I wanted to cheer but crying got the better of me.

 

The novel avoids a soft, pain free, happy ever after ending. Damage is not so easily undone but, it turns out, hope is not so easily extinguished.

 

I'm hooked now. If this standard of writing continues, I'll be with this series until the end.

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-10-09 15:30
When Mercy Thompson Blew Me Away
Iron Kissed (Mercy Thompson, Book 3) (Mercedes Thompson) - Patricia Briggs

Trigger warning: Rape

 

This is the Mercy Thompson book that left me feeling raw for hours. I am glad that I got a chance to re-read it for Halloween Bingo 2017 though. I recall this book had me in tears a few times and that I loved how Briggs wrote this story and the continuation of Mercy's fallout from a brutal attack.

 

In "Iron Kissed" Mercy's boss and friend Zee is arrested for a crime that she knows he could not have committed. Though Mercy is warned off by Zee and a bunch of other people, she keeps investigating. While dealing with that, she finally has to face who she wants to be with in the future, Adam, Alpha of the local Pack or Samuel the son of the leader of the Werewolves in North America. 

 

Mercy is a fighter and when one of her friends or loved ones is in trouble, she goes all in, however, this time there are repercussions to Mercy forging ahead. Mercy is already starting to see that her feelings for Adam are stronger than her feelings for Samuel in this one, but she still feels hesitant to make a choice even though she finds out later that Adam has made a choice that will cause problems with his Pack if it's not resolved soon.

 

I know others have mentioned that it's a shame that Mercy doesn't have more real life girlfriends in this series, and I have to agree. Especially considering what happens to Mercy in this one, I am surprised that Mercy didn't reach out to her mother and her one time best friend that was mentioned three books ago. 

 

I will say that the series doesn't get better with regards to Mercy having a close female friendship. Considering how close Honey is to Mercy (or at least she is to my mind) I hope that gets resolved in the series. Or heck, have Mercy actually talk to Anna once in a while (Charles wife and mate). 

 

Adam is the best. Seriously you guys. He is the perfect book boyfriend. I loved him from beginning to end in this one. He loves and gets Mercy and nothing is ever going to change things for him at all with regards to who he wants to be with. 

 

We get appearances by many characters we know and that I love (Jessie, Warren, Ben, and Honey) and I loved each and every one of them. 

 

We get some interesting insight into the werewolf Ben in this one. I maybe cried a bit when something in his past is revealed. We get to see that though Mercy doesn't realize it, that Ben really does care about her. I did get annoyed about how Mercy treats Ben in one of the later books (River Marked #6) especially based on this scene, but at least Briggs hasn't done that again since that time. 

 

The first part of the book moves a little slow though. When we have Mercy investigating what Fae could be behind some deaths I was not invested. When all is revealed though it took my breath away. And when Mercy is raped I had to put the book down for a bit. It's a lot. Briggs spares nothing and you are wholly in Mercy's head as she deals with the fallout from being raped. I applaud how thoughtful Briggs was to write this story and how we get to see Mercy dealing with the fallout from the events in this book for the rest of the series. 

 

I have to say that I loved how things ended in this book. We have Mercy choosing to go on from what happens to her and choosing to love the man that she wants to be with in the future. 

 

 

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review 2017-03-19 16:01
Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs
Iron Kissed (Mercedes Thompson) - Patricia Briggs,Lorelei King

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This book left me with all kinds of feelings. I have had a hard time getting it out of my head since I finished it hours ago. This was a re-read for me but it has been roughly 6 years since the first time I read this book and it really had a bigger impact on me this time around. I have so much love for this series having read all of the books set in the Mercy world and now working on re-reading them as time allows. This book felt like a really pivotal book this time around since I know how things do work out. I am in awe of the magic that is the Mercy Thompson series.

Mercy is asked by Zee to help out with an investigation investigation involving the fae. Things get a whole lot more complicated almost immediately after when Zee is arrested and charged with murder. Mercy knows that he is innocent so she is going to do everything in her power to set the record straight even when she is told to leave things alone. I will be honest and admit that I didn't remember who the bad guy was in this mystery and was trying to puzzle through everything right along with Mercy and she discovered new pieces of information.

The other major point in this book focuses on Mercy's love life. In the previous books in the series, Mercy has had both Adam and Sam showing interest in her. Sam ended up moving in with her as roommates and Adam has declared her as his mate. Sam and Adam are both very strong Alpha wolves and a choice has to be made. Mercy does finally figure out where her heart is in this book and she does it in a way that reminds me why I love her character as much as I do.

The final section of the book really got to me. It was intense to say the least. I was emotionally all over the place as I listened to the everything that happens to Mercy. I was angry for her. I wanted to cry for her. I wanted to help glue back all of the pieces or try to do something to make it be that things didn't really happen. I think that the way that Patricia Briggs decided to share how Mercy was feeling during the aftermath of the big event is genius. I am in awe of her writing ability. Mercy dealt with the pain by turning into her coyote. In doing so, the way she acted and her body language took on a very obvious meaning. It was powerful stuff to say the least.

I loved the narration of this book. Lorelei King did a spectacular job in narrating this story. There are quite a few characters in this book and she did a fantastic job in using different and consistent voices for those characters. She really showed the emotions of the characters during this story. The pacing of her reading was really nice and I found myself being able to listen for hours at a time.

I would highly recommend this series to others. I do think that this is a series that is best read in order since the relationships between the character grow and change over the course of the series and events from earlier books do come up from time to time. I can't wait to continue with my re-read of this fantastic series!

Initial Thoughts
The ending of this book was a lot more intense than I had remembered. Such amazing storytelling and the narration added to the experience.

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review 2017-03-07 02:54
A Great Way to Start/Revisit this UF series
Moon Called (Mercedes Thompson) - Patricia Briggs
Blood Bound - Lorelei King,Patricia Briggs
Iron Kissed (Mercedes Thompson) - Patricia Briggs,Lorelei King

I've only posted about a couple of the books in this series, since I read most of the series before starting this blog, it feels strange not to have old posts to go back and steal from. How do I do this concisely, now? I mean this should be one of the longest posts I've written, if I was going to do it right.

 

But I'm not going to do it right, I'm going to do it quick. Simply: Mercy Thompson is a skinwalker of sorts, who was raised by a pack of werewolves (a pack led by the Alpha of North America, it should be noted), who has an English degree and works as a VW mechanic. When we meet her in Moon Called, she's living near the Alpha of the Tri-Cities of Oregon, is friends with a vampire, knows a couple of the Fae who live on the (Fae) reservation nearby. Almost no one knows about her ability to shift into a coyote (other than these supernatural folks), and she has no intention of changing that. However, she finds herself in the middle of a few goings-on in the supernatural community and becomes a prominent player in the area.

 

In Moon Called Mercy discovers a group experimenting on werewolves -- even creating some for the sole purpose of being guinea pigs. In Blood Bound, Mercy is called upon by the local vampires to pay a debt by helping them track and destroy a rogue über-vampire/serial killer. Then in Iron Kissed Mercy begins helping local Fae investigate a series of murders on the reservation, using her special abilities -- in the end, she has to dance around Fae politics while trying to prove that a dear friend wasn't behind the killings. Throughout this, she has a love life, some friends, helps the local pack with some internal issues, and finds herself in mortal danger frequently. All while maintaining her shop, sense of humor, and independence.

 

I love these characters -- all of them, I can't think of a single one of them I wouldn't want to spend more time with. Mercy has an attitude, perspective and humor that I enjoy, and good taste in friends/acquaintances, too. Briggs' approach to werewolves, vampires, etc. is fantastic and I frequently judge other UF writers by how they match up to Briggs' approach.

 

There is a richness to Briggs' writing and to the world she's created that's truly impressive. It takes me less than a chapter to feel absolutely at home in the books (this happened when I first tried Moon Called and has happened with every successive volume -- not just in my going through them again on audio). What blew me away going through these books is how much of this series (and the spin-off series, Alpha and Omega) is established in Moon Called -- she's what, 14 books or so in and 98% of those books can be traced to this first one. Whether that's because she's good at going back and picking up details to flesh out or because she plotted things out so well, it really doesn't matter -- the material was there and she's using it well. The world she established is so well-formed that she can keep playing in it without having to invent new things, change the rules she established, or anything else. I can't think of another UF universe that was so well-built from book one.

 

King gives a really strong performance here -- her characters are spot-on, the narrative stays engaging. Really, a bang up job, with one big flaw: she can't pronounce local geographic names. Granted, most people who don't live in Washington/Idaho/Montana(ish) aren't going to notice, but man, it's hard to listen to. If I have to hear her butcher "Coeur d'Alene" one more time . . . On the other hand, there's this scene in Iron Kissed between Adam (local Alpha) and Ben (British werewolf who joined the pack because he had to leave England under suspicious circumstances) where Ben has to explain to Adam the psychological trauma Mercy's suffered and how she's reacting. When I first read the book, I was in shock a. because of the traumatic scene (really well written) and b. Ben's more than capable and empathetic understanding/explanation. This time through, King's performance just stunned me -- it was so good. She nailed the whole thing and almost had me in tears in my cubicle.

 

I loved the books, I think the audiobooks are among the best I've heard -- the only reason that I haven't gone further in this series of audiobooks is that the library system here doesn't have #4 (they do have the rest of the series, oddly enough), and I haven't justified the expense for myself yet. For old fans of the books, or people looking for something new to listen to -- these are well worth your time. Great material presented in a pretty compelling way.

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2017/03/06/mercy-thompson-audiobooks-1-3-moon-called-blood-bound-iron-kissed-by-patricia-briggs-lorelei-king
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review 2016-12-14 00:00
Iron Kissed
Iron Kissed - Patricia Briggs A walking stick that follows you around is surely a sign to slow down, right?

Mercy is asked to help investigate a series of Fae murders, because mechanics are great at that sort of thing. That goes so well that her friend and former boss, Zee, ends up on the hook for a murder he didn't commit. Of course, what happens on the rez stays on the rez, so the Fae are quite happy for Zee to take the fall. Mercy isn't happy for Zee to take the fall.

Patricia Briggs keeps upping the ante with this series. Mercy may have some devoted friends but there is quickly becoming very few groups in the Tri-Cities area that aren't pissed at her. Whether it be the vampires, the Grey Lords of the Fae, her two competing suitors, elements within the wolf pack, or the local anti-magical beings hate groups, Briggs has made Mercy's life tough. This makes for compelling reading. Some people won't like the climatic scene for how far it goes, but what is a decent protagonist without deep psychological scars? <--- not a spoiler... kinda.
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