I own all of the Mercy Thompson books and decided that I would try to re-read some of them since I just finished the latest book and really wanted some Mercy to read.
I guess I am shocked how I even continued with the series when I see a lot of problems here and there with the story-line. I did give it four stars, but that's because I know what's coming and how good the series gets. But I can see why some people read book #1 and said I am out.
Set in the Tri-Cities in Washington state, we have a world where the fae, werewolves, and vampires walk alongside humans. And we even have a young woman (Mercy Thompson) who has the ability to shape-shift into a coyote.
I liked Mercy from the first. A half Indian and white woman, she is a mechanic working alongside a fae called Zee. We find out right away that Mercy has issues. And who wouldn't. When her mother realized that Mercy wasn't a typical baby, she went and sought help from someone (Bran "The Marrok" Cornick). Mercy ends up being raised by werewolves, but is quickly sent away again when she falls in love with The Marrok's son, Samuel. Eventually Mercy makes her way to the Tri-Cities and even though she know she's displeased The Marrok and her mother, she does what she wants and even lives next door to an alpha werewolf (Adam).
When Adam's teenage daughter Jesse is kidnapped, and then Adam is injured, Mercy goes investigating and even goes back to The Marrok in order to get answers about who is behind what is going on in the Tri-Cities and what they have planned for Adam and his Pack.
The writing in this first book is a little rough. And there is some info-dumping here and there. I think that in this first book, Briggs was trying to do too much. We get so many introductions to people, places, and things it was hard to keep things straight at first. Even I who have read this entire series went wait a minute what a couple of times. This is also kind of short (it's only 298 pages, electronic) and leaves a lot of questions that do get answered later on in the series. But I have to say that besides Mercy, I didn't get a good sense of anyone.
Also there were so many plot holes that bugged me. I also didn't get why Mercy didn't confront her mother, The Marrok, heck even Samuel more about how they played a game of hot potato regarding her. And even though Mercy doesn't act like it, I definitely in the first couple of books got a sense of her hurt that her foster father committed suicide after his wife died leaving her all alone again.
And people, there is a love triangle in this one. Thank goodness Briggs doesn't drag that out beyond book # 2 though the decision is finally made in book #3.
The ending I thought was clever when you find out the who and why. And I thought that the book that should be read after this is "Cry Wolf" which shows you the immediate aftermath of what goes does in this book. It gives a much nicer resolution to some things. And let's you see a different side to the werewolves that Mercy can only guess at.
April 15: $20
April 17: $23. I read "The Wangs Vs the World", electronic pages 368.
April 24: $28. I read "Dream Wedding", electronic pages 512.
April 25: $28. Landed on BL and had to post a vacation photo or tell a story about a vacation.
April 29: $31. Read "Whitethorn Woods", 354 pages Kindle edition, $3.00
April 29: $34. Read "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep", 256 pages;$3.00.
May 4: $37. Read "The Ghost Brigades" Paperback, 346 pages; $3.00
May 8: $42. Read "American Gods" Hardcover, 465 pages; $5.00.
May 8: $45. Read "Moon Called" 298 pages Kindle edition; $3.00.
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.
I'm over a decade late joining the Mercy Thompson party (partly because I was put off by the, mostly inaccurate, covers) but now that I've read the first one, I want the rest RIGHT NOW:
I finally picked up "Moon Called" when I found that I was going to be trapped on another long-haul flight where they lock me in a steal tube for nine hours at a time. It was a good choice, time flew by and Patricia Briggs now has a new fan.
"Moon Called" is Urban Fantasy as it should be. There's a likeable, kickass heroine who was raised by werewolves, makes her living fixing German cars, can take on the shape of a Coyote at will and is happy to spend time with fey, vampires, werewolves and humans as long as they're interested in cars. There's a complex cast of weres and vampires and fey and humans who are written up as people rather than game avatars. There's a nicely curly plot with strong action scenes but with a pace slow enough to give me time to get to know people.
The whole thing has a positive, feel-good vibe to it without getting cosy and losing its edge.
Perhaps the main thing is that I like Mercy Thompson and want to know what happens to her.
So of course I immediately went back to audible.com to buy the next few books in the series (hey, who needs a smaller TBR pile anyway?) only to find that books 2-6 are not available. I HATE IT when this happens. It usually means an argument about rights somewhere. I hope they get it sorted out soon. I could buy the ebooks but I'd prefer listen to Lorelei King telling the story.
Listen to the SoundCloud link below to hear why