Read: April 2014
Author: Patricia Briggs
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 341 (hardcover)
Selected By: Lady Esbe
Lady Esbe’s Score:
“An unexpected phone call heralds a new challenge for Mercy. Her mate Adam’s ex-wife is in trouble, on the run from a stalker. Adam isn’t the kind of man to turn away a person in need – and Mercy knows it. But with Christy holed up in Adam’s house, Mercy can’t shake the feeling that something about the situation isn’t right.
“Soon, her suspicions are confirmed when she learns that Christy has the farthest thing from good intentions. She wants Adam back and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen, including turning Adam’s pack against Mercy.
“Mercy isn’t about to step down without a fight, but there’s a more dangerous threat circling. Christy’s stalker is more than a bad man – in fact, he may not be human at all. As the bodies start piling up, Mercy must put her personal troubles aside to face a creature with the power to tear her whole world apart.” – from the Amazon site.
Lady Esbe’s Review
This is a review of book 8 in the Mercy Thompson series; for those of you unfamiliar with these books, Mercy is a half-Native American mechanic extraordinaire that happens to be a coyote shapeshifter raised amongst werewolves. She is a strong woman that knows her vulnerabilities but, will not let her weaknesses prevent her from defending herself, her loved ones (family and friends) and sometimes even her enemies. Involved with the Columbia River Basin Pack, the second largest and one of the most influential werewolf packs in North America, Mercy finds an extended family that causes her as much joy as anxiety. The series also includes Mercy’s dealings with Fae, Vampires, and other supernatural beings, as well as humans. The series order is as follows:
Moon Called (2006)
Blood Bound (2007)
Iron Kissed (2008)
Bone Crossed (2009)
Silver Bourne (2010)
River Marked (2011)
Frost Burned (2013)
Night Broken (2014)
If you’re looking for a well-written, compelling, exciting, and often times, breath-stealing story, then you’ve found the right series.
Mercy is always a breath of fresh air. From the beginning of the series, Mercy is sorely independent with a few select friends that reappear in this novel. Amongst them are her Fae iron-kissed mentor, Zee, who has “gone to the [Fae] reservation voluntarily – hostilely voluntarily;” his half-human son, Tad and her lovable (yes, I said lovable) vampire friend Stefan. All of these friends are key in her past endeavors and no less so in this new adventure.
Mercy is self-aware, recognizing and deciding on whether to take the high road or surrender to petty catty behavior and responses when dealing with her would be rival (that is if Christy had a snowball’s chance in hell of getting Adam back). Mercy’s self-awareness does not stop here, she’s aware of her physical and mental strengths and weaknesses when dealing with potential assailants, allies and enemies. Mercy was previously assaulted and despite being unable (physical unable due to being compelled not to defend herself) protect herself from the situation, she still fought. She knows that she still carries the scars of the assault with her mentally and it does color the way that she views working in her shop alone or even how she may confront an assailant. She has an inner drive and strength that causes her to fight, even when the fight seems lost. In addition, she takes her responsibilities seriously and seriously contemplates how her actions or inactions affect those she love and those for which she is responsible. This is who she is to the very fiber of her being, which is in dire contrast of her legacy of Coyote being her father. The Native American Spirit Coyote is a trickster, always seeking fun and often at the expense of others. This is quite contrary to Mercy’s need to be responsible and take on monsters (mortal and immortal) whether it is truly her responsibility or her perceived responsibility.
Out of respect for Adam, his daughter, Jesse, and the need to protect the pack, Mercy begrudgingly, but willing, allows Christy to come stay in their home (Christy’s former home) while they deal with the stalker situation. While Mercy and Adam’s hospitality to solely to ensure Christy’s safety, Christy is plotting to win Adam back through manipulation of the pack to make herself look like a victim and Mercy look, well, like Mercy. Christy may be competent in a kitchen and outwardly attractive, but she is by no means a match for Mercy in character and true beauty. Mercy is human, ok, half human and is subject to feel a bit insecure; she only has to think of the bond with her mate, Adam and she is quick to remind members of the pack of it when inevitable sides are chosen. Not only does Christy bring Jerry Springer type drama with her, she also brings a crazed lunatic to their door too.
Things would be simple if Christy’s stalker was of the mortal variety. Unfortunately for Mercy, that would have been normal and easy, and that is never the path she is destined to take. We run into new supernaturals that calls Mercy’s very survival and that of her pack into very real jeopardy. Enter Coyote for mischief or assistance? Will the Fae walking stick be of assistance again? Your guess is as good as mine. We are also introduced to a character by the name of Gary Laughingdog, who may become a recurring character in future installments, along with a new submissive wolf by the name of Zach, a character that cannot be described as to give too much away in Joel, and potential human ally in an ex-law professor turned Watchdog publisher L. J. Torbett.
With that, I may have said too much, but the point is this. Mercy is amazing. I love that she is a self- aware, but very human (in a supernatural sort of way). She’s not superwoman nor does holds herself out to be. She may have her moment of doubts, but she carries herself with grace (yes a mechanic with grace), maturity and insight that serves her well as she fights for who and what she loves, and even to defend those she really would rather sacrifice.
I also love that Adam, as her mate, ensures that she is well aware of her place in his life and his need to have her in it. The tender moments and reassurances made me love Adam more and more. He understands the position he has put her in by having his ex-spouse run to him for protection and attempt to insert herself as if she were still his wife. There are times I wish he would man up a bit more and put Christy in her place, but all in all, you know where his heart lies and who his true mate is.
Jesse is ever the loyal stepdaughter. Being a teenager, she is far more mature than even her mother, which is sad. She is caught between loving her mom and loving her true parents, Adam and Mercy. She walks the line very well for a teenager. No matter what, she is team Mercy.
All in all, there is a bit of something or a character or characters that everyone can come to love. Ms. Briggs does an excellent job of showing life in fiction. The protagonist has those who love her and those who hate her, even those who are just indifferent. You may love the protagonist or you may hate her, but you will find a character that either draws your ire or earns your empathy. With the exception of the Christy acolytes and her dread stalker, all the characters that you find something near and dear to love, you end up loving that much more.
I must hand it to Patricia Briggs, I was on pins and needles regarding Mercy’s fate until the very last pages. I only put the book down when I couldn’t keep my eyes open because I was so tired or I had to work. Otherwise, I’m sure I would have tried to read it in a day and a half. Unlike Kim Harrison’s take on Urban Fantasy, we have a true heroine, one I can relate to and feel empathy for (rather than disgust- sorry, Rachel Morgan needs to learn a thing or two from Mercy) and root on to victory whether her antagonist is a catty ex-wife, any supernatural being or even the government. I have to say between Patricia Briggs and Justin Cronin, I think they are my two favorite Urban Fantasy and Horror (if you can call The Passage horror) authors. I’m eagerly awaiting the next installment from both.
Lady Esbe read the Kindle versions of the Mercy Thompson series, including Night Broken.