Tag Archives: shape shifting

Blood Bound

Briggs, Patricia. Blood Bound (2007). 292 Pages. Ace Fantasy. $7.99

Mercy Thompson: Book Two

Please be aware that it is extremely likely that there are spoilers for the first book. You have been warned. Proceed with caution.

I was so excited when I figured out there was another book in this series. I hadn’t yet figured out that most authors write whole collections of books these days, as stand-alone novels just don’t sell as well. Well, that might not be the case, but it would hardly be surprising. Anyway, this is one character I was glad to see again.

Stefan is collecting his favor, and boy is it a doozy. There’s a sorcerer-turned-vampire who’s infected with a demon, and it’s bringing unwanted attention to the supernatural world. Sure, people know about some of the fae– the cuter, weaker, and less-threatening fae, anyway– and people have learned about the werewolves, but the vampires remain a closely-guarded secret. It’s not exactly easy to both suck blood and be a good guy*.

We learn a lot more about Mercy’s past, and her powers. More of Mercy’s character gets to shine through here, and she manages to kick some ass without being the most powerful being ever. She’s got some unique talents– compliments of her Walker heritage– which enable her to help her friends when they are unable to help themselves. Native American walkers used to hunt vampires, until the vampires hunted the walkers into near extinction. (One doesn’t expect vampires to worry about committing genocide.) Mercy learns more about herself and her abilities from this vampiric entanglement than she learned growing up with werewolves.

Of course, Mercy’s love-life gets more complicated– both Samuel and Adam are vying for her affection. She’s got quite the past with Samuel, and doesn’t quite buy that he loves her for the right reasons. Adam is a pack Alpha, and comes with a lot of werewolf complications. There’s a lot more coming Mercy’s way, and despite the fact that this is largely a paranormal romance, Mercy’s love-life takes a back seat to the adventure in this novel.

The Quick Version:

Mercy remains a kick-ass heroine who has a strong voice. Her story grows more complicated as the story goes on. She kicks some ass. And characters actually seem to grow. This gets a 4/5, because I don’t generally give a damn about vampires, and this plot is not my favorite. (Though it remains pretty well written, and solid.)

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* And universes with “good vampires” are made of suck. (Pun not intended) (I’m looking at YOU, Twilight.)

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Filed under Adult Fiction, Book Review, Chick-Lit, Contemporary Romance, Paranormal Romance, Romance, Urban Fantasy

Moon Called

Briggs, Patricia. Moon Called (2006). 288 Pages. Ace Fantasy. $7.99

Mercy Thompson: Book One

I suppose since I just reviewed book five in this series, I should probably take some time to go back and talk about the earlier books. I keep re-reading this series, and I enjoy it every single time I do. The covers connect with each other, since they have a steady, constant artist. Despite what the cover leads you to believe, Mercy does not wear cropped belly-shirts. She’s above that.

Meet Mercedes Thompson, Volkswagen Mechanic. She’s very aware of the irony of her name, but tends to go by Mercy, so it’s not as much of a running joke as it might be. Mercy is a walker– that is, she can transform into a coyote at will. As far as she knows, she’s the only one of her kind, which leaves her knowing very little about the full extent of her abilities.

Mercy has a long back-story which is revealed very neatly as she explains herself to a new werewolf. It manages to be expository without feeling contrived, and in essence explains that Mercy was raised by the Marrok– the ruler of the werewolves. She knows more about werewolves than any other non-were, and uses this knowledge to her advantage (to both torment and survive her handsome were-neighbor Adam, among other things.)

Anyway, Mercy starts off by picking up Mac- a stray wolf- and stupidly locking herself in a garage with him and a dead body. Adam manages to save her, but things get weirder and crazier with every page until we reach an impressive climax. Of course, there’s a lot going on: Samuel (the Marrok’s son) re-enters Mercy’s life after a long absence. Stefan, the vampire, helps Mercy out. The Marrok steps in. There’s even a Witch. There is kidnapping, mystery, and suspense. By the end of the book, you’re not quite sure what’s going to happen next.

Mercy herself is the reason this book is so great. She has an amazing voice, and a strong personality. She kicks just a little more ass than most girls, without being over-powered and flawless. She’s one of the better heroines out there, and I look forward to her books.

The Quick Version:

I loved this book. (I love this whole series.) I feel like it’s just the right amount of ass kicking (by Mercy and her posse) and mystery. We learn about the characters, and I actually cared what happened to them. It was a well written story which kept you turning pages. It gets a 5/5.

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Filed under Adult Fiction, Book Review, Chick-Lit, Contemporary Romance, Paranormal Romance, Romance, Urban Fantasy

Silver Borne

Briggs, Patricia. Silver Borne (2010). 342 Pages. Penguin. $24.95

Mercy Thompson: Book Five

Please be aware that there are spoilers for the first four books in this series. Proceed at your own risk.

I’ve been waiting for this book since I first figured out that you can put books on hold through the library. Every few days I would creep further up the queue, until I was finally able to pick it up. When I did, I momentarily debated re-reading the other books in the series, before deciding that it would be silly to waste any time. Of all the supernatural fiction, there are only a few authors I really enjoy, and Patricia Briggs is one of them. I’m going to review this one out of order, because I read it without re-reading the others, and because it’s due at the library.

I’ll say right now that I enjoyed it a lot, but it had a sense of finality at the end which had me asking “Is this the last book in the series?” It’s not, by the way. There are a lot of urban fantasy novels out there, and a lot of them are very “Meh.” This is not one of those series. Nor is it one of those series where you find yourself wondering why you’re still reading, because it’s become so formulaic and you don’t really give a damn. Continue reading

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Wild Magic

Pierce, Tamora. Wild Magic (2005 ed). 362 Pages. Simon Pulse. $6.99

The Immortals: Book One

Like so many other books I’ve reviewed, I’ve had this since I was a kid. I really enjoy Tamora Pierce’s work, and The Immortals was the last Tortall series which was complete before I started reading it. I hate waiting for books, so I’m glad when I pick up a series and find out it’s already complete.

Anyway, The Immortals series is about Veralidaine Sarrasri and her Wild Magic. She’s a solid heroine, one who has to grow up abruptly because there is no childhood in war. The details of her past, and her present are slowly revealed to us, as she learns to trust some familiar faces, and as she gains more confidence in herself. I think the slow revelation of details helps to make her a richer character, and it makes her feel more real.

The series starts at a horse-fair in Galla, where Ouna is looking for some fresh new ponies to take back to Tortall for Thayet’s Riders. Ouna is a bit dismayed when she finds herself in charge of thirteen year-old Daine, but figures the girl knows horses, and will be helpful. Daine more than earns her way when they come across Stormwings– human/bird hybrids which are intelligent, but crude, smelly, and more than a little evil. The Stormwings are after a large, black bird which is not what it seems, and it is by using her untrained magic that Daine manages to locate the confused animal.

Eventually, Daine finds herself working for the Queen’s Riders, and studying magic with the mage Numair Salamin. In Tortall, she meets nobles who aren’t “proper” (Alanna, George, Thayet, Jon), and a lot of Rider trainees. She learns to speak to animals, to control them, and even to heal. But this isn’t without a lot of difficulty. Stormwings attack more than once, Daine nearly kills herself, she gets lectured by an angry Badger, is terrified by a Dragon, and brings a Kraken down upon Pirate’s Swoop.

It’s the start to a great adventure, as Daine gets involved in Tortall, and the Immortals War.

The Quick Version:

I was thrilled when Alanna made an appearance; she’s married, and she’s the mother of three excellent children. Thayet, too, shows up, and proves to be an awesome queen, and a good mother. (Motherhood suits these women, proving that just because you have children doesn’t mean you can’t kick ass.*) Of course, this series is about Daine, a character who frustrated me a lot in this particular volume. I like her better later, when she becomes more confident in herself and her abilities. This volume gets a 4/5, because Daine’s story has not even really begun.

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* a la Molly Weasley.

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