Ever since I read Moon Called by Patricia Briggs a short while back, I've been itching to finish the rest of her acclaimed Mercy Thompson Series. Although I am making a conscious effort not to lunge for books and devour them, I seem to be doing a terrible job. I finished the next three novels in this series over the span of a week, which unfortunately doesn't say a lot about my self control. Nevertheless, I have compiled my reviews together (the next three reviews will be separate) and I can assure you that none of these reviews contain spoilers for the series. Also, you don't need a lot of background on this particular to read and understand the reviews if you haven't read this series before, but just in case, you can check out my review for the first novel, Moon Called, HERE.
Title: Blood Bound (Mercy Thompson, #2)
Author: Patricia Briggs
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Mechanic Mercy Thompson has friends in low places-and in dark ones. And now she owes one of them a favor. Since she can shapeshift at will, she agrees to act as some extra muscle when her vampire friend Stefan goes to deliver a message to another of his kind. But this new vampire is hardly ordinary-and neither is the demon inside of him.
As with most UF Series, Blood Bound marks the moment where this series really begins to take off and, to be honest, I am more than a little excited to see how much better each installment gets. Patricia Briggs has solidified herself as another favorite urban fantasy writer of mine with this installment and although she may have made her way into that list rather quickly, I don't regret my quick decision.
While Moon Called was solely focused on the werewolves in Mercy's world, Blood Bound revolves around the vampires. For me, what made this novel in particular so spectacular was the chilling plot line. It was creepy, with a healthy dose of legitimate Dracula-esque vampires - a nice change from the sparkly monsters we've been seeing for the past few years. Yet, what really makes this incredible is that although Stefan is a vampire and we are shown the true horror of what it is to be a vampire - something Mercy never realized since Stefan was relatively normal around her - we are still able to recognize Stefan for the monster he is, but appreciate him at the same time. It's a delicate balance, one that involves bringing in a lot of depth to Stefan's character, but it worked perfectly.
Nevertheless, while I couldn't stop flipping the pages of this one frantically until the end, I felt a little aloof from Mercy herself in this installment. It was engaging, but the connection I'd established with Mercy in the beginning of Moon Called faded away, which I wasn't a big fan of. I certainly liked this book much better than its predecessor - which unfortunately fell flat for me during the middle and part of the second-half - but I'm hoping for more depth to Mercy with Iron Kissed. If Patricia Briggs keeps writing like this, I suspect I'll be giving her next novel a solid 5 Stars.
Title: Iron Kissed (Mercy Thompson, #3)
Author: Patricia Briggs
Rating: 5 Stars
Mechanic Mercy Thompson can shift her shape - but not her loyalty. When her former boss and mentor is arrested for murder and left to rot behind bars by his own kind, it's up to Mercy to clear his name, whether he wants her to or not. Mercy's loyalty is under pressure from other directions, too. Werewolves are not known for their patience, and if Mercy can't decide between the two she cares for, Sam and Adam may make the choice for her...
It took three books for Patricia Briggs to get a 5 Star review out of me. I'd say that's pretty damn good. Iron Kissed is simply...breath taking. Not only did it center around the fae - easily the most mysterious and subtly dangerous of the three paranormal species that feature heavily in this series - but it also contained an unexpected depth of insight into Mercy herself. And, of course, for those who have already read this book, the end chapters will come as both a shock and an inspiration, a saddening act of events and one that is courageous and compelling at the same time. More than anything else, it is the perfect balance between plot and character, feeling and emotion that Briggs has managed to achieve with this novel that has made me love it so.
What makes the Mercy Thompson Series so unique is simply how well-plotted they are. With the other UF novels I've read - Kate Daniels and Downside Ghosts - each book is a separate adventure that is loosely connected to the previous novels, mostly because of the secondary characters. While this works perfectly and keeps me enthralled, I'm both surprised and enamored by the clear-cut cause-and-effect method of Briggs' plots. Each novel builds off the events of the previous installment, making even the first book one of utmost importance.
With Iron Kissed especially, the repercussions of past situations have come back to haunt Mercy and she finds herself suddenly in the debt of the fae. More than that, though, she finds herself forced to choose between Adam and Samuel. What I love about the love triangle in this series is that it isn't overwhelming or dramatic in any way - perhaps because it takes place between mature adults. Instead of a plethora of making out and then guilt and then a ridiculous death to get rid of the third - and unfortunately un-chosen guy - in the love triangle, the romantic entanglements in this novel work so that Mercy can clearly think through what she wants from life before rushing into any type of romantic relationship at all.
Although I usually shy away from love triangles, I absolutely loved the way it was solved in this - the understanding, the friendships, the bonds. Iron Kissed is practically a perfect book in the sense that we really get inside Mercy's head - well and truly in it - and our understanding of her, of the other wolves in Adam's pack, and of the mystery at hand in this novel. With these three elements working seamlessly together, it's no wonder that this is the best of the series yet.
Title: Bone Crossed (Mercy Thompson, #4)
Author: Patricia Briggs
Rating: 4.5 Stars
By day, Mercy is a car mechanic in the sprawling Tri-Cities of Eastern Washington. By night, she explores her preternatural side. As a shapeshifter with some unique talents, Mercy has often found herself having to maintain a tenuous harmony between the human and the not so human. This time she may get more than she bargained for. Marsilia, the local Vampire Queen, has learned that Mercy crossed her by slaying a member of her clan—and she's out for blood. But since Mercy is protected from direct reprisal by the werewolf pack (and her close relationship with its sexy Alpha), it won't be Mercy's blood Marsilia is after. It'll be her friends'.
It always takes me awhile to really get into the groove of a series. In fact, I'm not much of a series reader to begin with. My shelves are either stocked with stand-alones or, if there are any series on my shelves, most of them are incomplete since I only buy the installments I've loved. Even worse, though, series usually drop steam after hitting a climax and from there on out, it's a downward spiral. As such, I was ever-so-slightly apprehensive about opening the cover of Bone Crossed, despite lunging for it the moment I finished the cliffhanger ending of Iron Kissed. Quite thankfully, though, this series only seems to be getting better or maintaining its excellency and as a follow-up to what is sure to be a favorite of the year, Bone Crossed is stunning.
Bone Crossed continues to amp up the stakes in terms of plot, throwing in even more mysteries, secrets, and danger. Yet, what it mostly focuses is on are the characters themselves. Not only is the tenuous friendship between Stefan and Mercy truly tested, but Mercy herself is forced to face her inner fears and overcome them, displaying an admirable amount of inner strength. More than even her, though, Adam completely won me over. We see Adam for the dominant Alpha male that he is, but the sweet side of him is just as prevalent as the protective. With every passing moment that Adam and Mercy spent together, simply understanding one another inside and out, talking with one another, and enjoying each other's company, I fell harder and harder for their romance. It is one where they both share their strength and power, trusting one another completely.
Nevertheless, I will admit that after the incidents in Iron Kissed, I was a little surprised at the speed at which romantic situations unfolded in this installment. Everyone deals with situations differently, and I think Mercy's reactions were quite realistic, actually, but one can never fully be sure. I have no complaints about the pace of her growth, but it did stick out a little to me, although I have no actual qualms with it. Like Iron Kissed, this sequel has just the right blend of everything - depth, romance, mystery, danger, and, of course, the slow unraveling of new information. It makes you wonder how much more Briggs has up her sleeve, especially with the mind-blowing plot twists she churned out in this book. I, for one, cannot wait to see where Briggs takes Mercy and Adam next.