Briggs combines European fairy tales with Native American mythology in what should go down in history as one of the worst honeymoons ever. “No one gets attacked by magical creatures” isn’t exactly a high bar to clear to attain good honeymoon status, but it would make a pretty dull read. So Mercy and Adam have finally wed, and are off for a relaxing week camping in the Columbia Gorge. One of the powerful local fae has loaned them a trailer and use of a campground, in exchange for the duo checking up on some otterkin that aren’t where they were supposed to be. (Otterkin are shapeshifters that can change between human and otter. They’re not necessarily harmful. Nor benign.) Mercy and Adam stumble across something much more dangerous and powerful than the missing otterkin. Something that will take all their skills to defeat. While this time they have powerful allies, it may not be enough.
At a mere 50 pages, The Perilous Adventure of Lewis Sweet is the shortest book I’ve read this year. It’s purported to be a partial biography of Mr Sweet; caught in a January blizzard while fishing on Lake Michigan and stranded overnight on an ice flow before walking several miles back to civilization. His bravery under these dire conditions so impressed Laylander that when Sweet asked Laylander “put his story into more or less readable form,” Laylander agreed forthwith, sending a batch of published brochures to Sweet so that he could procure himself some little income, to offset the loss of his livelihood, his injuries being such that he can no longer work. The book ends with Sweet at home with his wife and children, grateful to be alive. If you’re truly interested in reading this you may wish to comb antique stores. I’m pretty sure it’s been out of print since the 1930s.
Charles and Anna take a vacation to Phoenix to meet one of Charles’ friends, Joseph Sani; a horse breeder with werewolves in the family. The trip is meant to be some time off from Charles’ job as his father’s enforcer. It starts off well. Until they discover a fae is stealing human children and replacing them with fetches, bundles of bespelled sticks that look and act enough like the child that most people don’t notice the difference. Until a fae casts a spell on Chelsea Sani, Joseph’s daughter-in-law and attempts to force her to kill her children, and herself. Chelsea has been hiding powers of her own, however, and though there are unexpected consequences, she keeps her family safe. As you may have guessed this story involves more child endangerment than the others have, as well as some descriptions of self-harm that readers could find troubling. It also includes lots of horses, so if you like horses this book should make you happy. If you dislike horses, just skim the riding parts. It’ll be fine.
One of the unexpected results of werewolves becoming public knowledge is that their particular skills can be used by various police agencies to help catch criminals. In Fair Game, Anna and Charles join the FBI in tracking down a vicious serial killer. One who isn’t content with kidnapping and simple murder. And who has begun including supernatural victims. With Charles’ magical abilities and their impressive sense of smell, the duo stand a good chance of making headway where the authorities have been stumped. Their involvement draws the killer’s eyes to them, and with someone already powerful enough to kill other werewolves is looking at you as a threat, it’s best to be on your guard. But with Charles distracted by the ghosts haunting him and Anna worried about what’s bothering him, will they notice the danger before it’s too late?
Are you the kind of person who brings a gun to a fist fight? Mercy Thompson is. (She’s not trying to cheat, don’t look at me like that.) She’s the person to have on your side when sneaky machinations threaten to bring your pack down. Or when the fae kidnap one of your friends to force you to give them an artifact. Mercy always does her best to help her friends, or those in need. She’s stubborn. Sneaky. Devoted. So when she goes to return a powerful fae book and finds the bookstore suspiciously closed down, the owner missing, and strangers helpfully offering to take anything the owner may have loaned her off her hands, it’s only natural she would try to solve the mystery. But this time the pack is falling apart around Adam, and his teenage daughter’s boyfriend suddenly disappears. Will Mercy be able to keep the book out of the wrong hands when she’s not even sure whose hands those are? Will she be able to help Adam keep the pack together? And what happened to Jesse’s boyfriend Gabriel? Briggs has churned out another fantastic installment to the Mercy Thompson series.
“Do say something, she thought, wishing only to hear him speak.”
Virginia Woolf writes deceptively simple sentences that often have an understated romance to them. To the Lighthouse wasn’t overtly challenging, but reading it I still had to focus on each line to follow the jumps of subject and point of view that Woolf often made. It’s very much a book of relationships; parent and child, spouses, adult friends; carried across decades. The Ramsay family has spent their summers at a holiday home in Scotland. Mrs Ramsay throws dinner parties and the eight children play together on beaches. Sometimes everyone will take a boat to the nearby lighthouse. It’s idyllic in that flawed way that family vacations have, when the family in question is basically good people. The children expect these vacations will continue forever. Life intervenes. We get lovely word pictures of dust and cobwebs usurping their cottage as years and wars pass before their next visit, with the youngest of the children now adults and the family smaller, grieving its losses. Mr Ramsay takes his son James and daughter Cam sailing to the lighthouse in years past, though my understanding from the writing is that James has never actually been before. Their last vacation had poor weather and though plans were made, the lighthouse visit did not take place. This last trip really showcases the complexity of the emotions Cam and James feel towards their father, and the relationships the guests have had with the Ramsays. The book as a whole is a touching depiction of the fleeting memories that make up eternity.
This was actually the first Mercy Thompson book that I read, picked up in a Wee Book Inn because the woman on the cover was holding a pry bar and that’s an unusual thing to see. I’ve since progressed to buying them in hard cover as Briggs writes them, because I can’t stand the thought of waiting a whole extra year for the paperback release. Of course, that doesn’t help between publications, but there’s only so much I have control over.
In Bone Crossed, the vampire seethe has taken issue with Mercy killing one of their clan (see Blood Bound for that story) and are out for vengeance. But because Mercy is in a relationship with the alpha of the local werewolf pack, coming after her directly would result in an all out vampire-werewolf war. So they target her friends. On top of that, an old college friend contacts Mercy for help with a ghost haunting her son. Since Mercy’s walker side (from her native father) lets her talk to ghosts, she travels to Spokane and spends a few days with Amber’s family. There’s only one vampire in Spokane. Mercy and her friends think she will be fine until the Tri-cities seethe settles down. Stops thirsting for her blood. But no one attracts the supernatural like Mercedes Thompson. It’d be a pretty boring story if everything went smoothly.
In Iron Kissed, a killer is targeting powerful fae, the term for a variety of magical creatures, the kind you find in fairy tales. They are also stealing magical objects. Since Mercy owes the fae a favour for using a fae artifact more than they gave her permission to, the Grey Lords tell her friend Zee to bring her in and help figure out who the killer is. As a shapeshifter with a coyote form, her nose can reveal valuable information the fae can’t always find. She passes everything she knows on to Zee and the fae, but a few days later is stunned and angered to hear Zee is in prison and charged with the murder of one of the suspects; she knows he is innocent. Being the person she is, she sets out to prove his innocence. By book three Mercy has battled vampires, mercenaries, and werewolves. Iron Kissed gives her her most gut-twisting battle yet, and this time there is no one beside her. While all the books are violent, this one especially needs content warnings for sexual assault. Briggs handles it with compassion and insight, and it’s a great story, but please be careful when you read this one.
What’s worse than a vampire? How about a sorcerer-turned-vampire, rampaging with a demon inside it slowly taking control? That’s the newest enemy in Blood Bound, the second book in Patricia Briggs’ gripping Mercy Thompson series. This time it’s the vampires that need Mercy’s help, when what they think is a witch turned vampire is shown to be a demon-ridden sorcerer. Adam’s pack volunteers to help; two vampires and two werewolves should be enough to take down one sorcerer/vampire.
It’s not. And now the mistress of the vampires has come to Mercy, asking her to stop this thing. It’s a blood-soaked quest that no one thinks she can complete. Including her.
I was going to write a review of this book, having now read it a couple times, and picked it up to just refresh the plot in my memory. Two hours later the review remains unwritten and I am nearly finished reading the book. Again. So now that I remember how it goes, let me share it with you!
Mercedes Thompson is a half-native shapeshifter with a degree in History. As she says, her History degree is the reason she’s a mechanic. Her next door neighbour is the alpha werewolf of the Columbia Basin pack, one Adam Hauptman, with whom she mostly gets along. He claims her as his mate in front of his pack to keep them from eating her though, so not everyone likes her. She was also raised by the Aspen Creek Marrok as his daughter (from the Alpha & Omega series), is friends with a vampire and a fae, and can turn into a coyote. You’d think all that would keep her busy enough, but when Adam’s house is attacked and his teenage daughter Jesse is kidnapped she comes to the rescue. It’s a twisted plot that implicates members of both Adam and the Marrok’s packs, combined with a sinister figure testing out experimental drugs on werewolves. It’s a good thing Mercy has a friend to run her shop for her; between fighting monsters and solving mysterious plots she barely has time to do oil changes. I highly recommend this addictive series.