I just finished the most recent Mercy Thompson story, and it was a good one. I’ve been reading the series for years, and I love how Patricia Briggs has developed the world her stories are set in, both the Mercy Thompson (now Hauptman) series and the companion Alpha and Omega (Charles and Anna) series, as well as the characters. This book was a pretty quick read, despite the holiday weekend–I didn’t want to put it down, but kept having to, because it was a holiday weekend. D’oh!
I love Mercy. (I even like this cover a lot, despite my ongoing gripe that the model looks a little too tattooed and “sexy” for how Mercy is written). I love the world Patricia Briggs has built around Mercy and Adam and Bran and Charles and Warren & Kyle, and everyone else. I loved that Asil was in this book, since I love him in Alpha and Omega stories. However, I ended up wondering why he was in this book, since I don’t remember him doing anything that was specifically required Asil. Which is to say, yes, he was useful in the story, but what he did could have been done by any member of the pack, in my opinion. Stefan’s involvement felt similar to me–I liked it, and yet I wasn’t sure that he fulfilled a role that required him specifically in this book. Maybe I’m wrong. Also, I’m sad at how he has changed since the start of the series. But I ended up liking Hao more than Stefan, this time. Time for a Hao spinoff!
I do get frustrated with the werewolf (and vampire) psychology of this world. But for all its annoying dominance issues, Briggs keeps it consistent within the story, and makes it part of the politics of interaction. Because these books really are political. Not in the the stereotypical American political party sense, but in the sense of greater issues, interaction between enemies and uneasy allies, etc. Diplomacy. Compromise. Enemy of my enemy. I thought that the end of Fair Game would make the political issues much more tense and interesting in this book, but for the most part, those events were basically brushed aside in this story, and only addressed as they pertained to making access to Zee and the other fae more difficult. That did necessitate Tad being in the story, at least. I liked Tad. A lot. I hope he is in future books more often.
So I read, and I read. This book was really interesting and engrossing. And then at some point, the story lost momentum for me. It’s not that the book is huge and long and boring, but the story arc seemed off a little, so that the final fight/ issues felt anti-climactic, even if they were necessary, and the explanations leading up to the fight felt long and convoluted and not very interesting. Maybe it was the migraine I had while finishing the book, though. I just know I was relieved when that nonsense was over, and things were finally resolved.
Don’t get me wrong; a slightly anticlimactic ending does not ruin a Mercy book for me. I like the additional developments of this story, where things seem to be going with all the characters, including Mercy’s Coyote-given abilities she’s slowly discovering more and more, and the gradually increasing inclusion of interesting supporting characters, like Tad and Asil and Jesse and Gabriel and the rest. I’ll be looking forward to the next book (although I’m guessing an Alpha and Omega book comes next, and that’s fine with me too. More Charles and Anna! More Asil!). There were brief mentions of babies in this book, and considering Mercy and Adam’s unique relationship, I think it would be interesting as well as sweet. But regardless of what happens in the next book, I’ll be reading it.