Across the past few months I have been reading my way through the ten books that make up the Mercy Thompson series. This is the review of the whole series, as written by Patricia Briggs. It is an urban fantasy series which focuses on the ubiquitous heroine: Mercedes Thompson. As the novel’s pitch runs: Mercy is a shapeshifting mechanic, living in a world of fae, werewolves and vampires. And of course, this brings her into plenty of different kinds of magical and mortal trouble.
Moon Called is the first book in the series, introducing the reader to Mercy. Mercy is presented as a kickass heroine – perfectly capable of looking after herself. She is not powerless, given her ability to shapeshift into a coyote. Yet this ability and power is comparatively weak when placed against the werewolf, vampire and fae dangers of Mercy’s world.
The plot of Moon Called revolves around the danger to werewolves living near Mercy’s home. Danger involving kidnappings, drugs, silver and murder. Which is part of the cocktail mix needed for an exciting and adventurous beginning. However, this still contains all the hallmarks of a beginning novel. Meaning that there are moments when the charm of the characters and worldbuilding fades a little compared to more polished latter entries.
Where Moon Called focuses on Mercy’s interactions with the werewolves, Blood Bound turns to vampires. But not the kid-friendly vampires, these are Bram Stoker’s blood devouring soul-less monsters. And here in Blood Bound Mercy must work out how to deal with vampires and demons to save the city from a mass murderer. The beginnings of character development shine through in this novel, as Mercy demonstrates her strong character and desire to do good regardless of the consequences. And for those worried about love triangles, this plot thread does unfurl in different directions.
Moon Called dealt with werewolves, Blood Bound dealt with vampires. Iron Kissed is therefore mainly focused on the fae. It deals with Mercy’s former boss Zee – also known as the Dark Smith – being accused of fae murder and the theft of fae artifacts. All of which leads Mercy on a quest to absolve him and discover who the guilty suspect is. Iron Kissed is the best of the first few novels in the regard of how it builds the world of the entire series. And more specifically how it concludes with a powerful and shocking sequence of events that reveal a powerful theme of abuse and survival.
In Bone Crossed, Mercy recovers from events at the end of Iron Kissed. This recovery and the point of view shown regarding survivors is powerful. Equally powerful is the way Patricia Briggs takes plot threads from the end of the second book, Blood Bound. The way in which Mercy deals with both issues in this novel is intriguing and makes Bone Crossed a worthy follow-up to Iron Kissed.
Silver Borne is a slower paced novel than previous entries in the series. It again deals with the fae and their artifacts, one of which Mercy holds in her possession. The mystery of this entry focuses on Mercy trying to work out which artifact she owns, and defying the fae who want it back. At the same time, Silver Borne does develop several side characters in the series.
River Marked is one of the weaker Mercy Thompson novels. Aside from a few developments which are important to following novels, the novel falls into the vein of being ‘more of the same’. Yet it adds some important information regarding the origins of Mercy’s abilities, and focuses on Native American myths in the real world.
With Frost Burned, Patricia Briggs adds a new string to the metaphorical bow of the series. She utilises a second point-of-view, using Adam’s character in second person. She also allows Adam and the Pack to be captured by mercenaries, creating a new dilemma for this novel. In previous novels, Mercy’s friends were around to help her solve her problems. In this novel, Mercy must work to solve all the problems of her friends disappearing in a kidnapping plot.
In Night Broken, Adam’s ex-wife Christy becomes the problem for Mercy and the Pack to deal with. Suffering abuse she turns to Adam for help and of course he obliges. Yet the abuser is more than just any normal human being and this creates supernatural problems for Mercy. Almost as many problems as the introduction of Christy into the story creates for Mercy.
The novel Fire Touched again draws out the battle between the fae and other forces. One of those forces is of course Mercy Thompson, who draws a line between the fae and her friends. A human boy with magical abilities is being sought after by the fae. Mercy takes him in, drawing the ire of the fae. And of course, this leads into a series of adventures and compromises between Mercy and the fae. Leading to an interesting conclusion by the end of the novel.
Silence Fallen is the tenth novel in the series and the latest to date. Yet in this novel, Patricia Briggs highlights the fullness of her ability as an author to this point. With a series that shows no signs of slowing down, Briggs writes a novel which evolves the series through use of different points-of-view and playing with the chronological timeline of the various chapters. Setting the action in an entirely different country, with new villains and heroes added to the mix. In many ways it may be the best book to date with the different narrative tricks it employs.
Summarising the Series So Far
The Mercy Thompson series features novels that are fun and fast-paced entertainment. Yet at the same time there are some relevant and intriguing themes. The novels address abuse, sexism, racism, mythology, fairytales, fantasy, spirituality and theology to name a few ideas. On the whole, however, if you enjoy the first few novels as a reader you can pick up later volumes with a sense of certainty: that the novel will be a polished, interesting read with worthwhile characters. And that certainty is what makes a novel series truly worthwhile.
Themes and Ideas8.5/10
Unique Plot, Characters or Worlds9.0/10
- Strong ongoing storyline
- Unique world, excellent character development
- Discusses issues many other fantasy works shy away from
- Excellent and entertaining pace and unique idea in each novel
- Books are best read sequentially
- Uneven pacing in some books
- Some might find the writing too casual for their taste
- The sensual elements may not be to everyone's taste
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