Monday, March 7, 2011
Car mechanic Mercy Thompson has always known there was something different about her, and not just the way she can make a VW engine sit up and beg. Mercy is a shapeshifter, a talent she inherited from her long-gone father. She's never known any others of her kind. Until now.
An evil is stirring in the depths of the Columbia River-one that her father's people may know something about. And to have any hope of surviving, Mercy and her mate, the Alpha werewolf Adam, will need their help...
Note: Review may contain spoilers
I love the Mercy Thompson series. I have since the first book. And I've been to two signings with Patricia Briggs and I can honestly say that she is a lovely person who is very gracious and has a wonderful sense of humor and I think the books reflect that.
Having said that, I have some mixed feelings about River Marked.
The first half or so of the book is especially mixed for me. I really did enjoy that we were able to spend more time with just Mercy and Adam, because frankly, they really needed to spend time without the demands of pack and family. So that was really great. However, it also felt rather slow and didn't hold my attention as well as the books usually do and I hate to say that. I really do. I did love the small bit of Stefan and Bran and Sam that we got. ::sigh:: I do love Bran and his relationship with Mercy and it's so great to see her finally recognizing and accepting his fatherly love for her. And I loved that we learned a bit about Charles and how he's protective of Mercy even when she didn't realize it. So fab.
The Native American mythology was fascinating and handled well, to my ignorant mind, but it still dragged for me. Also, I felt like Mercy was being deliberately obtuse for half the story. It bothered me that she was so blind to things. Mercy has always been smart and a fast thinker so this obliviousness really bothered me.
Some of the relationship issues annoyed me a bit as well. But as usual, Mercy and Adam worked through them with honesty and a courage that does their relationship credit.
The second part of the story really got interesting. The new characters that were introduced were great and revelations about Mercy's dad just felt right and made the story very interesting. I loved the character of Coyote. He is so much trouble and yet, he seems to care a lot about what happens to the world of man. Mercy learns a lot about herself, her heritage and her relationship with Adam in this book. Her devotion to those she loves is always wonderful to read. It's also great to see her growing into her skin more and more. Many of the revelations in this entry leads to more questions but that was great for me because it makes for plenty of material for more books in this series which continues to be one of my favorite in the Urban Fantasy genre.
Overall, River Marked is a solid entry in the Mercy Thompson series. A bit of a slower start than the previous books, perhaps, but the second half and the ending more than make up for it.
Final Grade: B+
As a side note, I went to the Patricia Briggs signing in SD this weekend, 3/6, and someone asked her about the writing of the traumatic events in Iron Kissed. I have to write a paraphrasing of what Ms Briggs said because it was such a great answer and really touched me.
Basically she said she really struggled with writing that part of the book and that she was unsure is she should do it, knowing that it would probably alienate a lot of people. In the end though, she didn't want to send the message that if something bad happens to you, that you are no longer worth being the heroine. That that character can no longer carry a UF series. Also, she didn't want to send a message that if you're smart enough and strong enough, you can keep bad things from happening to you and that only weak people have these things happen to them. She wanted to show that you can face really horrible things and come out on the other side. And be worthy of love. She also said that even though things may not end perfectly for Mercy at the ending of each book, she likes to leave the reader in a better place. She never wants to end on a note of despair. And as a reader, I really have to say that I appreciate that. I also appreciate that she took a chance and wrote something that not everyone liked, but that was true to the characters and the events happening in the book. I appreciate that she took the stance that even the strongest people go through bad shit and that they can triumph and it doesn't lessen their worth. Thank you for that, Patty. I think that's ultimately a wonderful message.
River Marked (Mercy Thompson, Book 6)