Ace / March 5, 2013 / $26.95 print, $12.99 digital
Mercy Thompson’s life has undergone a seismic change. Becoming the mate of Adam Hauptman—the charismatic Alpha of the local werewolf pack—has made her a stepmother to his daughter Jesse, a relationship that brings moments of blissful normalcy to Mercy’s life. But on the edges of humanity, what passes for a minor mishap on an ordinary day can turn into so much more…
After an accident in bumper-to-bumper traffic, Mercy and Jesse can’t reach Adam—or anyone else in the pack for that matter. They’ve all been abducted.
Through their mating bond, all Mercy knows is that Adam is angry and in pain. With the werewolves fighting a political battle to gain acceptance from the public, Mercy fears Adam’s disappearance may be related—and that he and the pack are in serious danger. Outclassed and on her own, Mercy may be forced to seek assistance from any ally she can get, no matter how unlikely.
Patricia Briggs’s Mercy Thompson series has been one of my longtime favorite urban fantasy series because of its vibrant multi-dimensional characters and a continuous evolving world that keep the series fresh and interesting. Set in an alternate Oregon, supernaturals intermingle with humans, though most humans aren’t conscious of this. The series centers on Mercy (Mercedes) Thompson, a Native American coyote shapeshifting mechanic.
Referred to as a “walker,” Mercy is not dependant on the moon to shift, has some immunity to magic, and can see and control ghosts. Raised by the Marrok himself (think King of all the North American werewolves), Mercy has always had to be a little stronger, faster, and more clever than her foster pack. The series follows her through her life, her trials and tribulations as she finds herself unintentionally tossed into supernatural affairs that really shouldn’t concern her. Mercy has a strong loyal and moral compass. She will fight to her last breath to keep her friends and the world safe from evil.
“...evil and good are real-you know better than anyone. I have to do the right thing. If not, then I am no better than that...”
We also have watched as Mercy falls slowly but irrevocably in love with Adam Hauptman, Alpha of the Tri Cities pack. When Adam chose to announce his intentions towards Mercy, it was originally done as a way to protect her. It has been a long hard battle for these two stubborn people who have had to not only fight against outsiders, but also some inside Adam’s pack who did not and still don’t like the fact that Mercy is a coyote.
What I love about this series is that Briggs has taken their relationship slowly, and chooses to allow Adam and Mercy to decide if and when they will have a relationship. We see them deal with their feelings, with reservations on both sides. We get both their points of view and we see their battles, concerns, and arguments. We learn about their backgrounds, their lives, and expectations and it allows us and them to better understand the other person. We see them adapt, concede, and compromise. What started out as unavoidable turns to true love and we get to experience it with them every step of the way.
In Frost Burned, Adam and Mercy are now married and Mercy has fully recovered from her battle injuries she received in River Marked. The injuries Mercy received has left Adam even more edgy and protective than normal but he soon learns that no one can stop Mercy from doing what she feels is right. Mercy finds herself once again being pitted against bigger, badder, unknown forces when the entire pack is kidnapped when she is out Christmas shopping.
Unable to find Adam or help the pack, Mercy gets a taste of what Adam goes through whenever she has rushed in where angels fear to tread. Mercy and Adam's bond produces some amazing results and brings them even closer. Death is a strong presence in this installment as we learn that while most supernaturals live incredibly long lives, they are not immortal.
“It’s alright, Mercy. You didn’t think I was going to die of old age, did you?”
As Mercy fights her way to Adam and the pack, unusual and unwanted allies come to her aid, leaving Mercy wondering what the payment will be. Rules are rewritten when the enemy and their end game behind the kidnapping is revealed.
“Coyote never loses [...] Because I change the rules of the games my enemies play."
Briggs’s Mercy Thompson series is great for readers who love an action-packed, suspenseful urban fantasy paired with a realistic relationship between two incredibly charismatic and intriguing protagonists. I also recommend you read her spin-off series, Alpha Omega, which focuses on the Marrok and his pack.