Welcome to the first stop on the Mercy Thompson reread blog tour! Starting with Moon Called, the first book in Patricia Briggs’s Mercy Thompson series, we’re going to be rereading the eight books leading up to Fire Touched, which releases March 8, 2016 (p.s. It’s an awesome addition to the series!). If you haven’t already started this series, it’s your lucky day! I’ve got two copies of Moon Called to GIVEAWAY! Woo-hoo!
February 25 MOON CALLED with ME! 🙂
February 26 BLOOD BOUND with The Book Binge
February 29 IRON KISSED with Bea’s Book Nook
March 1 BONE CROSSED with Supernatural Snark
March 2 SILVER BORNE with Vampire Book Club
March 3 RIVER MARKED with Bibliosanctum
March 4 FROST BURNED with Fang-tastic Books
March 7 NIGHT BROKEN with Caffeinated Book Reviewer
Ready? I know I am! And immediately, we dive into Mercy’s world through her first person POV. I just love how, within the two paragraphs, you learn:
Mercedes "Mercy" Thompson is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy's next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she's fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy's connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water...
- There are werewolves in this world and our MC is aware of them
- She views the world first through her nose (if I hadn’t already read the blurb and the book, that would make me suspicious as to her origins)
- She’s a mechanic who owns her own shop
- She’s grumpy when interrupted, though she makes an effort not to scare away the customers
- This story’s going to be awesome
We also quickly learn that Mercy’s world includes not just werewolves but Fae and vampires, as well.
Mercy herself is a walker who turns into a coyote when it suits her. She’s happy and comfortable in her world. She helps out those who need it (like the runaway werewolf kid, Mac, who showed up at her shop door needing food and a job); she’s friendly with some good people (Tony, the human undercover cop). But there’s always a catch. Because you can’t have a story that’s only filled with a happy person doing things that make them happy. Something…someone….has to shake up the little world they’ve build for themselves.
MS. THOMPSON, it said in heavy block letters, PLEASE KEEP YOUR FELINE OFF MY PROPERTY. IF I SEE IT AGAIN, I WILL EAT IT.
Mercy’s shake-up starts with her neighbor, with whom she’s always had some tension. After all, she’s a coyote living in a werewolf’s backyard, in his territory, in the ALPHA’s territory. But, even though she fakes submission so as not to get her ass handed to her, she finds ways to show her defiance, like the jacked-up Bug she’s got rusting in her backyard…within view of Adam’s house. (hehe. That’ll teach the bossyboots!)
Of course, there’s more to the werewolf kid’s story than meets the eye, one that involves drugs that can work on werewolves (which shouldn’t happen), an Alpha selling newly-made werewolves (also a big no-no) and Mercy accidentally killing a moonstruck werewolf (not one of Adam’s) while protecting the kid. All this adds up to big trouble for Mercy. Ruh-roah! (That’s my attempt at a Scooby-Doo noise.)
And now we come to the part of the story that irritates me and continues to irritate me in the series (even though there is some forward progress later in the series…but not enough. Tough to break through hundreds of years of stubbornness and male obstinance):
Women’s liberation hadn’t made much headway in the world of werewolves. A mated female took her pack position from her bate, but unmated females were alway s lover than males unless the male was unusually submissive.
GAH! Even though this galls me, it does make sense in this story because werewolves can be long-lived and the social structure of most human societies has only grown to include women as equals within the last century or so. It then follows that the grizzly old men wouldn’t want the women ranked higher than them in the werewolf food chain. Still. Grr.
Okay, moving on. To Adam, who more than makes up for it, in his Alpha-dominant way. Yum.
Adam Hauptman stood in the open doorway, stillness cloaking his body and for an instant, I saw him with just my eyes, as a human might. He was worth looking at.
He’s an impressive SOB. And a possessive one, too.
“Mine,” he said.
Adam’s eyes narrowed. “I don’t think so. She is mine.”
It would have been flattering, I thought, except that at least one of them was talking about dinner and I wasn’t certain about the other.
I love how, despite all the teasing and going out of her way to annoy the man, Mercy really doesn’t know what to make of him, except that he makes her nervous and tingly at the same time. So, what does she do? Throws herself into being even more annoying and sarcastic. Now, that’s a girl after my own heart.
There’s plenty of action in this story — Briggs has a deft hand when it comes to writing fight scenes, which come unsurprisingly often in a story filled with aggressive and violent werewolves. One such scene leaves Mac dead (aw) and Adam on the brink of death. Mercy, having saved Adam with two large-caliber bullets in the brain of the attacking werewolf, isn’t sure she can trust his pack, not with him as injured as he is. Plus, his daughter, Jesse, is missing, taken by those who tried to kill Adam. So she panics (just a little bit) and whisks him off to the Marrok, leader of the North American wolves and someone she knows she can trust.
But she hasn’t been back to Montana is quite a long time, not since the Marrok’s son, Samuel, tried to get her to run away and marry him (she was sixteen at the time and he needed someone who could carry his children to term. He did love her. In his own way. Her heart broken, she left.) so there’s a whole lot of history there. Still, it’s the one place she knows Adam will be taken care of, without fear of someone killing him when he’s down just so they can become Alpha.
And she winds up headed back home with a recovering Adam and Samuel, sent along to help find Jesse. (Boy, *that* would be an uncomfortable drive. Your ex-lover and possibly future lover in the same car? Both Alpha werewolves? Oy.)
Rereading this story, it’s interesting to see how everything is laid out from the very beginning, how no one who’s introduced is just a bit player. They’re all part of the bigger story. Mac leads to Adam who leads to Jesse kidnapped to the return home to newly-turned Dr. Winters and his son Gerry to Adam’s own turning and the one Special Forces team member who survived with him…they’re all interconnected. You might read the passage about how Adam got turned into a werewolf and how his fellow soldier, Christiansen, turned also but went lone wolf, rather than join a pack, and think, huh, interesting story. Now we know about lone wolves and Adam’s backstory but just wait because that’s not the end of it because Christiansen was one of the wolves at Adam’s house during the attack. It’s a tricksy bit of writing and very well done, because you don’t really see how everything connects until it does.
But then, of course, there are the vampires. What a bunch of pretentious asshats. Stephan, with his Scooby-Doo van, is the best of them and somewhat of a friend to Mercy (though she really shouldn’t trust him as much as she does). However, they have to go talk to them so they can find out more about the wolves who took Jesse. But they’re not allowed any religious objects. Mercy skates around this with her Lamb of God necklace.
Samuel’s shoulders shook slightly. “I can see it now, Mercy holding a roomful of vampires at bay with her glowing silver sheep.”
Little did he know how portentous those words would be. Once all the players are introduced, that’s when the fun begins and Mercy starts to put together the puzzle pieces. She’s been left behind as the big, strong werewolf men go off to confront the bad guys and she’s not at all happy about it. (Seriously, I’d be as pissed as she is.)
“Patronizing bastard,” I muttered, driving my van through the empty streets of East Kennewick. “I am not pack. He does not have the right to tell me what to do or how to do it. He has no right to yell at me for talking to the vampires. He is not my keeper.”
But being left behind gives her time to think about all that’s gone on and why the other werewolves would kidnap Jesse — and that’s because they don’t want change, they don’t want to come out to the public and they think Adam is Alpha enough to prevent that from happening. Mercy is much smarter and more wily (much like the coyote she turns into) than most give her credit for and, because of that, she gathers the Scooby gang (though some of them came to her. Still, I’m putting her in charge) and rides out to rescue Adam, who got himself captured along with Jesse. When she finds him, he’s in terrible shape because, even though they need him alive for their plan to work, they’ve had to drug him multiple times just to prevent him from killing them all and saving his daughter. It’s times like these that need a little levity.
In the end, we dragged him out of the char and propped his head up against jesse’s thigh. We dribbled the coffee, which was still hot, into his mouth. Neither of us could figure out how to make him swallow, but after a few dribbles, he did it on his own.
After the third swallow, he opened his eyes, and they were night-dark velvet. He reached up and grasped Jesse’s hand where it lay on his shoulder, but his eyes were on me.
“Mercy,” he mumbled. “What the hell did you do to my French Roast?”
Turns out that Mercy was spot-on as to who was causing all the trouble, she wasn’t right about why he was doing so. In the end, it was a son’s love for his father, wanting him to survive even though being a werewolf wasn’t right for him. Kind of sad, actually. The son went about it all wrong, hoping to shock his father into accepting his wolf, rather than fighting against it.
Love how the slow burn between Adam and Mercy heats up…just a little bit. Enough to make both Mercy and me want more. And to punch him in the throat. Or kiss him.
Under the mellowing influence of good food and good music, Adam relaxed, and I discovered that underneath that overbearing, hot-tempered Alpha disguise he usually wore was a charming, overbearing, hot-tempered man. He seemed to enjoy finding out that I was a s stubborn and disrespectful of authority as he’d always suspected.
“So, Bran tells me that he ordered you to keep an eye out for me.”
He stopped laughing and raised both his eyebrows. “Yes. now ask me if I was watching you for Bran.”
It was a trick question. I could see the amusement in his eyes. I hesitated, but decided I wanted to know anyway. “Okay, I’ll bite. Were you watching me for Bran?”
“Honey,” he drawled, pulling on his Southern roots. “When a wolf watches a lamb, he’s not thinking about the lamb’s mommy.”
Hope you enjoyed this little readalong with Mercy and me. On to the next book in the series, Blood Bound! And don’t forget to enter to win a copy of Moon Called — prizing provided by the publisher, Ace (Penguin).
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