Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Have Mercy

Meet Mercy:
 

The Mercy Thompson Series, Patricia Briggs
  • Mercy is smart.  She has guts.  She is loyal.  She is interesting.  And when she comments on something, it adds something to the story.
  • I have read seven of these puppies.  They were all good, and some were great.
  • The love story is fantastic.  I cared.  I cried.  I clapped.
  • The dialogue in these books is strong, but even stronger, is how vivid the non-verbal communication comes across.
  • The cover art for these can be misleading.  One publishing house has released what looks like erotica...when oddly, I found Briggs' treatment of sensuality pretty darn tasteful (there's nothing hot and heavy until Book 5, and then it is short).  Further, Mercy seems to live in T-shirts and jeans...not ah...underwear and jeans (as almost all of the cover art would suggest is her preference).  In fact, it is quite clear she is very opposed to attracting attention and inciting lust from those ruled by their base instincts around her.  The picture above is the tamest of the erotic set.  I know, right?  Check out those boobs.  Yeow!
  • I like that each book is a complete story (there are no cliff-hangers), and yet previously introduced details can become wonderfully relevant in subsequent novels.
  • The language is also cleaner than that of many other YA novels (including City of Bones).  There is virtually no serious cusswords for six of the books, with two disappointing interruptions to this trend in Book 7.  
  • Overall, I was surprised by how invested I became in these characters.  My love for them grew.  I looked forward to reading more about them.  And like I say, some of the books were truly great.  (But I would rank Daughter of Smoke and Bone as creamiest of my modest urban fantasy sampling -- read it, if you haven't!)  
  • It was a relief to read about an older heroine for a spell (Mercy is 30-something).  15-year-old passion and arguments wear on me, after a while (fantasy or otherwise).
 Thank you, Yvonne, for a great recommendation.

Book by book:

Book 1: Moon Called
Entertaining.  Great in the middle.  Lacking a little in climactic punch to match the lead-up, but overall, good.

Book 2: Blood Bound
I liked it even more than Book 1.  Great villain, tight story arc.

[I read Requiem here, and craved more Mercy as a result...and dove back into...]

Book 3: Iron Kissed
I appreciate the confidence of Briggs' writing all the more after what seemed rushed from Oliver.    I was lured by a love triangle -- of all things -- and thrilled to see relationships evolve.  I cried in this one.  I cried good.  Also, the dialogue felt authentic and intelligent -- which I'm learning is very important to me.  Of the first seven, I enjoyed this the most.

Book 4: Bone CrossedThis book was the most visceral and squeam-inducing of the bunch, but I was pretty committed to the characters at this point.  And the book was gripping.  I jumped when my phone vibrated while I was reading one night.

Book 5: Silver Borne
Not only was the dialogue and body language well-described, thoughts read as very real, lending complexity and depth to scenes.  There is a huge amount of character development in this one, and relationships develop and progress instead of simply changing (I find authors are often tempted to do the whole "on again off again," or throw in conflict or temptation to spice things up...instead of exploring a relationship through strengthening it).  In Book 5 the love triangle is well and truly a thing of the past, and Mercy's choice provides an avenue for Briggs to explore how their loyalty and connection is deeper and enriched for having made a choice.  There is still also affection and respect between the three triangle points, and a dynamic to tease out, but the tension of the shape is gone, and it is great.  Oh, they come so far.  As I noted earlier, this is the book where sensuality reaches its...apex (ahem).  I remember finding "the" solution of this book a little disappointing, but I was glad it was at least from left field.

Book 6: River Marked This focuses on one key relationship.  It is different from what has come before, but still very good.

Book 7: Frost Burned
An inevitable conflict arises in this book, and then this leads to another that is pretty epic.  As noted earlier, this book is the first to include some really foul language (two incidents of the worst).

The Hachette covers (a little less raunch):

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