[ Book Review ] Girl Meets Wolf, Girl Kicks Butt

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

(first in the Mercy Thompson series)

The book started off with the kind of strength I’m not used to seeing in the Paranormal Rom– err, I mean, in the Urban Fantasy genre. Mercedes (Mercy) Thompson is a young woman making her living as a mechanic, when a homeless kid asks her for a job. The catch?–he’s a half-starved werewolf.

From the very beginning, the novel sets out a fantastic tableau of potential. Mercy is a coyote walker (like werewolf, but without any of the downsides), courtesy of the Native American blood of a father she never met. She is also the girl who dodges her foster mother’s invitations to come home for Thanksgiving; Mercy doesn’t fit into that normal world, no matter how much she used to wish she did. The world she does fit in is that of the werewolves and it keeps encroaching on Mercy’s life in its patriarchal and uncompromising way. She left her pack to get away from that–that, and the stark truth behind a teenage romance with a werewolf.

As the story moves forward, it’s clear Briggs isn’t afraid of kicking my assumptions in the shins. Characters I liked were killed, situations I did not foresee happened, and all at a quick and engaging pace. My euphoria at having found a solid character lasted me through the first half of the book and well into the second before a niggling suspicious set in, “I feel like I’ve done this before.”

With each heroine-driven paranormal adventure I read, I become more disenchanted with the lovelorn males that swarm the main character. By the end of Moon Called, there are two powerful werewolves jockeying for Mercy’s attention, one potential vampire love interest waiting in the wings for a sequel, and a concerned human cop stopping by to check on her. The only reason I’m not counting her fey friend and mentor in the bunch is because Mercy has yet to describe him as breathtakingly handsome.

And really, as with all the other paranormal books I’ve read, I’ll give that our heroine is special.

But she’s not that special.

Still, this may be paranoia and a hefty dose of Anita/Morgan/Rachel/Sookie exhaustion speaking. This is just the first of a series–and I’m a sucker for romance, anyway.

What ended up doing the story in was the absurdity of the plot resolution. With so much build up, I was expecting…more.

Everything finally came to a head in the Q&A session with the hypnotized villain. But when the real story came out, I remained nonplussed. Really, Senor Baddie? That was your reason for all this villainy?

Right off the top of my head, I thought of a half a dozen ways to have gotten to his villainous goal without resorting to torture, murder, and kidnapping.  Adam, the local pack alpha, might have called the plot brilliant, but I’d use words closer to “incomprehensible”, “illogical” and “one of the fastest ways to produce plot holes.”

It all boiled down to a very mixed reaction–and the undeniable fact that the moment I finished, I went online and put a hold on the second Mercy Thompson book. I can’t wait.

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6 thoughts on “[ Book Review ] Girl Meets Wolf, Girl Kicks Butt

  1. Interesting review! I thought you were going to say you loved the book and then you didn’t quite…I like that honesty, very refreshing! Still, the book deserved 3 canaries since you felt like reading the next one in the series. Goes to show the writer did do something right!

  2. Darnit, now I’m trying to decide if I should get it 😉 A friend highly recommended it, but to be honest I’m more interested in females kicking butt than…romance. *Coughs*

    • If you’re willing to read a book with…I was going to say “slow pacing”, but it’s not slow pacing at all. It’s just–well, the style is more lit than most urban fantasy, though no, no, it’s not litera–

      Okay, I’ll stop digging myself a hole and just recommend some books. Try Sunshine by Robin McKinley for a solid vampire story sans the melodramatic romance element. Sunshine doesn’t kick butt as often, but when she does, it’s absolutely worth it!

      Then I remember enjoying the Diana Tregarde series–one of the forerunners of urban fantasy in its modern form (first book published in 1989). I don’t think there was much romance there, but def. a lot of detective work and kicking butt.

  3. I suspect this might have to be a book that needs to be read for one’s own conclusions to be drawn. I’m a girl who digs a bit of romance, so I’d be willing to give this one a go. It’s amazing what you can forgive if the characters take you on a good enough emotional jaunt.

    • I really do think I’m just suffering paranormal action romance burnout. I just finished a fantasy by Briggs with a male protagonist (and liked it!) and I’m hoping to get my hands on Masques next (Briggs fantasy with a female protagonist for fairness); I plan on posting an article comparing genres and love lives.

      I’d recommend giving both Dragon Bones (the fantasy I just finished) and Moon Called a try, really. They’re fun, quick reads–as long as I don’t obsess over the details!

  4. Pingback: [ Series Review ] Patricia Briggs and the Flying Critters « thecanaryreview

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