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.