Okay, so this is a series review as opposed to a single book review, but we'll let the post title slide.
There are, so far, six books in the Mercy Thompson Series by Patricia Briggs. They are, in reading order:
There are, apparently, also some short stories scattered in there to be found in anthologies, but I've only read the novels and, thus, can't speak to the short stories.
Often, when I read series, they start to peter out for me around book three or four. Why? Well, they start to feel the same or things seem really contrived or the the romance ('cause there's always some sort of romance) is either way too drawn out or ridiculously back and forth or the books are really one book split into several to make a series with no clear endings for the individual books or things just get stupid.
(As a bit of a digression here - one series that I thought did really well in this regard, that is, not falling into any of those traps, was Harry Potter. My theory on this is that Rowling had a plan from the beginning with certain things that were supposed to happen each year to make the overarching story line work. She fleshed out each year as she wrote it, but it wasn't off the cuff. Each book had a proper ending. Each book progressed. It worked. At least for me, it worked. And, I suppose for those legions of Harry followers out there it worked, too.)
When there were only two Mercy Thompson books, my mom suggested them to me. Of course, werewolves and vampires are/were big then and I started them with a wee bit of trepidation, but Mom had recommended them and we usually agree of good books, so I picked them up and I enjoyed them.
Then I forgot about them until a few weeks ago when I saw River Marked at the library in the Lucky Day area.
(Now, that's causing me to side track again. Our library system has recently instituted a Lucky Day program where by books that are in high demand, i.e. have long wait lists, have a couple set aside that can be checked out for only two weeks, rather than the usual three, and can't be put on hold. I enjoy browsing the Lucky Day section, but don't always find that what interests everyone also interests me. Anyway.)
I realized that I'd started the series some time ago, but had obviously missed quite a few. I decided to go back and read them, not even really being sure I'd make it all the way up to River Marked, given how series tend to go with me.
I surprised myself by racing through each book as it came in at the library for me. I would be exited to get the notice that it was in (which happened quickly each time, as I guess everyone else has already read the earlier books), get to the library as soon as I could and read it, even once putting aside another book I'd started.
(Of course, it turned out that the other book was one I ended up not reading because it bored me to tears. Who would have thought that a book about a guy breaking the world record for circumnavigating the world by bike would be so boring? And yet...)
So, all this is to say that these are good books, even as the series goes on. I'm impressed.
I like reading from Mercy's point of view. Mercedes is a mechanic by trade, working mostly on VWs, but a historian by education and interest. She does karate and is a very independent minded woman. She can also turn into a Coyote at will and happens to live next to the alpha of the local werewolf pack.
There are things in Mercy's world that make it just a little different from ours (or, at least, that we know of and all that). In Mercy's world, the fae have shown themselves to be real. Werewolves and vampires also exist but most people don't know it yet. Mercy, though, has acquaintances in all these arenas.
While, up until the start of the series, she's managed to keep her head down and not get truly involved, all that goes down the drain with the arrival at her garage of a scruffy young man in serious need of a meal and offering to work in trade. This young man also happens to be a werewolf who, she knows, isn't part of the local pack. One things leads to another and pretty soon we've got a whole series.
The books progress in a way that makes sense to me, rather than feeling contrived. Mercy changes and develops, as do other characters in the books. The romance, although a little drawn out in my opinion, does progress and, once it's really established, doesn't waver in that whole back and forth way that really annoys me. I enjoy that the books are set in Oregon/Washington and that, in River Marked, the setting is mostly in an area where we've camped and I've seen the things that set the book up, which is really fun.
I'm not sure where the series is going next, but I'm hoping Patricia is able to keep it going in a way that works for me. Yeah, I'm selfish like that. So far, though, she's done a good job and I recommend this series to those who like strong women, mystery and a bit (or more) of the supernatural. Check them out!