Title: Moon Called (Mercy Thompson Book 1)
Author: Patricia Briggs
Published: January 2006
Book 8 in this series just came out earlier this year (2014). I’m always looking for a new series to start, and who doesn’t like binge-reading when you find something worth the effort?
Characterization and badassery
I really like Mercy Thompson. She’s a mechanic, so she doesn’t mind getting dirty and she doesn’t spend much time thinking about how she looks. Everything she cares about is on the inside. Because of that, I find the boobalicious cover incongruous and bothersome. I’d rather have seen her look tougher. Nonetheless, in the book, she’s tough, and that counts more than the cover image.
Mercy has a good sense of humor and a great passive-aggressive method of getting back at her werewolf neighbor. She knows her limits, knows her strengths, and doesn’t apologize for either. She’s not as strong as a wolf but she’s tough as nails and devoted to the people she cares about. I appreciate that she accepts who and what she is, doesn’t piss and moan about the unfairness of the world, and still does her best to help others. That’s pretty badass. If I were in trouble, I’d want Mercy Thompson in my corner. Some of her badassery is spoilerific, so if you want that piece, check out the spoiler section below. Otherwise, just read the book and enjoy it as you go.
Plot and pacing
Patricia Briggs does a good job of establishing Mercy, then gradually filling you in on the worldbuild. This is important because the book doesn’t turn into a lead sinker while you figure out what you’re dealing with. The reading is quick and easy, and the world is clear. This is not an easy task for an author, and it’s so very important to keep me from getting bored, getting frustrated, or otherwise finding a reason to chuck a book and not finish it (DNF). I definitely give Briggs props for doing such a good job with the worldbuild in relation to the pacing
So the pace keeps up with the plot, and it all runs pretty smoothly. That fact lets me excuse the not-completely-convincing explanation of the mystery. I had a little difficulty buying the plot wrap-up and the “villian’s” motivation. But considering how interesting Mercy was, and how well developed the wolves’ culture was, I can give it a pass.
Prose and editing
Well done. No issues.
Mercy’s got a dry sense of humor, and that’s my favorite kind. Briggs keeps the humor minimal but it comes out in the right places.
I’m actually not into werewolves and vampires, and rarely wander into these themes. The fact that Mercy is a different type of shifter was what first made me download the sample of the novel. I’d like to see more books centered on the Native American mythology—I think it’s an untapped market. Briggs kept my attention to developing wolf culture in a way that felt less slavering monster and more animal husbandry. Sometimes approach is everything, and Patricia Briggs did this really well.