Sunday, April 29, 2007

Blood Bound - Patricia Briggs



Blood Bound
Mercy Thompson, Book 2
Patricia Briggs
Ace

Urban Fantasy/Paranormal

Note: This is a sequel to MOON CALLED. If you haven’t read the first book, this review may contain some spoilers.

It’s several months after the events of MOON CALLED, and the public at large now knows about the existence of werewolves. Years ago, the lesser fae (gremlins, brownies, etc) revealed themselves, and after an initial period of interest, there was a backlash that included riots. This time around, Bran, the leader of all werewolves is taking a different route. Initially, the public found out about the “hero” wolves: those in the military, or the police. Portraying werewolves, who are bigger, stronger, and far more deadly then the average wolf, as self-sacrificing protectors is an attempt to put positive spin on what might otherwise cause public panic.

Mercy Thompson, a mechanic and “walker” (she can turn into a coyote at will) was raised by a pack of werewolves, and still has friends there. One of them, Samuel, son of Bran, is actually living with her at the moment, but as a purely platonic roommate. Nevertheless, he’s protective. And he’s less than pleased when Stefan, a vampire, asks Mercy to accompany him to a meeting in her coyote form, to serve as an impartial witness. It seems that a vampire from another area is in town without permission of the locals, and Stefan is tasked with discussing this situation.

The meeting nearly kills them both. The visiting vampire, Littleton, is also a sorcerer, a magic user possessed by a demon, who can control vampires with his magic, and even alter their memories. Mercy was intended to witness the meeting and serve as a sort of secondary memory. A good thing, since Stefan leaves the place with unconscious Mercy-the-coyote in tow, convinced he’s killed everyone in the motel. This kind of bloodbath looks bad for all the fae creatures. And, while werewolves are public knowledge with their positive spin, vampires are still very much under wraps. The two groups are usually enemies, but must work together, and with Mercy, in order to combat the vampire-sorcerer who is a threat to everyone, fae and non-fae alike.

The second novel in this original series doesn’t waste time getting started. The background, for new readers, is sketched in briefly as necessary, but never takes over the narrative. Readers of the first book will be interested to know that, in this installment, Mercy finds out more about her past, what she is, and what she can do. The political interplay is very well done; if the fae came out to the public today, it might look very much like what is presented here. My only quibble is the potential love triangle subplot. Please, Ms. Briggs, this kind of thing is what ruined the Anita Blake series for a lot of readers. Mercy is a wonderful, strong, smart, independent woman. I’d hate to see that watered down, based on which guy she’s with at any given time.

That aside, this book is a bit more tightly plotted than the first, and the world building, very solid from the beginning, becomes more detailed and intricate here, providing new and interesting information about Mercy, the werewolves, and the vampires. It’s like a narrative spotlight, slowly widening to show a bit more of your surroundings. There’s clearly much more to be illuminated, and I’m looking forward to a lot more of Mercy Thompson and her world.

Rating: 8 ½
ISBN# 978-0-441-01473-6 (paperback)
February 2007

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