Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Iron Kissed - Patricia Briggs

Iron Kissed
A Mercy Thompson Novel
Patricia Briggs

Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal

Note: This is the third in a series, following MOON CALLED and BLOOD BOUND. If you haven’t read the first two books (and I highly recommend them) this review may contain spoilers.

Mercedes (Mercy) Thompson is a VW mechanic with a complicated past. She’s a walker; meaning that she can change into her coyote form at will. Raised as a sort of stray by a werewolf pack, Mercy has always known about the fae. But most of the world learned about them only a few years ago when they decided to announce themselves to the world. Of course, the fae pretty much invented the art of the spin, so they’ve managed to convince most of the human population that they’re all cute and harmless. The werewolves came out much more recently, and are having a bit of trouble with their spin. Revealing that the movies got it mostly wrong and that many wolves are heroes (cops, soldiers, firefighters) has helped a lot.

Mercy’s mentor, Zee, is some sort of fae, and very old. The truth is that Mercy doesn’t know exactly what he is, but he’s unquestionably her friend. So, when he asks her to accompany him to the local fae reservation, where many of the fae choose to live away from prying human eyes, she agrees. On the rez, the fae police their own, and Mercy is suitably surprised to find that what Zee really wants is for her to use her coyote to check out several homes that were murder scenes. Mercy’s coyote self will be able to identify the scents of the people who have been in each home, and, Zee hopes, identify the murderer.

During her tour of the murder scenes, Mercy accidentally discovers some of the fae’s secrets. Perhaps the real reason the fae agreed to live behind reservation walls in the first place. But that quickly becomes a secondary concern when one of the reservation guards – a human – is found in his home, decapitated. Zee is almost immediately accused and arrested. It’s obvious that no tool was used, so whatever being committed this murder must have been incredibly strong. Sneaking into the guard’s home in hopes of picking up a familiar scent, Mercy discovers that the guard was part of an anti-fae hate group. Now, proving that Zee is innocent of the crime takes precedence over everything else, despite the fact that Zee is apparently quite willing to take the fall.

IRON KISSED is another great installment in an outstanding urban fantasy series. The only quibble I have, and this is purely personal preference, is the amount of time devoted to the Adam-or-Samuel question. When this triangle is resolved, it’s done so quickly that it seems a lot of the build-up could have been cut in favor of more time devoted to the main plot. The characters from previous books are more fully developed here, and there are some great action sequences. The new characters and background issues keep things interesting.

The world building is rock-solid and continues to expand here, this time to include various aspects of the fae. Readers who have been with the series from the start will appreciate the constant growth of the characters and their backgrounds. Readers who start here will have no problems jumping in at this point, and will no doubt want to read the first two installments, as well. Mercy is a great character; someone who has had to make her own way and live on her own terms, but who is willing to put herself on the line for those she loves. Highly recommended.

Rating: 8
January 2008ISBN# 978-0-441-01566-5 (paperback)


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