Patricia Briggs is an author who can draw me back to the paranormal subgenres in a way most others can’t. It has been years since I went near a Mercy Thompson book, and I remembered just enough for this first instalment in the series for it to feel both like an old friend and a new adventure.
The Mercy series is urban fantasy, with a relationship that develops in the background as the series goes on. It’s told in the first person, which I don’t usually love in adult fiction, but really enjoy here.
Mercy is a coyote shapeshifter who was raised by werewolves, but is never quite included in their society. She lives a working-class existence as a mechanic (but running her own garage), and she lives in a trailer that overlooks a mansion. The mansion is owned by the city’s Alpha werewolf, Adam Hauptman.
What’s so solid about this series is that Briggs knows her world inside-out. It’s fantastical, but also believable, and all of her characters are very distinctive. There are a few sad parts in this book, but it’s not a downer.
One thing urban fantasy has going for it over paranormal romance is how many risks an author can take without upsetting their readership.
We meet quite a lot of characters in quick succession in this book, and there is plenty of world building to be done, so in some ways Moon Called suffers from “first book syndrome”. However, Briggs has a very engaging writing style, and is really great at creating fascinating situations in the complex supernatural world most (but not all) of the characters inhabit – in an otherwise typical suburban American existence.
My only issue with this series (and Briggs’ writing in general) is that it – like the work of so many others writing with paranormal themes – has some really misogynistic themes. It’s a curse of all paranormal subgenres: authors seem to insist on making their heroines “special” by making the other women awful. All the women in this series – bar Adam’s teenaged daughter – hate Mercy. It’s too much.
Urban fantasy is not usually my thing, but Patricia Briggs made it my thing years ago. I’m happy to say I enjoy the books just as much now.
Mercedes Thompson, aka Mercy, is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy’s next-door neighbour is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she’s fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy’s connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water…