From the cover art, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Cookie-cutter romance novel, since there’s a woman showing skin on the cover? Fast-paced action with little character development, since it also looked like a genre cover? More in the style of the Anita Blake series, because this is a series too, and has all manner of werewolves, vampires, and Fae?
The answer turned out to be not really any of the above. In short, Mercy Thompson is kickass, funny, and super compelling.
I laugh out loud pretty often while listening to the audiobooks, and snort in amusement often enough to piss off my roommates or whoever else is in the room wondering what the hell I’m on about.
The best sentence in this book for me was one where Mercy glances at a clock on some appliance in her house, then subtracts or adds an hour because she never bothers to change the clocks at Daylight Savings Time. One sentence—just one!—and I feel like I AM Mercy, or at the very least I’m her bestie and totes understand her through and through.
Briggs has a way of humanizing her characters, despite a lot of them being not-entirely-human. Mercy is a shapeshifter, called a Walker in this mythology. She takes the form of a coyote and employs subtle tricks and cunning to survive in a world that is different and yet so similar to our every-day.
This first novel in the series centers around the werewolves, which we all want to know more about anyway (okay, me. I am the one who wanted to know everything about them right away. Writers who do werewolves well are worth their weight in gold. See Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones for another example of awesome werewolves). There’s some love triangle tension, but since everyone is of-age and can put romance on hold when dealing with kidnappings, fights, or deaths…it adds flavor without being too distracting. It gives you a reason to come back, too, because you want to know what headstrong, stubborn Mercy is going to do. The conflict ties up nicely at the end of the book, but her social life just seems to get more complicated.
I found excuses in my day to put my earbuds in and listen to more of this novel. I stayed up late doing so. I gladly volunteered to do the dishes because it meant I could find out what was happening in the high-tension spots. It’s a quick read, and man is this book fantastic.
Also wonderful to note: being in Mercy’s head is the best place to be. Her underhanded and overt commentary on the sexist behavior or attitudes around her is fantastic. She’s a VW mechanic, very female, very independent. She gets a lot of flak. And she usually lets her mouth say what her mind is thinking, which annoys a lot of people. I love that about her. She’s strong and holds her own with all the major league players. One little coyote, keeping her head up amongst werewolves and vampires and everything that goes bump in the night. I’m reading all the Mercy Thompson series as fast as I can get my hands on them.