5 stars, Book Review, Darynda Jones, fae, fantasy, Geroge Newbern, goblins, Lorelei King, Patricia Briggs, romance, series, trolls, urban fantasy, vampires, werewolves, witches, zombies
The World of Mercy Thompson
Mercedes is a Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. Her Native American heritage has gifted her with the ability to take the form of a coyote at will. She’s surrounded by far more powerful supernatural beings, including werewolves, vampires and an assortment of fae.Series summary from Patricia Briggs’ website.
Before November of 2021, the only Patricia Briggs works I had read were a book called Dragon Bones and the awesome Alpha and Omega series, which is set in the same world as Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series. With the Alpha and Omega series, there were enough references to Mercy Thompson to make me curious. So last fall, I finally started the series.
The entire series was available through my library’s digital collection. I was able to listen to most of the series on audiobook, with just two exceptions.
The audiobooks are read by Lorelei King, who is one of the most talented narrators out there. I had previously listed to her read Darynda Jones’ Charley Davidson series, which made things a bit confusing at first. I had so associated the voice of Lorelei King with Charley Davidson, that at first, I experienced some small difficulty getting my mind to realize that Mercy Thompson was the main character.
By the end of the first book, I had made the shift in my mind and enjoyed the story enough to go for book 2 and 3. Now, here is where I knew I was hooked on the series.
I often find that authors adopt a formula to build each story in a series, leading to predictability and, at the very least, a need to take a break between books. With Mercy Thompson, each book was entirely unique, and the story kept evolving. I could discern no obvious pattern or formula. This kept me fully engaged with the developing story. So, I kept forging onward with the series, pausing only when I had to wait for the book to become available from the library.
So, between November and last week, I listened to or read the first 12 books of the Mercy Thomson series plus one additional anthology set in the same world. The entire series is quality storytelling. Let me tell you why.
Note: The summary I shared at the beginning of this post is very simplistic, but contains no spoilers. What I share with you now may contain spoilers, but will, hopefully, not prevent you from enjoying the books anyway.
- Mercy, as a coyote shifter, was raised, in part, by Bran Cornick, the Marrock – ruler of all the North American werewolves, who I first met in the Alpha and Omega series. Bran is scary powerful, but for the good. That Mercy often got the upper hand with Bran, is delightful, but also shows that their relationship was special and a good thing for both of them.
- In addition to humans, so many of the typical urban fantasy paranormal types are present throughout the series. Werewolves, vampires, sorcerers, fae, witches (white, grey and black), trolls, goblins, guayota (volcano god), zombies, ghosts, Coyote Trickster (and other Native American beings), Baba Yaga, the Golem of Prague, and walkers (which is what Mercy is). Also, possible: combinations of any of the above.
- The Columbia Basin werewolf pack is one big happy family. Okay, not always happy. But big and very much like family. The Alpha, Adam, rules absolutely and the pack has a hierarchical structure. Mercy’s role in the pack evolves over the series, but since she becomes the mate of the Alpha, she will be redefining the status quo.
- The werewolves and other ‘monsters’ must interact with humans. In a world where the werewolves have come out, Adam has become something of a celebrity. His daughter Jessie, and Mercy’s employee Gabriel and one or two other humans help the wolves understand what it means to be human.
- Mercy Thompson is a kind, compassionate woman that can get along with just about everyone she meets, as long as they don’t want to immediately kill her. This is true whether they are fated to be friends, foes, or something inbetween. (Okay, there is one exception, but husband’s ex-wives are fair game for a bit of spite.) Since the stories are from Mercy’s viewpoint, this means the reader is able to connect with just about every character and care about them as much as Mery does. This trait also puts her (and the pack) smack dab in the middle of trouble because Mercy needs to help.
- Mercy’s infatuation with VW’s.
- Mercy sees dead people.
- Pack bonds/mate bonds.
- A trip to Europe.
- A fae artifact that, despite being returned the fae, always ends up near Mercy when she needs it. Called a walking stick, but rarely acts like one.
- Bran, Charles and Samuel (from the Alpha and Omega series).
- Zee (Siebold Adelbertsmiter) and Tad – Fae father and half-fae son. Zee is the original owner of Mercy’s garage. Both father and son continue to a) help Mercy in the garage and b) come to Mercy’s aid when she if fighting monsters.
- Coyote Trickster – who is Mercy’s father, but not Mercy’s father.
- Stephan – the vampire who loves Mercy.
- Adam – who gets his own point of view in Silence Fallen – perhaps my favorite of the series. (In the audiobook, George Newbern narrates those chapters.) Adam is handsome, powerful, protective, and loving. Also, Adam does not like to use foul language, which is adorable refreshing.
I really enjoyed ‘binge’ reading/listening to the first 12 books – plus Shifting Shadows, a collection short stories from the Mercyverse. Shifting Shadows stories takes place throughout the Mercy Thompson timeline. Read after Night Broken to avoid spoilers. There are also a couple of Mercy-related graphic novels that I will have to track down. I’ll have to wait for any future books, but I will be watching for them. If you are an urban fantasy reader who has not been introduced to Mercy Thompson, I recommend you check this series out.
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