Wednesday, July 16, 2008

TBR Day: Moon Called and Blood Bound

I see a pattern in my reading when it comes to series. Either I jump on the wagon from the start and then spread my love (or sometimes dislike) or I play catch up and run after the wagon. With the Mercy Thompson series, it's the latter that happened. When Moon Called came out, it got good reviews so I bought the book... and it sat in my TBR pile. Then, Blood Bound came out and I bought it too.. and guess what? Yep, it joined Moon Called in my TBR pile and I have no idea why... because I've only seen positive comments for this series. Still, it took my good buddy Ames to convince me to read them :) and so, I'm glad to be able to review them for this month's TBR Day.


Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
published by Ace in January 2006



Werewolves can be dangerous if you get in their way, but they’ll leave you alone if you are careful. They are very good at hiding their natures from the human population, but I’m not human. I know them when I meet them, and they know me, too.

Mercy Thompson’s sexy next-door neighbor is a werewolf.

She’s tinkering with a VW bus at her mechanic shop that happens to belong to a vampire.

But then, Mercy Thompson is not exactly normal herself…and her connection to the world of things that go bump in the night is about to get her into a whole lot of trouble.

Genre: urban fantasy
Series: Mercy Thompson, book #1

The Story: Mercedes Thompson is a not a werewolf... She's a skinwalker and can change into a coyote. However, having been raised in a pack of werewolves, she has a pretty good understanding of them. A Volkswagen mechanic, she lives in Tri-Cities where non-humans seem to have gathered: her neighbor, Adam, is a werewolf and probably the second most powerful alpha, her mentor, Zee, is a fae and her good friend Stefan, vampire.

Then one day, a new werewolf walks in her garage shop asking for a job. Next thing Mercy knows, he's being attacked and Mercy discovers he was changed against his will. Bringing the young werewolf to Adam, Mercy hopes all problems will be resolved... Of course, that is until Adam's home is attacked leaving him severely injured and his daughter is kidnapped.

My Opinion: All right, so what took me so long to read this book?!? I really enjoyed Moon Called. I like Mercy: she's a strong woman and very independent. Having grown up with werewolves, she knows how to deal with men and people who dislike her. I also think she has an interesting background, since she has a human family and I wish to see her interacting with them in the future.

However, what I like best is the world that Ms Briggs has created as well as the werewolf culture. Moon Called is taking place in a time of transition... Paranormal creatures have started to show themselves to humans, starting with the lesser fae. Werewolves are debating whether or not they should reveal themselves. I think it adds an edge to the storyline. As for the werewolves, as I said, I like what Ms Briggs has done with them. None of the werewolves are born werewolves... they all have to go through the change, survive it and adapt to their new lifestyle. Some do it better than others. There's also the fact that female werewolves can't carry babies to term and even when werewolves mate with female humans, there are high risks of miscarriage. It adds lots of drama :P

The most interesting aspect of the werewolves in the Mercy Thompson series is the hierarchy/dominance. I think it's the first time I come across a series where there is so much emphasis on it and where it plays such a central role. Yes, we all know about alpha and submissive and it's been mentioned in other werewolves books... but in most books, dominance is only mentioned briefly, establishing who is THE alpha and then forgetten. There is no way you can forget how important dominance is in the Mercy Thompson series. I find that all behaviors are truly governed by it, as it should be. This in my opinion is what makes the series stands out so much.

Being the first book in a series, Moon Called can't escape the numerous characters introduction and information dumping. However, I think it was well done, well incorporated into the storyline. It probably helps that Mercy is not a werewolf, but has knowledge about them. Having been raised with them, but then kicked out, there are many moments where she reflects on the Pack.

Finally, the storyline :) I truly enjoyed it. I like how one event happened after the other. Yes, there was a lot of action, but it wasn't always fast-paced and that gave the author opportunities to impart information with the readers. I thought the intrigue was very well built. My only disappointment is how everything was resolved at the end. First, it was happened too quickly, I felt it was a bit too rushed. Second, I didn't like how Mercy was the one who figured out everything. She is well surrounded with Adam and Sam... but no, it was all Mercy. This gave the book a bit of a Mary Sue feeling. Also, although there was a lot of background information on Mercy, there are still some things I don't understand. For example, why is the Marrock Pack so wary of her? Why does the Marrock mate hates her so much? I hope that these questions will be answered in future books.

My Grade: B+. This book has gotten a lot of positive reviews and comments ever since it came out and it totally deserved it all :)


***


Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs
published by Ace in January 2007

Under the rule of science, there are no witch burnings allowed, no water trials or public lynchings. In return, the average law-abiding, solid citizen has little to worry about from the things that go bump in the night. Sometimes I wish I was an average citizen...

Mechanic Mercy Thompson has friends in low places-and in dark ones. And now she owes one of them a favor. Since she can shapeshift at will, she agrees to act as some extra muscle when her vampire friend Stefan goes to deliver a message to another of his kind. But this new vampire is hardly ordinary-and neither is the demon inside him...
Genre: urban fantasy
Series: Mercy Thompson, book #2

The Story: In Moon Called, Stefan, Mercy's vampire friend, helped her getting information. Now she owns him a favor and Stefan is here to collect. It should have been a harmless errand where Stefan pays a visit to a stranger vampire with Mercy accompanying him in her coyote shape... However, it ends up in a blood bath with Stefan having no recollection of what happened except waking up with blood all over and Mercy fainting... Later, they discover that some demon-possessed wizard is the cause of their problem... However, how to stop such a creature?

My Opinion: Okay, hard to believe, but I enjoyed this book even more than the previous one!! Part of it is because of Stefan. I really enjoyed his character, he's so different than any other vampires I've ever come across and provided some good laughs and moments LOL:)

I think that Ms Briggs did really good with Blood Bound. The plot was tighter, probably because Ms Briggs didn't have to spend too much time setting the world and storyline, the intrigue more interesting and easier to follow and the action, more fast-paced. Dominance continues to play a major role here, especially with Warren, Mercy's good gay werewolf friend, injured and other werewolves trying to get his position and Adam's temporary disappearance. I also loved seeing Warren and his boyfriend make up :)

In this book, we also see the love triangle unfolds where Mercy is stuck in the middle of two werewolves: Adam, her new love interest, and Sammuel, her teenage crush. It doesn't take up much of the book though, but it gives depth to Mercy in my opinion. I know that Mercy makes a decision in Iron Kissed, the third book, but even in Blood Bound, you know who Mercy has in her heart and who she will choose.

My only complaint for Blood Bound is that there was an even more Mary Sue-ish feeling to the book than in Moon Called. Mercy is once again the person who saves the day... while all the males are otherwise occupied ^_^; However, what annoyed me most is why did Stefan had to love Mercy as well? Wasn't Sam and Adam, the two most alpha werewolves in the vicinity, enough? Why did Stefan has to have romantic feelings for her as well? I thought it would have been better if they were just friends... or perhaps, I'm pissed at Mercy's treatment of Stefan at the end.

My Opinion: B+/A-. I wouldn't have hesitate to give the A- if it wasn't for the ending between Stefan and Mercy :(

ps - anyone knows why Mercy's tattoos are different in each cover? Is it significant?

14 comments:

  1. I am so digging this series too.

    (And no, I still haven't bought Iron Kissed yet. I looked for it at Wal-Mart and K-Mart but no dice, even thought I'm sure I've seen it at either one of them. Soooo I'll have to make the long haul in to B&N or Borders!)

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  2. I'm not sure what's up with the tattoos on the covers. Only one is mentioned in the narrative, so I'm guessing its just artistic license by the cover artist?

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  3. Yay! I'm glad you're finally on the Mercy bandwagon ;-)

    I'll be interested to see what you make of the third one, Iron Kissed.

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  4. So glad you liked the books. I've only read the first one so far. I'll have to get book two soon.

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  5. I think the tattoos are supposed to reflect the contents. So the first has the wolves, the second, vampire-heavy book has bat-tattoos, the book with the fae is more in that vein.

    I love this series, and am so looking forward to her Alpha & Omega series starting next month.

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  6. Zeek - It might have been at Wal-Mart, but it's been a while since it was released, so perhaps it was removed? Hope you find it without any difficulty!

    JMC - I know that only the paw tattoo is mentioned and that one is constant... However, Meljean's theory sounds very good!!

    Li - Okay, why is it a bandwagon and not just a wagon? LOL :) My review of Iron Kissed will come soon :)

    Brie - I think you'll enjoy it Brie :) It's quite a good series :)

    Meljean - You're sooo smart!! LOL! That's probably why!!

    Technically, Cry Wolf comes out on July 29 :) So two little weeks... sure, there's only 2 or 3 days difference between the 29th and the 1st, but next month sounds so far away!! :)

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  7. I love this series, and Iron Kissed is the best of them. You need to find it!

    I got my TBR Day post up just a few minutes ago.

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  8. Great review and you did two books! I really like the Mercy Thompson series and I've preordered Cry Wolf so I'll get it right away!

    I also reviewed a Patricia Briggs book for my TBR review, but one of her older ones from the 90's!

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  9. I've heard alot about this series and can't wait to check them out.

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  10. Okay I skimmed because I have BOTH OF THESE in my tbr. So looks like I better jump on the band wagon. But which first? Kelley Armstrong or Patricia Briggs?

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  11. Lisa - Hi there :D I found and read Iron Kissed already. I haven't reviewed it in this post, because it was published this year, so it doesn't fit the challenge... and to tell you the truth, it was my least favorite thing ^_^;

    Jan - I've debated between pre-ordering Cry Wolf or not? In the end, I chose not to... i'd rather show up at the bookstore as soon as the book shows up in the computer system :)

    I read your review already!! It was a great one :)

    Kimmy - You should :) I think you'll enjoy them a lot :)

    Rosie - LOL, that's a hard question!! I say, read both, but alternate between the books LOL :) I would start with Kelley Armstrong though :)

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  12. I have this series on my wishlist but every time I go to buy it something usually ends up turning me off about the books. Hmmm, I might just have to suck it up and try them though cause they do sound very good! (I think maybe its the daughter thing. Not a fan of kids in books for some reason. :P )

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  13. This is definitely my favourite urban fantasy series out there at the moment. I hope you like Iron Kissed as much as the first two and then the spin off book Cry Wolf is out very soon. No idea about the tattoos on the cover, probably just artistic license.

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  14. Samantha - I say you give them a try :) They are quite good!! The daughter is not annoying at all, so no worries :) Just go ahead!

    Rhinoa - Yeah, it is pretty good and there's everything in this series :) Definitively can't wait for Cry Wolf :)

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