Thursday, March 07, 2013

Review: Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs

Finally a review!! Yay! I'm trying, I'm trying, but it's hard LOL. I think one reason is because I'm so behind in my reviews ^_^; Seriously, I might have to skip a month or something. Even thinking about the monthly recaps is daunting.

I wasn't sure what to review and I decided to go with Frost Burned by Ms Briggs. This is my latest read and figured it should come easily as my feelings for it was pretty clear :) And I was right. So enjoy!!

Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs
published by Berkley (Ace) in March 2013
Mercy Thompson’s life has undergone a seismic change. Becoming the mate of Adam Hauptman—the charismatic Alpha of the local werewolf pack—has made her a stepmother to his daughter Jesse, a relationship that brings moments of blissful normalcy to Mercy’s life. But on the edges of humanity, what passes for a minor mishap on an ordinary day can turn into so much more…

After an accident in bumper-to-bumper traffic, Mercy and Jesse can’t reach Adam—or anyone else in the pack for that matter. They’ve all been abducted.

Through their mating bond, all Mercy knows is that Adam is angry and in pain. With the werewolves fighting a political battle to gain acceptance from the public, Mercy fears Adam’s disappearance may be related—and that he and the pack are in serious danger. Outclassed and on her own, Mercy may be forced to seek assistance from any ally she can get, no matter how unlikely.
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Mercedes Thompson, Book #7

The Story: Frost Burned takes place after the events of Fair Game during which the fae have revealed themselves and declared to be a separate and sovereign nation. After the declaration, all the fae headed to the reservations and with the aid of magic, these reservations have disappeared. And with the werewolves who had made their come out a few years ago, let just say things have been tense in the general population. However, it's not a good reason not to celebrate Thanksgiving... except Thanksgiving dinner is interrupted by the Feds who shows up to capture the Pack using a silver poison that makes werewolves sick.

Because Mercy was out with her stepdaughter, Jesse, shopping on Black Friday, the two escaped the capture. Now, Mercy has to figure out how to protect Jesse and Gabriel, her part-time employee and Jesse's almost boyfriend, how to save Adam and the pack and also check up on Kyle, one of the werewolf's lover who wasn't at dinner, but was also kidnapped. Through her mate bond with Adam, Mercy finds out that Adam is alive, angry and in pain. She also learns that the kidnappers intend to have Adam kill US Senator Campbell, one of the most vocal anti-fae, anti-werewolf politician in Congress, by holding the pack hostage. If the assassination succeeds, the fragile truce will break and spiral down to chaos.

Practically alone, Mercy needs allies. There is Stefan, her quasi-estranged vampire friend; Asil the Moor, a maniacal werewolf sent by Bran; and Tad, her mentor's half-fae, half-human son. And as the rescue mission progresses, Mercy finds out there was a lot more secrets behind the kidnapping than killing a senator...

My Opinion: Wow, two years since the last Mercy Thompson book! I want to say it's hard to believe, but unfortunately, it's not ^_^; It hits you repetitively during the story when there are references to previous events and characters and you're trying to remember them and the timeline. Really, I'm not too sure that alternating between the Mercy Thompson and Alpha & Omega series is a good idea because it really means a long time go by between the books... then again, it's not my decision, so I'll just have to suffer the wait :P Personally, I've always claimed to prefer the Alpha & Omega series over the Mercy Thompson series and that's still true, but at the end of the day, all I want is my fix of Ms Briggs' werewolves because Ms Briggs is really one of the best author at writing them and she proves it again in Frost Burned :)

Overall, I think that Frost Burned was a very solid book with a good plot and some interesting twists. The revelation behind the capture of the Pack really took me by surprise and was the complete opposite of what I was expecting, so kudos to Ms Briggs. I think very little people will figure it out - unless they spoil themselves, LOL. Also what I liked is that there was some foreshadowing, the right questions were raised, but without giving it away... so it didn't completely come out of the blue :) There are still a few loose ends such as the information man, but I figure those will be addressed in future books. Seriously, a very satisfying plot and well executed :)

As usual, Ms Briggs excels at writing her werewolf characters. I really enjoy seeing the hierarchy and the pack dynamics in her books. You really feel the constraints of it, the whole dominance at play and the links that tie them... and I love it. It enriches Ms Briggs' world building and confer a unique feel to her series, sets her werewolves apart and above. Also, one of the reasons Ms Briggs is the best is the consistency of the details and she never forgets to write about it. For example, in Frost Burned, Asil comes to lend a hand to Mercy. He's a very dominant wolf and a stranger... When he spent time with Ben and Adam, both times, they had to establish who was the most dominant. Every time Asil was in the presence of Adam, he tried to position himself as far as possible from Adam, etc. If you compare Ms Briggs' werewolves and Ms Singh's wolf changelings, you can feel the difference. Ms Singh talks about dominant and submissive in her series, but the concept is still a bit abstract in comparison to Ms Briggs and the pack is a lot more relax. And that is one of the reasons I enjoy Ms Briggs books so much and Frost Burned was no exception.

As for characters, if you're up to date with the series, you're all familiar with them. What was great in Frost Burned is that for once, we got Adam's POV! It was third person and I liked that, because it really differentiated from Mercy's POV. It was also refreshing and for the sake of the story, necessary. Still very clever from Ms Briggs. I also got to see my favorite secondary characters such as Ben, Kyle and Stefan. I just enjoy their personalities and their interactions with Mercy. I have to say, I'm still not so happy how Mercy keeps doubting Stefan. I understand from her thoughts why, but I don't see it. Perhaps because I like Stefan so much ^_^; It reminds me a bit of Kate's dislike for Saiman in the Kate Daniels series by Ms Andrews. I mean, no matter what Stefan and Saiman have done, at the end of the day, they always help out and are there...Anyway. I really enjoyed the crossover presence of Asil! It was interesting to see how other characters who've only known  his reputation and the rumors of his madness perceived him. Another character that I enjoyed and which surprised me was Tad. I vaguely remember him from previous book, but in this one, his presence was more noticeable. He's like Mercy's little brother and it was interesting to see the fae situation from his POV.

As much as I enjoyed Frost Burned though, there were a few things that kept it from being a wowzer. First and foremost for me was the lack of intensity in the book. This is kind of surprising given Frost Burned had a very good plot with a lot of action integrated. I don't know, I simply wasn't sitting at the edge of my seat because the book wasn't thrilling enough. I think a lot of it has to do with how some events unfolded. For example, how Adam and the pack got away from their captors. It was surprising - yes, but a bit anti-climatic. Also, at the end, when the true reasons behind the conspiracy were revealed, it was also anti-climatic because Mercy was told. Okay, she figures it out, but only when all the clues were right there in her face... Throughout the book, Mercy was always running around and she didn't have a choice, there were things to be accomplished. However, that meant she didn't really have time to investigate and before she figured things out, there was always something happened. Personally, given the storyline, I feel that Frost Burned was a bit short. I think Ms Briggs could have make it more complex and therefore, more intense. My last complaint is minor in comparison and is about the scene when Mercy is enthralled by a fae artifact. I simply question the real necessity of that part because I didn't see the impact it had on the storyline.

My Grade: B+. The wait was worth it because Ms Briggs came up with another great installment. Fans of the series will not be disappointed in my opinion :)