Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
There is something so wonderful about Patricia Briggs's writing for this reader. She is able to create a world in which I am completely drawn in, but she writes with such simple elegance. Without a doubt, this is my favorite urban fantasy series so far.
Mercy Thompson is the kind of heroine that earns my devotion. She is so brave, but has the same fears and uncertainties that us readers have. She wants a simple life, even though she's a walker, a coyote shapeshifter, who is up to her neck in werewolf politics, not to mention vampire and fae issues. She has to go to work the next day even after staying up all night, dealing with demon-possessed vampires and the like, knowing that some of her close friends might be dead. I think Ms. Briggs has really tapped into the wellspring of what pulls me in as a reader in this genre. She is able to give me a fantastic world that is imbued with the real life things, and the combination is very satisfying.
Mercy could not be more admirable. Not a perfect person, but who is? Nevertheless, she has qualities that earn my respect. She is strong, and loving, empathetic, and willing to do the dirty jobs. Her courage in a truly harrowing situation spoke to me. She could have just moved on, and took things as they ended, but her conscience told her she had to finish things. Which she did, despite her fear, her guilt about doing something that went against her code, and her disgust at what she had to to. And Mercy is surrounded by men (wolves/vamps) who are used to exerting their dominance, but she navigates her way through this testosterone-laden world without losing her sense of self, or control over her own life.
The men in this series. Oh, the men. Adam is the keeper of my heart. I just love that man. I believe he is the right man for Mercy, hands down. The chemistry between Mercy and Adam is divine. There is a naturalness to their relationship, full of tension, but so organic. I loved all their scenes together, reading the subtext of their complex relationship. How Adam has to suppress his compelling power as the alpha, but his feelings for Mercy make it difficult. How Mercy wants to submit, but doesn't want to, at the same time, out of fear of losing herself and disappearing into the pack hierarchy. So intense! And then there's Samuel. He was Mercy's first boyfriend, the man she almost mated to. He still wants her, even more than ever. But he knows he messed up the first time, and his fight to give Mercy the choice of who she wants, takes its toll on him. And then there's his pain at what he has lost, and fears he will never have again.
The vampires in this series are scary! They are predators, pure and simple. They have powers that make them formidable enemies and uneasy allies. Mercy's 'so-called' friend Stefan has an ambiguosity to him that is inherent because of his being a powerful vampire, but at the same time, having a humaneness that the other vampires lack. He's one of the good ones, but he's still a predator at the end of the day. Mercy knows she's in over her head when she has to deal with the vampires, and particularly a demon-possessed sorcerer vampire. But Mercy has the power to resist the vampires to a degree that the other preternaturals lack, even though her small size and lack of strength as a coyote shifter leaves her at a disadvantage. There are parts in this book where I felt the tension like a knife edge. The evil that these creatures were capable of was always clear. Yet some hid it behind an urbane facade.
But more than anything, I love the wolves. The pack dynamics are utterly fascinating. The basic and primal nature of the wolves always played a factor in how Mercy dealt with Samuel, Adam, Bran (the leader of all the werewolves in North America), Warren (Adam's third, a good friend of Mercy), and some of the other wolves in this book. I felt envy that this was not real. But at the same time, I'm not sure I could handle being in love with a werewolf, and knowing that his control is what keeps him from eating or killing you, if that inner wolf nature takes full control. Not to mention dealing with the dicey pack politics that Mercy gets sucked into, despite her desire to do her own thing.
I'm gushing. I know I am. I can't help it. I love this book, and this series. I think I will have restrain myself from speeding my way through it too fast. I don't think I could handle having to wait a long time for the next books in the series, then!
If you're looking for a really good urban fantasy series with a heroine that you will fall in love with, I recommend this series. If you are into werewolf fiction, you are really missing out if you don't read this one. These werewolves are the best in fiction (in my opinion). Thumbs way up!
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