Early Review: River Marked by Patricia Brigs

February 21, 2011 Review 16

*This title will be released on March 1, 2011*

Title: River Marked
Author: Patricia Briggs
Series: Mercy Thompson #6
Cover Art: Dan Dos Santos
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Excerpt: Yes
Source: Publisher
Reviewed by: Abigail

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Books; 1st edition (March 1, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 0441019730
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441019731
The Book Depository

Sexual Content:
Kissing. References to sex. References to homosexuality. References to rape.

My Rating:
Excellent – Loved it! Buy it now & pre-order the sequel.


Car mechanic Mercy Thompson has always known there was something different about her, and not just the way she can make a VW engine sit up and beg. Mercy is a shapeshifter, a talent she inherited from her long-gone father. She’s never known any others of her kind. Until now.

An evil is stirring in the depths of the Columbia River-one that her father’s people may know something about. And to have any hope of surviving, Mercy and her mate, the Alpha werewolf Adam, will need their help…


Why does it always feel like Christmas come early when a new Mercy Thompson book comes out?  Oh right, because it’s Mercy Thompson. Mercy has changed drastically over the course of this series going from someone who was wary, tough,  and very independent to a much softer, more playful, and embracing woman.  It’s taken me a little while to adjust to this new Mercy, but I think RIVER MARKED is probably my favorite Mercy book since IRON KISSED.  Mercy is a lot more emotional this time, and not without reason, as she has to deal with revelations about her father, her heritage, and what the future of her relationship with her mate will be like.

The majority of RIVER MARKED takes place outside of the Tri-Cities, and as much as I like all the wolves, vamps, fey, and human characters we’ve met since MOON CALLED, it was nice to pare down to just Mercy and Adam.  We do meet some rather significant new characters who provide real answers and explanations about Mercy and Walkers in general.  I know Briggs has said that she was nervous about delving into Mercy’s Native American origins, but she’ needn’t have been.  It never felt like information overload.  Most of the explanations—apart from one about Joe Old Coyote—felt logical and interesting.

And after missing Stefan in BONE CROSSED, I was very pleased with the scenes he got in RIVER MARKED (including my favorite description of him to date: “He was like Superman, but with fangs and oddly impaired morals”).  I’m guessing here, but I’d be surprised if Mercy #7 didn’t deal heavily with Stefan and the Seethe.  We’ll have to wait until 2012 to see if I’m right.

The Mercy Thompson series is one of the best in the urban fantasy genre for good reason.  The mythology of the series is rich and complex, borrowing just enough fact to feel real, and mixing just enough fantasy to feel magical.  Mercy’s world is about to get much bigger in RIVER MARKED when she learns, in a lot of ways, that she is not nearly as alone in this world as she thought. Overall, Mercy 2.0 may be more domesticated than the, pardon the pun, lone wolf mechanic we met in MOON CALLED, but her transformation into the woman we see now has been believable and hard won.

Mercy is happy now in a way I don’t think she imagined possible.  And I’m happy for her. Of course Mercy’s happiness is about as far from boring as it gets.  In RIVER MARKED she battles river monsters, Otterkin, and Native American gods armed only with her wit and walking stick.   And she does it all with the same cool and tenacious attitude that endeared her to so many of us six books ago, and hopefully for many more books to come.

Previous Books in Series
Also Reviewed By:
  1. Moon Called
  2. Blood Bound
  3. Iron Kissed
  4. Bone Crossed
  5. Silver Borne

16 Responses to “Early Review: River Marked by Patricia Brigs”

  1. Tina

    I got lucky. My library got this book in last week. I really luv this series. I was so excited to see Stefan again too. I missed the rest of the pack, but really liked all the new characters.

  2. Jessica

    You have no idea how jealous I am that you got a Review copy of River Marked. Lol. I have literally been counting down the days until this book is released…I feel like I am being tortured.

    And after this review, I REALLY can't wait to get my hands on it.

  3. Abigail [All Things Urban Fantasy]

    Miranda – It was worth the wait. Mercy always is.

    Natasha – It's good too 🙂 So nice fat surprises too.

    Tina – Wow, really? That's awesome. Don't you think we were getting set up for a vamp heavy book #7?

    Susanne – I know just how you feel. Hang in there, only a few more days…:)

    Jessa – I can't believe it either! And it looks so much better in person. The dust jacket image online does not do Dan's work justice.

  4. Sally Sapphire

    Congrats, hon! I have been honoured with the Seven Facts Award, and would dearly love to pass it along to you (courtesy of Bibrary Bookslut).

    If you're not into accepting awards, no worries . . . please take this as an open note of admiration for the work you do. 🙂

  5. Edna

    Thanks for the review! I'm even more excited to get my hands on a copy! I hope there's some good Mercy and Ben scenes. Not to say the other relationships aren't good but I have such a soft spot for Ben. 🙂

  6. Kayla + Cyna

    I think I'm one of the minority who strongly dislike the woman Mercy's been turned in to. We did a really long review series discussing the ways it felt like Patricia Briggs kicked us progressively harder in the balls, but I'm curious to see the expansion of the world, which has to be the best part of the books by far. It's kind of a shame it primarily features Mercy and Unabashed-Borderline-Abusive-Dickhead :/

  7. Abigail [All Things Urban Fantasy]

    Kayla + Cyna – I wouldn't have chosen for Mercy to evolve this way as a character either. I preferred the loner/distrusting vibe from the earlier books, but I can still appreciate this series as a whole. Never been a huge fan of Adam either, but he doesn't appear to be leaving anytime soon. Oh well.

  8. Renee

    I really was looking forward to reading this book because I love the Mercy Thompson books but it was absolutely painful to read. The plot was so boring that I actually struggled to finish it. Also, it read like a terrible book report on Native American mysticism. I think she was trying to make up for the fact that for several books she has a character that was indigenous in name only. This would have been much better if it had been included as character build up in all of the other series rather than a simple spewing of everything that she knew.

    My other issue is that because the plot was so very thin, it gave the reader more time to realize what a controlling ass that Adam is. How is this relationship to be held up at the epitome of romantic love when he spends all of his time controlling her. If they are both alphas there is no justifiable reason for her to have to be this subservient to him at all. He wouldn't even let her got to Walmart by herself and pitch a fit when she was called to as Mercy Thompson instead of Mercy Hauptman. I use to think that Edward from Twilight was the worst example of stalking, manipulative and controlling behavior symbolizes a man's love for a woman but I am afraid after reading this book, Adam Hauptman has him beat by a mile.