|Title: River Marked
Author: Patricia Briggs
Series: Mercy Thompson #6
Cover Art: Dan Dos Santos
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Reviewed by: Abigail
Kissing. References to sex. References to homosexuality. References to rape.
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.