Thursday, July 29, 2010

Review: Patricia Briggs, Moon Called (Mercy Thompson, #1)

Publisher: Penguin (Ace Books)
Pub date: January 31, 2006
Page count: 304 pages
Reading level: Young Adult

My rating: 4/5 stars

This book was recommended to me by a fellow Vampire Academy groupie (several of them, actually), so I knew I had to give it a shot. I am so glad I did! What a rare treat to begin a new gripping series when 5 books are already out. I hope I can pace myself so I don't finish all of them in a matter of days and then have that unbearable wait until January for the 6th one.

Anyways. Mercy Thompson is a Walker, a deliciously eerie name for people who can shift into coyote form at will. That's right, coyotes. So random and un-glamorous. I love it. She also runs her own auto-repair shop and restores battered old VW's as a hobby. Mercy is my favorite type of character. She's fiercely independent, sarcastic, loves to push people's buttons, etc., but also has a sweet, vulnerable side.When a young werewolf boy she's just met is suddenly murdered, she arrogantly claims that though it's a bit sad, she's too hardened to feel any strong emotion about it. I was kind of appalled by that...until several pages later we see her weeping for the boy and biting off anyone's head who doesn't speak of him with sufficient respect. She won me over in that moment and her character only continued to develop in positive ways as the novel progressed. She acted in a consistent manner; her character was realistic and interesting...basically she is an ideal (and sadly rare) heroine. Well done, Ms. Briggs!

I also love Adam, the local alpha wolf (I've always had a thing for alpha wolves...mmmm) and love interest for Mercy. Mercy loves pushing Adam's buttons. Because she's not technically in his pack, she doesn't have to obey him, and so she goes out of her way to do things she know will annoy him, just out of principle. That's my kind of girl. A coyote chick who can get under the skin of the almighty alpha wolf. Mmmmmm.

I actually did have a few pet peeves about the book, but my over all feeling of joy while I was reading and after I finished the book was so great that I'm not going to let them seriously affect my rating. Firstly (and this isn't the fault of Patricia Briggs), the jacket. Penguin has a habit, I'm beginning to notice, of designing completely tacky jackets for their UF/PR titles. Moon Called is even worse than usual. The jacket I posted here is actually the cover for the graphic novel, which I have not read, but I thought it was way better than the regular jacket, which shows what looks to be a deeply hungover, half-naked dominatrix who is attempting to swallow her own greasy hair. Who doesn't want to read a book about that?!

Second, I had a hard time, at times, following the plot. I understood the big picture (conspiracy to overthrow Alpha werewolf who is planning to reveal werewolves' existence to the human population) - but the individual strands got to be a bit much. I found myself skimming over some of the complicated caucuses between Mercy, Adam, Sam, & co., when they were throwing out names left and right of potential co-conspirators in this evil scheme. (Although admittedly if I had read over these parts carefully rather than skimming through them I may have gleaned a better understanding of what was going on...hmmm.)

Finally, there was so much tension and chemistry between Adam and Mercy throughout this novel, which I loved. I am totally on Team Adam, by the way (are there teams for these books?). But the final scene between these two just seemed kind of....ehhh. I feel like it came too soon, and it was too formal, given the passions of both characters. there are four more books out, and a fifth on the way, I have no doubt that Ms. Briggs has plenty more obstacles in store for these two. I can't wait to find out what they might be.

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  1. Great review! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. And there are definitely teams and I have always been Team Adam!! Love how Mercy loves to push his buttons. hehe.

  2. Don't worry, you're not alone in the plot/name confusion. It took reading it a second time (my most recent read-through for Silver Borne) to figure out exactly who everyone was and what their motivations were. Another slight irritation was the enormous amount of exposition given following the climax. It's a mystery, but there's absolutely no way of figuring it out before the reveal because...well, no one knows anything! It requires the whole 'villain reveals master plan' at the end for things to begin to make sense. She gets better about that as the series goes on, but she does like to toe the line of completely (and unrealistically) unpredictable.

  3. I think one of my favorite parts about these books is the fact that Mercy enjoys pestering Adam so. *sigh* This series just keeps getting better and I envy you getting to read them all together, at once. Enjoy!