Cannonball Read IV: Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
Due to lowered cognitive capacity as a result of a move, I decided to reread my favorite genre novels, starting with Moon Called, the first in the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. I've mentioned this series a lot in my reviews because it's currently my favorite (I'm *dying* for a new book to come out!) Sometimes it's a disappointment, revisiting a series you liked first time around (*cough* Sookie Stackhouse *cough*) but I'm delighted to say that was not the case with this series which I still love and will *definitely* reread at a later date (probably whenever the new book comes out). What I love about this series is that even though there's this romance element, it's not swoony. I mean, I'm not a teenaged girl anymore. That Twilight crap doesn't work on me anymore. (And maybe it never did.) I am ... just a little bit more of a realistic when it comes to romance. I *want* to read romances (because there's no romance in my life right now and I need to get that experience somewhere) but I want romance that I can actually relate to and believe in. And the Mercy Thompson series is delightfully down to earth. It's a grown up romance. Yes, OF COURSE, there are yummy bits. And multiple choice romantic options. But it's all handled in a sort of pragmatic way (to mirror Mercy's grown-up mechanic character) and I LOVE it. (In contrast, Briggs' other werewolf series is about a younger, more innocent character and I find it intolerably saccharin.)
In terms of the actual plot, Mercy is a 30-ish mechanic who has a particular and unique skill - she can shape shift into a coyote. She's part Indian but her father died before she was born so her human mother gave her to a werewolf pack to be raised once it became clear that Mercy had this unique ability. As a result, Mercy is very comfortable with werewolves, but has never been accepted by the insular pack (just as real coyotes are treated in a decidedly unfriendly manner by wolves). Anyway, a young werewolf shows up at Mercy's front door with trouble on his heels and she is forced back into the world of pack politics that she'd turned her back on.
I absolutely love the various threads Patricia Briggs weaves through this series. The fact that Mercy is part Indian and shifts into a coyote is definitely dealt with (that's for you fans of Native American mythology). The setting (the Tri-Cities area of Washington state) is familiar to me as a resident of Idaho and Washington and I think Briggs does a good job of portraying the geography and culture of that area. (And what a random place to choose to write about - it seems like every other urban fantasy series is set in Louisiana or Atlanta.) Briggs has clearly done her research into wolves and coyotes and that scientific knowledge informs the series, grounding the werewolf mythology in a way that so few of the werewolf books I've read have seemed to do. All of the research that Briggs has clearly done informs and deepens her books while still never weighing down the storyline in any way. She is no Michael Crichton - she will not spend pages and pages on wolf morphology. She simply uses the facts here and there to add color and depth and as an aspiring novelist I am in awe of her elegance and minimalism in her descriptive passages. (This review is ten times clunkier than her prose.)
I really loved this series and highly recommend it.
(Note: Any revenue generated from purchases made through the amazon.com affiliate links in this review will be donated in entirety to the American Cancer Society.)