At some point in every urban fantasy series there comes a moment when the books start to become repetitive. There are only so many ways to combine all that action and adventure and make it flow nicely. So it comes down to the characters and the relationships to keep the story interesting and make it un-put-downable.
Mercy Thompson series, though, has a unique way of doing that. By constantly changing the main party accompanying the heroine on her adventures. There has been Mercy and Zee, Mercy and Sam, Mercy and Stefan… But this one? This one is all Mercy and Adam. And I loved every minute of it.
The setting, too, is different in River Marked: a beautiful place in nature, surrounded by forest and water and romance… and infested with the vicious deadly fae. Because why would Mercy’s honeymoon be normal and mundane? Puh-lease, it’s Mercy we’re talking about. Good thing Adam knew what he was getting into.
It isn’t just the setting that makes River Marked so different from the previous books, either. It’s the fact that the wolves, and the vampires, and even the fae take a step back and give the centre stage to Native American stories. At long last, the secrets of Mercy’s abilities are coming to light. And with them, Coyote. Also known as: yet another character in Mercy’s life who is full of mystery and knowledge and whom she really, really wants to punch. Or, for short, an awesome character.
In addition to Coyote, River Marker introduces a multitude of new characters, who probably will not play a big part, if any, in the future books but were fun enough at the time. Even if I did miss the pack, dearly. The reason why I didn’t mind the lack of the usual bunch of crazy people doing their crazy magic too much is Mercy and Adam. Before, in previous books, they haven’t truly been alone. They did have their moments, of course, but they never really had the peace and the solitude. There was always Jessie, the pack, people trying to kill one of them… Here, though, they finally get time for just themselves. I personally found that to be a nice change of pace, well deserved by both characters. (Though, I am not above admitting that the reason for my enjoyment of this slow pace may be due to my reading the series in almost one go. Had I had to wait for this book a year… Things might have gone very differently. As it is, though… Nice, nice, very nice.)
The one thing that I did not love all that much was the actual plot. Or, more precisely, the villain. I feel like for someone so powerful, the creature sure didn’t feel so. Perhaps it is because there is so much other non-plot stuff going on, perhaps it is the characters who distract, or maybe it is the pacing but… The villain felt more like an annoying minor character whom you don’t care about but can’t get rid of. Because it just keeps coming back. Not exactly the most terrifying thing, is it.
All in all, River Marked is yet another Mercy Thompson book that is deliciously awesome and dearly loved, for all sorts of reasons. But maybe not as much as the rest of the series…
River Marked by Patricia Briggs
Mercedes Thompson #6
Published by Ace on March 3rd 2011
Fae, Shifters, Urban Fantasy, Vampires
More info on Goodreads,
Coyote shifter Mercy Thompson knows that life with her mate, the Alpha werewolf Adam, will never be boring, but even their wedding doesn't go as planned. Nevertheless, a ten-day honeymoon camping on the banks of the Columbia River, alone, just the two of them, should make up for it. But the trip - and the pimped-out trailer they're using - is courtesy of the fae. And nothing from the fae comes without strings attached...
Being a different breed of shapeshifter - a walker - Mercy can see ghosts, but the spirit of her long-gone father has never visited her. Until now. An evil is stirring in the depths of the Columbia River - and innocent people are dying. As other walkers make their presence know to Mercy, she must reconnect with her heritage to exorcise the world of the legend known as the river devil...