Friday, 8 March 2013
#CBR5 Book 26. "Frost Burned" by Patricia Briggs
Rating: 4 stars
This is the seventh book in the Mercy Thompson series, and this review will probably contain spoilers for stuff that happened in earlier books. It's also not a good place to start reading the books. You want to start with Moon Called. The spin off series, starting with Cry Wolf, is also very good.
Mercedes "Mercy" Thompson Hauptman is out Black Friday shopping with her stepdaughter Jesse when she suddenly has a panic attack and crashes into the car ahead of her. It turns out that the reason she freaked out is because her husband, the alpha of the local werewolf pack, and all the werewolves of the pack have been subdued and kidnapped by shady, possibly government operatives. Only one of the wolves escaped, and he's in pretty bad shape. Realising that both she and Jesse are prime targets, Mercy has to act quickly to get them to safety and try to figure out how to save her husband and the rest of the pack.
Through the magical mate bond she has with Adam, her husband, she's able to ascertain that all the werewolves have been heavily drugged and are manacled somewhere dark and remote. A man calling himself "Mr. Jones" wants Adam and the werewolves to kill a prominent senator for him, and Mercy knows that if the thugs get their hands on her or Jesse, Adam will do anything to keep them safe, even if it means destroying the already patchy reputation that werewolves have since they became public knowledge a few years back. She does her best to get Jesse to safety, then gathers what few allies she has available to rescue Kyle, boyfriend to one of the pack werewolves.
Who has the resources to hire mercenaries powerful enough to take out an entire werewolf pack? Can Mercy gather enough allies to rescue her pack? Is the abduction in some way connected to the recent power play against local Vampire Queen Marsilia? And what will Marsilia do to Mercy once she sees the state her precious luxury car is in after Mercy is done with it?
While the last two books in the Mercy Thompson series were good, but not great, I was starting to worry that the quality of the books would be dropping. Fair Game, the most recent book in the spin off series (featuring the werewolves of the pack where Mercy was raised) was mostly excellent though, and the dramatic event at the end of that book made me very excited to read more. While the series can be read independently of each other, the books are set in the same world, there are mentions of the same set of characters, and they nicely complement each other. As well as featuring a return of a whole bunch of characters from earlier in this series, Frost Burned had a guest appearance from one of my favourite of the supporting characters in the Alpha and Omega books.
Mercy is a great character, and unlike a lot of paranormal fantasy heroines, she's not crazy powerful. Sure, she can shapeshift into a Coyote, and seems to be able to detect various kinds of magic, but she's not super strong, or fast or has amazing magical powers. She is, however, stubborn as a mule, and fiercely loyal to those she loves. This means that she has gained the trust and affection of a lot of powerful supernatural creatures, which comes in handy when the werewolf pack she is bonded to is taken out of commission.
Like in many of the earlier books, the plot twists and turns, and what may seem like the main part of the story is resolved about halfway through. That doesn't mean that the book ends, and unlike the past two books, that didn't engage me on as many levels as the earliest four in the series, this one had me fully invested and riveted all the way through. I'm glad to see that Patricia Briggs is back on form, and can't wait to read what comes next.