I went on a Briggs Binge after reading Wolf Cry and downloaded Moon Called by Patricia Briggs and read by Lorelei King from my library. In Briggs’ alternate universe Vampires, Werewolves, and all manner of Fae exist. In her universe Werewolves are ranked by dominance, but a dominant male are not necessarily an alpha of a pack. Submissives also play a role, they are the ones with no expectations of rising in the ranks, and instead rely on the alphas to take care of them. In the Mercy Thompson series, the Fae play a bigger part in the over arching story line and Mercy Thompson owns a garage she bought from her gremlin former boss where she works on German cars. Mercy is a Walker, a trait passed down through her Native American heritage, and she can take the shape of a coyote whenever she wants. She is under the protection of the local werewolf pack.
In Moon Called, Mercy is working in her garage when a young boy shows up obviously in trouble, but not looking for anything other than a job. Oh, and he’s a werewolf. Mercy decides to give him a job and to introduce him to Adam, the local pack’s Alpha. But a larger conspiracy is afoot and Mercy must face her past when she goes back to her home town and asks the Marrock for help. Along the way Mercy also gets the vampires involved, and her friendship with all the supernatural creatures requires a lot of negotiation skills and all her coyote whiles.
I really like Mercy as a female character. She is strong and cunning, both characteristics drawn from her coyote side. What is amazing about Briggs characters is her ability to really play the animal behaviors into the person’s personality. Mercy who is a coyote is really different from Anna who is an Omega werewolf. I also enjoyed all the plots twists. Briggs stories about Mercy are an exciting and dangerous ride. Adam definitely plays the typical alpha male, even though he is not in a relationship with Mercy, but he also has intelligence and thoughtfulness that give nuances the typical alpha character in an UF series.
Lorelei King is my favorite voice over actor/ narrator of books. She can do different voices, she can do accents, and before she reads the name of the character I knew who was talking. She is amazing! Frankly, she’s my hero. Her pacing is excellent and her characterization of the story superb. I was really disappointed when I finished the eaudio books on my library’s site and realized I would actually have to start reading them for myself.
However, as I mentioned before, I have a two issues with both of Briggs’ series overall. The first issue I have is that, while her books have strong female characters, there is a lot of abuse, verbally, emotionally, and sexually that happens to them. What I did like about the Mercy Thompson series verses the Alpha Omega series was that men in this part of the universe also have been abuse. Not that I want to read about people, or werewolves for that matter, being abused; but I felt Briggs used these different types of past issues to give depth to characters and not just because abuse happens to women to make them vulnerable. I still would like to see Briggs characters undergo therapy as part of the recovery process. Just saying.
The other issue I have which is more prevalent in the Mercy Thompson series, were the definite Christian themes. There were some Mercy Thompson books where I was surprised it’s not filed in the Christian Fiction section. Mercy says repeatedly that she believes in God because of all the monsters that she knows. Honestly, I don’t see the causation there. But perhaps that is just me. I also feel that in the Christian culture a lot of abuse is not properly dealt with because people are like, well I believe in God so everything will be OK. Aaaand, you also should get professional help. I guess I wish I had known that was the bent of Briggs’ work because it explains more of the nuances of the tone of her stories, especially how her female characters think. Though this was a slight distraction for me, it did not detract from the overall excellent story telling in this series.
As a Walker, Mercy has the luxury of being able to approach both the werewolves, Fae, and vampires as an outsider, but it is a lonely existence. This all changes when a boy steps into her shop one afternoon and Mercy becomes involved in intrigue and conspiracies. Determined to help if she can, Mercy uses her intelligence and coyote whiles to place the players where she thinks they should be, even if that means dealing with Alpha Adam who sits on a large plot of land in a huge house behind her trailer. She gets back at him through by ruining his view with junky old cars broken into pieces and parts. The Mercy Thompson series is a fun read with characters who bring a lot to the table, exhibiting characteristics of the animals they become, Briggs characters have a lot to offer the UF genre.