Blood Bound: Briggs has created a detailed, layered world

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fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book review Patricia Briggs Mercedes Thompson Moon Called, Blood Bound, Iron KissedBlood Bound by Patricia Briggs

Owing a favor to a vampire is pretty much always going to be asking for trouble. Stefan, a vampire who’s been a help and even a friend to Mercy Thompson, calls her at three a.m. to go witness his confrontation with a new vampire in town. But Stefan gives Mercy his word of honor that she won’t be hurt, and asks her to shapeshift into her coyote form to accompany him. The new vampire, Cory Littleton, has a rather mundane name, but his nature is anything commonplace: there is a demon inside of Littleton, and it’s not entirely clear whether the vampire is controlling the demon or is possessed by him. In any case, their meeting turns out to be fraught with danger and death, since Littleton possesses demonic-enhanced sorcerous powers that make him extremely dangerous to everyone in town, including vampires and werewolves as well as humans. As Mercy, Stefan and other vampires and werewolves combine to try to track down and kill or neutralize Littleton, it becomes apparent that there are some characters with a hidden agenda whose goals may not align with Mercy’s and humanity’s best interests.

Blood Bound, the second book in the MERCY THOMPSON series, is a strong urban fantasy and mystery that builds on the world Patricia Briggs created in Moon Called. It’s bursting at the seams with vampires and werewolves, with a few fae characters for additional flavor, as well as Mercy herself, who is a skinwalker and can turn into a coyote at will. Somehow Mercy, a hard-working, down-to-earth automobile mechanic, once again ends up in the middle of serious trouble, as the vampires and werewolves try to sort out the mystery involving Littleton, who’s leaving a trail of bodies behind him with a complete disregard for vampire rules.

The one failure for me in Blood Bound is its subplot involving the overused love triangle trope, as Mercy continues to waffle between two werewolves who are each determined to make her their mate. Worse, there are hints that this might be turning into what might be best described as a three-pronged love trident, since now there are actually three different paranormal males interested in Mercy.

Vampire society and culture take center stage in Blood Bound, as Mercy visits not only the main vampire compound but some of their personal dwellings, at great risk to herself. Briggs has created a detailed, layered world, with some intriguing twists on vampire characteristics and the standard mythology. The capabilities and shortcomings of Mercy and other supernatural beings, initially simply interesting facts, resurface later in the story and play a role in the development of the plot in a highly satisfying way. The plot and the underlying mystery in Blood Bound are a clear step above that in the first volume, Moon Called.

MERCY THOMPSON Series

MERCY THOMPSON Series

~Tadiana Jones


fantasy book review Patricia Briggs Mercedes Thompson Moon Called, Blood Bound, Iron KissedIn Blood Bound, Mercy tries to pay off her debt to the vampires by helping them hunt a demon-possessed vampire.

My quick synopsis fails to do justice to the fast-paced, complex plotting in each book (and thought-out imagining of the structures and tendencies of
werewolf, vampire, and fae societies). Each is told from Mercy’s smart, no-nonsense perspective, and it’s to the author’s credit that, even though I usually like first-person narrators with above-average eloquence, I never tired of her voice. True, I have my quibbles (e.g. the first-person viewpoint is limited in its ability to present information, which is tough in novels that rely heavily on mystery; and also, there are a few long passages of deduction or conversation that seemed to go a bit too perfectly to get to the right outcome) — but overall, the writing is solid and keeps things moving. It’s also mostly free of sex and profanity (though with regard to the latter, there are a few too many instances of someone starting to curse and stopping short).

Although these books lack that superior element of style, enlightenment, or brilliant plotting that would warrant a fifth star, they’re solid modern fantasy/action/mystery entertainment.

~Rob Rhodes

Published in 2007. “Kick-ass were-coyote auto mechanic Mercedes Thompson” (Publishers Weekly) has leapt to the forefront of today’s urban fantasy heroes, thanks to bestselling author Patricia Briggs. Now, Mercy finds herself in the middle of a bloodbath—with only one way out… Mercy has friends in low places—and in dark ones. And now she owes one of them a favor. Since she can shapeshift at will, she agrees to act as some extra muscle when her vampire friend Stefan goes to deliver a message to another of his kind. But this new vampire is hardly ordinary—and neither is the demon inside of him. When the undead and the werewolves sent to find him don’t return, the local vampire queen turns to Mercy for help. A coyote is no match for a demon, but Mercy is determined to get her friends back—including the two werewolves circling around her heart.

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TADIANA JONES, on our staff since July 2015, is an intellectual property lawyer with a BA in English. She inherited her love of classic and hard SF from her father and her love of fantasy and fairy tales from her mother. She lives with her husband and four children in a small town near the mountains in Utah. Tadiana juggles her career, her family, and her love for reading, travel and art, only occasionally dropping balls. She likes complex and layered stories and characters with hidden depths. Favorite authors include Lois McMaster Bujold, Brandon Sanderson, Robin McKinley, Connie Willis, Isaac Asimov, Larry Niven, Megan Whalen Turner, Patricia McKillip, Mary Stewart, Ilona Andrews, and Susanna Clarke.

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ROB RHODES was graduated from The University of the South and The Tulane University School of Law and currently works as a government attorney. He has published several short stories and is a co-author of the essay “Sword and Sorcery Fiction,” published in Books and Beyond: The Greenwood Encyclopedia of New American Reading. In 2008, Rob was named a Finalist in The L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest. Rob retired from FanLit in September 2010 after more than 3 years at FanLit. He still reviews books and conducts interviews for us occasionally. You can read his latest news at Rob’s blog.

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3 comments

  1. I gave the first few books of this series a try ages ago, but the cover art just didn’t appeal to me. In fact, that’s really all I remember about the series, but obviously they have more to offer than I gave them credit for. I’m glad you’re enjoying them!

  2. Oh, the cover art is terrible! I was laughing with my 17 year old daughter about it a couple of weeks ago. It looks so cheap and steamy, and is rather misleading. I don’t even want to ask my husband if he’s noticed the covers and what he thinks I’m reading. :D

    The series is growing on me – so far I’ve liked each book better than the one before, and I’m working on book #4 now.

  3. Definitely a case of “don’t judge a book by its cover,” haha. :)

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