Frost Burned: Mercy’s growing up

Patricia Briggs Mercedes Thompson 5. Silver Borne 6. River Marked 7. Frost BurnedFrost Burned by Patricia BriggsFrost Burned by Patricia Briggs 

Slipping back into the world of Mercy Thompson comes so easily for me. I don’t struggle with a huge readjustment because everything feels so familiar and Patricia Briggs has such an easy style to enjoy. Tragically, this at times means that I am not as engrossed in the story as I expect to be, because it feels much like more of the same thing over again.

Frost Burned is the seventh novel in the MERCY THOMPSON series. Mercy has gone through a lot in past editions, so when she is caught up in a relatively mundane car accident I almost had to chuckle because it’s just her luck. The fact that she and her stepdaughter are not seriously injured in the crash is about par for the course, but when she starts to make calls back to her husband and his werewolf pack, things begin to fall apart.

In many ways, the continued evolution of this series, reflected in the attempted integration of werewolves and Fae beings mirrors some of the issues that we see in society today. I don’t know if this is deliberate or not, but it makes the fictional situations seem a little more real. There are real political and social ramifications when normal humans are harmed, and the heavy-handed, bureaucratic government agency known as Cantrip is a realistic, plausible reaction. Spinning off rogue agents from such an organization, and seeing different factions of the supernatural community try to covertly manipulate the government harm another faction — it all makes sense. That’s part of what has made this series so interesting.

After realizing that her husband and his pack have been kidnapped, Mercy, ever the creative Coyote, begins the hunt for the who, the what and the how to be able to save her mate. I like the fact that Mercy remains vulnerable, can’t just automatically win in a fight, and often has to call for help to cope with the issues she is facing. Sometimes the help she gets brings with it another set of problems, such as asking a Fae for help and having to take on a debt, or getting help from an unknown werewolf whose skills and motivations she can’t trust. Let’s face it: the help we want isn’t always what we expected.

Frost Burned was much like River Marked for me in that it was a good story, but some of the tension and typical romantic angst that is a core element of urban fantasy is missing. It feels like we are in the happily-ever-after phase for Mercy and her husband — well, as happily ever after as a shape-shifter can be. I don’t mind, and the new characters and increasing details about characters like Zee really add a lot of life into a series that could otherwise have become stale. Mercy’s growing up and the series is maturing into something different than a lot of urban fantasy… it’s not a romance novel anymore.

Mercy Thompson returns in the seventh novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling series. Mercy Thompson’s life has undergone a seismic change. Becoming the mate of Adam Hauptman—the charismatic Alpha of the local werewolf pack — has made her a stepmother to his daughter Jesse, a relationship that brings moments of blissful normalcy to Mercy’s life. But on the edges of humanity, what passes for a minor mishap on an ordinary day can turn into so much more… After an accident in bumper-to-bumper traffic, Mercy and Jesse can’t reach Adam — or anyone else in the pack for that matter. They’ve all been abducted. Through their mating bond, all Mercy knows is that Adam is angry and in pain. With the werewolves fighting a political battle to gain acceptance from the public, Mercy fears Adam’s disappearance may be related — and that he and the pack are in serious danger. Outclassed and on her own, Mercy may be forced to seek assistance from any ally she can get, no matter how unlikely.

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JOHN HULET is a member of the Utah Army National Guard. John’s experiences have often left a great void that has been filled by countless hours spent between the pages of a book lost in the words and images of the authors he admires. During a 12 month tour of Iraq, he spent well over $1000 on books and found sanity in the process. John lives in Utah and works slavishly to prepare soldiers to serve their country with the honor and distinction that Sturm Brightblade or Arithon s’Ffalenn would be proud of.

View all posts by John Hulet

2 comments

  1. April /

    I prefer the ‘happily ever after’ phase – it gets rid of all the annoying love triangles, badly written sex scenes, inappropriate-to-the-story romantic moments, ridiculously overblown misapprehensions…and gets down to brass tacks.

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