Review of Blood Bound – Book 2 of the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs

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As you know, I am easily swayed by a cool cover – and when I spotted Blood Bound on the shelves, it was a no-brainer that it would be coming home with me…

bloodboundMercy Thompson; woken at 3am by a vampire. Stefan also happens to be a friend, and he needs her help. He has to deliver a message to a fellow undead and needs a witness that won’t be noticed – and Mercy’s shapeshifting abilities make her the perfect candidate. But the assignment turns into a bloodbath. And while violence breaks out in both the human and supernatural worlds, Mercy is struggling to keep below the radar of a lethal entity.

I haven’t read the first book in this entertaining series, Moon Called – but I’ll be tracking it down as I have something of a soft spot for well written, enjoyable urban fantasy romps. I very much enjoy Mercy’s ‘difference’ – as a skinwalker who can shapeshift into a coyote, she is clearly physically weaker than her neighbouring werewolves. But she has other advantages – like having a certain resistance to magic, seeing ghosts, and not being forced to shift during the full moon. Not that those traits seem to be doing her much good against this new threat…

Mercy works as a mechanic. It is refreshing to have a female protagonist doing such a hands-on manual job. Running a garage also allows her to encounter a stream of characters and I liked her firm opinions on various cars, which is entirely in keeping with her character. She is a rounded, complex protagonist with plenty of quirks – and her coyote persona is well characterised by her constant concern over ranking, which also complicates her love life.

Have to say, this was the part of the story that was least successful for me. When she became conflicted between two men, I did find myself sighing, rather. The love triangle bit does seem to have been done to death in this particular sub-genre. But I am prepared to cut Briggs some slack, as this book was first published in 2007 – a year before before the Peeta versus Gale choice confronting Katniss first hits the shelves in The Hunger Games. However, the main plot driving the story – that of trying to discover and rein in the powerful adversary afflicting the Tri-Cities – is well paced, with several strong twists and plenty of action. Mercy is placed squarely in the middle of the story without becoming a Mary Sue – and I really enjoyed the skilful handling of the narrative tension, with a satisfying, surprising conclusion that I didn’t see coming.

So I’ll be looking out for more of Briggs writing, and if you also enjoy well written, tightly constructed urban fantasy supernatural high jinks with an entertaining protagonist, give this book a go.
8/10

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