01/03/2012. Contributed by Sarah Bruch
pub: Orbit. 308 page paperback. Price: GBP 6.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84149-683-2) .
check out websites: www.orbitbooks.net and www.patriciabriggs.com
‘Moon Called’ is the first in a growing series of books by Patricia Briggs, including six written novels and various comic adaptations. Briggs is currently stating there will be nine novels written in this ‘Mercy Thompson’ series eventually. It’s nice to know this series won’t just run and run as some do, losing sight of the plot along the way.
Mercedes (Mercy) Thompson is a different character to those normally found being the lead female in an urban fantasy. Mercy is a walker, this is a Native American shape-shifter, whose shape of choice is a coyote. Mercy is also a car mechanic, having bought her car lot from another of the unusual fae characters in this book, Zee, who happens to be a gremlin. No, not the type portrayed in that classic 80s movie, this is a more traditional type who has an affinity to metal. I have to say I loved the fact that Briggs brought in so many unusual characters to her urban fantasy rather than sticking to the more usual vampires and werewolves.
In this instalment, Mercy finds herself in the middle of a number of wars going to on between different werewolves and the vampires. Firstly, a lone werewolf named Mac turns up on her doorstep asking for work, Mercy takes pity on him and employs him temporarily until she can let the local werewolf pack know of his presence. Unfortunately, it seems this lone werewolf has brought along some trouble, which then starts to affect the local werewolf pack, along with the local vampire seethe. Mercy has to try to figure out why everything is suddenly happening while trying to decide who to trust and who to leave out of the circle.
During this book Briggs gives us a lot of information about Mercy and about how she has set up the various groups in her novels. We go back into Mercy’s past by going to her childhood home; we also discover her reasons for leaving this home. There’s a lot of description of how the werewolf packs work. For example, there are small packs throughout the world, but within America these small packs are ruled over by the Marrok. This is the name for the individual alpha of the Marrok and also the entire pack that are Alpha over all the American packs. The vampires also seem to form packs, but these are called seethe and mainly consist of vampires who owe their lives to a single vampire who then rules the seethe. These situations are not too different to other urban fantasy set-ups.
I did enjoy this book however, I have to say that on occasion I did become bored, not sure why, maybe I just didn’t get on with Briggs writing style. Maybe there were too many characters introduced in this first book over a really short space of time. I did find myself getting confused and then just switching off. I also found the eventual ending to be a little confusing. Maybe again this is because too much was introduced and not explained well enough for me to understand the reasoning behind what was happening.
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