Wednesday, May 25, 2011

River Marked by Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson #6)

Spoilers ALWAYS included

Patty Briggs is one of my favorite writers, and I think Mercy is one of my favorite characters. She is ballsy and doesn't take any prisoners. But she is not super woman, I think one of the hardest scenes I ever read was where Mercy was sexually assaulted in a previous book, her recovery from that incident I think is some of Briggs' best writing.

But on to the actual book, it started out a little slow for me. I think Briggs was trying to establish an intimate relationship with Adam and Mercy, but it honestly just felt to drag on. The last half of the book picks up and became a very enjoyable read. Briggs is one of the fantasy writers that doesn't stay in one or two of the supernatural categories, she is willing to include any and all supernatural elements, and she blends them in such a way that is still cohesive for the reader as well as entertaining. This book is no exception. There is interaction with her vampire friend who needs Mercy's help, the werewolf pack Mercy is no married into, the fae sending Mercy and Adam to the honeymoon spot as well as the Fae villains, as well as the exploration of Mercy's heritage which brought in a whole new supernatural element never explored before.

Mercy has always been an outsider in the books, she is the only one of her kind, or so she thought. As a coyote raised by wolves, I believe that Mercy has always been content with the road her life went down. She has even mentioned in prior books that she has looked in mildly to her heritage but never really took it further. This book changes all of that, her heritage rises up to meet her.

I love the Native American culture, and I love that Briggs did not just make this about one specific tribe, in fact in the end Mercy is the child of all of the tribes because her father is one of the remaining immortal figures Coyote that serve the Great Spirit that all of the Native Americans believe in. The extensive culture that Briggs explores in this book is amazing, and it is great that she was able to not only make a plot that was interesting to the reader but also gives Mercy more depth and a clear and remaining link to her past, that is sure to show up in the following books.

The book was full of small sentimental moments that long time fans of these series would appreciate. I believe my favorite of these moments would be Bran at Mercy's wedding, acting all parts of the father he really feels he is to Mercy. Seeing the bond Mercy had developed with the most powerful werewolf in the world is something so sweet and special. I also love that Mercy is becoming more and more like a mother to Jesse, they have always had a good dynamic together, but it has begun to really evolve into a parent and child dynamic that has been so great to watch evolve.

I also really love the small moments Mercy has with Stefan. Stefan was a main element in the prior book. One of my biggest issues with a lot of series writers is they forget the prior books existed for some characters, the main character always remains changed but the others just seem to be along for the ride. Briggs never does that to her characters. While Stefan was not a main player this time around, she didn't forget him and showed him as the damaged vampire he should be. And true to her form Mercy does everything she can to help him heal. And in the end when Mercy herself is healing from the situation within this book, Stefan comes along to help her as well. The moment between the two of them at the end was sweet not just because of Stefan caring for Mercy when he was still clearly not completely well himself, but also the interaction Coyote and Stefan have together. Mercy is clearly a character that has the ability to unite elements of the supernatural that prefer to remain separate and also typically at odds.

Over all this is a book I loved reading, even though it to in my opinion, took far to long to pick up. The continual mundane activities that Mercy and Adam go through for so much of the beginning of the book reminds me almost of how Harry Potter's last book seemed to go on forever when they were on the run, it was just more and more of the same over and over again for far to many pages. I also think she made the river monster far to large, I think she could have made the monster even slightly smaller and way more believable within that context. But overall I think the book was great, probably my second favorite of her books.

Buy River Marked on Amazon!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris

Welcome to the very first book review of my blog! I might experience some growing pains along the way so bare with me.

All Reviews include SPOILERS!

To begin, I love Charlaine Harris, she is an amazing author. In fact the hardest thing about watching the True Blood series was that I felt they messed with so many of Harris's amazing story lines that I would get angry at the TV. Sure I have my favorites out of her 11 Sookie books, but overall I love her writing.

That being said, Dead Reckoning is not my favorite of the series. It's also not my least favorite, it falls somewhere in the middle for me. Often throughout the book I began to feel like she was putting various characters in the book just to let the reader know what they were up to and didn't actually fit into the story line. One such example of this is the 2 pages that Alcide makes an appearance in. His being at Sookie's house just felt forced and unnecessary. To be quite honest I felt that way about Bill to some extent in this story, although he actually played a role in the development of the story. Alcide and Bill both continue to proposition Sookie, Alcide with sex and Bill with love. But either way I personally found it more annoying that sweet.

Amelia is one character's reemergence that I felt fit. She had to arrive in order to break the blood bond for Sookie and Eric. But at the same token she also provides reasons for Sookie to realize she can't trust people as much as she wants to. Amelia is her best friend and she wants to tell her everything, only she knows now she can't do that, as Amelia has problems telling people she shouldn't about the inner-workings of Sookie's life. Sookie's life throughout this series has become increasingly more secretive, and it's important that it stay that way.

The arrival of Sandra Pelt back into the picture provides more humor than the other sub-plot points as well as keeps the story moving while other elements are developing. It was a nice tie of that story line while also allowing for the dynamic of Sam and his girlfriend with Sookie to develop, and for the reader to get a better feel for Sam's girlfriend.

The fae in this book I enjoyed, it's nice to see Sookie with her family, in spite of the fact they are just as secretive if not more so than the rest of the supernatural community.

One of the biggest problems I had with this book is the build up of the mystery regarding Sookie's inheritance from her great-grandfather Fintan. This is a mystery that progresses throughout the story but rather anti-climatically is not used and left open for the next book. I have no problem with cliff hangers, in fact in my opinion Harris left a fairly decent cliff hanger in regards to Eric, but this was neither cliff hanger nor did anything to progress the story. I am sure, without a doubt, that Harris is going to use this object as a plot point in the next book but I wonder if she could have held of introducing it until the next book as well.

Harris throws a hiccup in Sookie and Eric's relationship, although she does make it clear to the reader that the two of them are in love. Even with their love, their duo looks like it is about to become a triangle with some serious repercussions in the next book. It was good to see the to of them together and to see how they dealt with the conflicts that arose throughout the book.

It was also good to see Sookie go more on the offensive than before. She is the first one to really say outloud, "why haven't we killed this guy yet" She is also instrumental in the planning phases too. Although Sookie has become more involved in the supernatural world, and even more so the violence that it entails, she is still Sookie, and she still doesn't like the violence or want to be around it, the difference is that now she knows it is necessary.

Another minor point I loved in this book is the softer side of Pam. Pam is a character I have always likes, her hard-ass exterior often offers some comic relief, as well as being a fiercely loyal second for Eric. It has been nice to see her friendship evolve with Sookie, but even more so it was great to see her in this book be in love. The toll of her heart break is obvious as the story progresses. It really humanizes Pam more than she has ever been in any of the stories up to this point.

While there are most definitely have my bones to pick about certain elements of this book, I still liked the overall book as a whole. Once again it was a book I read in one sitting over a couple of hours. Overall the books fits in great with the series, progresses the series the perfect amount, and leaves the reader with a curiosity about what is going to happen next for Sookie and Eric with the cliff hanger. In the end I want to know how things with Sookie and Eric work out or if they work out, and I am most interested in getting more of a glimpse into the world of the fae. Harris does a great job of peeling the layers back slowly concerning the world of the fae, giving just enough to keep the reader wanting more but still enough to keep the reader interested. Can't wait for the next book.


Buy Dead Reckoning on Amazon!