This was a pretty shocking departure from my regular reads. Most of the time, I spend my reading hours with classics or popular literary fiction. I have a taste for re-reading books I love, or digging into my never-ending #bookqueue (check it out on goodreads). So when I picked this up, it was a bit of a departure. A fantasy series that includes werewolves, shape-shifters, and vampires? Not my typical #bookqueue material.
Patricia Briggs is a local novelist to the the Tri-Cities area in Washington State, and set her Mercy Thompson series in my old hood.
There’s just something very fun about reading a novel based in an area you recognize! (I had the same reflection reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and my current home in Baltimore)
Now, that being said, I would still recommend this to fantasy readers who aren’t the least bit familiar with the area. Familiarity is not the only thing that makes this book good. It’s an excellent book (and series!).
I started with book one, Iron Kissed (Mercy Thompson, Book 3) Moon Called, which was suggested as part of my family book club – a now lapsed bi-coastal group including my mom, sister, and sister-in-law, which use to meet via Google Hangout on a monthly basis.
I devoured this book – it’s both incredibly engaging and a very quick read.
But of course, once I start something, I just go nuts. After finishing book one, I proceeded to binge-read the entire Mercy Thompson series over the course of a few months. Within a matter of months I had read the entire series. I even went backed and picked up the latest in the series, which was released after my binge ended. Clearly worth it.
Honestly, this is perfect reality-based fantasy. Briggs couples typical small-town American life with Pacific Northwest Native American myths and a bit of werewolves and vampires for added fun. Couple that with a little romance, and complicated inter-species politics, and you have a really compelling story that has a complex fantasy world, grounded in a familiar setting. Just the most enjoyable read.
Now, I will say, this isn’t the most high brow writing style. We’re in vampire/werewolf territory here. You can’t expect Nabokov or Steinbeck. Set your bar a little more in the ‘oh, this is fun, but I’m not trying to learn something here’ range, and you’ll be a satisfied reader.
So, if you’re wanting something to devour over the spring (or if you’ve been wanting a slightly more adult version of Twilight), set your sights on the Mercy Thompson series.