Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mechanics and Monsters

After the awful reading experience that was Ascension (Guardians of Ascension) I went searching through my TBR pile for a pallet cleanser of sorts. A book with vampires and other supernatural elements that was well written (or at the very least, did not suck completely). I remembered really liking Moon Called by Patricia Briggs, so I thought it's sequel, Blood Bound might offer the perfect solution.

Plot Summery (MINOR SPOILERS): Mercy is approached by her vampire friend, Stefan, to help in tracking down a vampire gone rogue. The two quickly discover that the vampire in question is also a powerful sorcerer, and that his mere presence in the city is causing a surge of violent crimes. When the task of taking down the villain foils both vampires and werewolves, it falls to Mercy, with her unique abilities as a coyote shapeshifter, take him down.

Patricia Briggs isn't a perfect urban fantasy writer, but she does several important things very well. The world building is simple compared to a lot of paranormal books, making them easier to follow and more enjoyable. Instead of complex mythology, the story rides on interesting characters. In this book, readers get a slightly more in depth look and Mercy's personality, as well as the secondary characters--Adam, Samuel, Stefan, etc. The relationships begin to get more complex. Meanwhile, the action is present and ongoing. Everything, both action and character developing, is done without repetition or flowery language.  It is an intricate yet readable story, with touches of horror and humor.

The issues I have with this book are more due to content than style. Perhaps I'm bored with vampires and the way they're often portrayed in urban fantasy, or perhaps this book was using too many cliches. I was a bit bored with the vampire politics and details of vampire nature, which are no different than what I've encountered in so many other books. The villain was suitably scary, but not very original. Also, I had to sigh a bit at the growing love triangle between Mercy, Adam, and Samuel. Personally, I don't care for that kind of conflict in my books. At least Briggs didn't sink to the lowest common denominator by having Mercy sleep with every hot man she encountered. In fact, I thought Mercy handled things fairly well. But the mere hint of a love triangle always irritates me.

All told, I love Mercy as a character and I think the series is well worth reading. One overarching detail that I love is that in the midst of all the violent drama, Mercy is still a woman with a full time job as a mechanic. She doesn't forget this even when the world is falling apart--a very admirable character trait. I look forward to the rest of her adventures. 4 stars.

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