Blood Bound, I discussed all of this in more detail. Iron Kissed was equally impressive for me, although for different reasons. Now on to the review.
Mercy's mentor, Zee, has been accused of murder. Zee is an iron kissed fae (a metal worker), which is a breed that humans have little understanding of and therefore fear. When the fae community fails to jump to Zee's rescue, Mercy is determined to find the real killer herself.
I had some pretty strong emotional reactions to this book. I've resolved to keep these reviews as spoiler free as possible, so I can't get too specific. I'll just say that Mercy goes through quite a lot of trauma, which I did not see coming. I really felt for her, and I applauded her recovery. The visceral reaction that I had to this book is something that I don't think was present in the previous books, so I'm counting it as a major positive. Maybe it was an intentional ploy on the part of the author, but if so, it worked on me.
The character development is intense, but without being overdone. Obviously, Mercy's world view is altered several times throughout the story. But equally impressive, to me at least, was the efficient way that Briggs started to develop her secondary and background characters. From the important one like Samuel and Adam, to the minor characters of Ben and Zee, you gain insights into what makes them who they are.
The world building part of the plot gets buried in drama. There's some interesting mythology being invoked in this book, but it was in no way explained to my satisfaction. There are a lot of magical objects being used, and we are given very little information as to their origins or how they actually work. Since these things were extremely important to the plot, I felt they deserved more page time.
I also had some issues with the pace of the book. It jumps from mundane things into action so abruptly I felt dizzy. Overall, the tone of the novel just isn't consistent. It goes from intellectual murder mystery, to action/chase scene, to tragic drama, all with very few transitions.
I'm having trouble grading this one. Going purely on emotional impact, it would be a 4. Taking that out of the equation, it's more like a 3. I'll split the difference: 3.5 stars. In any case, the Mercy Thomson series is a must read for any urban fantasy fan.