Friday, November 25, 2011

On Coyotes: A Review of Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs

So, first of all, this review is going to contain spoilers form Iron Kissed, the previous book in the series (you can find a spoiler free review of that one HERE).

In Iron Kissed, Mercy is raped while trying to apprehend a supernatural criminal. With that bombshell of a plot turn, I went into Bone Crossed with quite a few expectations. Primarily I expected Mercy to have a lot of emotional/post-trauma issues to work with. My second expectation was that we would see her work through her relationship with Adam, which has been something that has been building for three books now. Finally, based on the blurb, I expected resolution with the Marsilia plot, which was established in book two.

The plot goes in a different direction from most of these expectations, and I found this frustrating. Most of the "action" part of the plot surrounds a newly introduced character, Amber, whose house is haunted. Mercy goes to investigate the haunting, thinking that going to another city will stop Marsilia from coming after her. She finds out that Amber has bigger problems than just a haunting, and this is where a new vampire villain is introduced.

Positive Comments:

I still love Mercy and all of the recurring characters from the previous books. When it comes to slow, realistic character development, Briggs shines. She handled the fallout from Mercy's rape quite well. Mercy doesn't turn into a total basket case, but neither is she completely recovered. Her struggle, especially in dealing with her relationship with Adam and his pack, is a palpable experience.

Critical Comments:

Having made the above statement, I don't want to leave readers with the impression that this is a relationship-oriented or romance-oriented book. The relationship moments are awkwardly squeezed in between everything else that's going on. I might have let this slide, because after all it isn't a romance novel. However, because of the rape and all of the other emotional baggage, because of the love triangle that used to exist, because of all of the build up and expectations, I really feel like the relationship deserved front and center status for at least one book.

The plot in this book was disjointed and lacked interest. In my opinion, this was not the place in the series to introduce new characters, or even new villains. The moment Amber showed up, I knew that she was nothing but an empty plot device. Then, we have Mercy investigating a haunting, knowing full well that she has no idea how to get rid of ghosts even if she does find them. This is followed up by a conflict involving blood ties--this one, at least is relevant to the central plot. So, it takes 150 pages to get to the main plot, the characters seem to be making random and fairly irrational decisions, and the conflicts are underwhelming.

"Underwhelming" is actually the best word to describe this book. It's filled with characters and plot devices that don't flow together, don't make sense, and ultimately failed to keep me engaged. There's a good story in here, but it's buried under the irrelevant elements. I'll continue to read this series, but this was not a favorite. 2.5 stars.

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