Tuesday, 3 February 2009

‘Bone Crossed’ – Patricia Briggs (Orbit Books)


Despite all my good intentions there are times when the order of books to be read, on the ‘reading pile’, goes a little bit... weird... A full weekend of working out in the gym (my poor aching body...) and then going for a long walk on Monday (the snow was just brilliant) didn’t leave me a lot of time for reading and I really wanted to kick things off again after the last few ‘non-book review’ posts.
As luck would have it, two books from my favourite ‘urban fantasy guilty pleasure’ series came through the door on Saturday and they were both fairly quick reads. You get to hear about one of them today, another tomorrow and then I’ll be getting back to reading the books that I have promised I would...

‘Bone Crossed’ is the latest instalment in the adventures of Mercy Thompson, car mechanic and coyote shapeshifter. Following the events of ‘Iron Kissed’, Mercy has found herself in the very reluctant position of local celebrity and to say she is unimpressed is an understatement. However, Mercy’s past is about to catch up with her in the worst possible way... The Queen of the local vampire seethe (like a coven but sounds just that little bit cooler) has just found out that Mercy killed one of her vampires without permission. Mercy needs to get out of town for a few days (while the werewolves negotiate with the vampire queen) and, as fate would have it, an old school friend asks for her help with a haunting. Is this coincidence though or is there something else going on...?

Ever since I picked up the first book in the series, ‘Moon Called’, I’ve found the ongoing adventures of Mercy Thompson to be fun and well worth the read. When Briggs took the decision, in ‘Iron Kissed’, to resolve the ‘love triangle’ sub plot (instead of spinning it out for several more books) then I was completely sold on the whole thing! Luckily for me, and luckily for you too if you’re a fan, ‘Bone Crossed’ offers more of the same kind of thing.

The only real downside is that ‘Bone Crossed’ is more of the same kind of thing in a structural sense. Mercy has issues to resolve (although fair play to Briggs for not shying away from these, she could have taken the easy way out and started over again with a relatively clean slate). Mercy must go up against the ‘big villain of the day’. Mercy... well, I’m not going to spoil it for you ;o) Things are growing repetitive and, depending what you want out of the book, this may be an issue. I noticed it enough to have to stifle a yawn but it wasn’t such a big deal for me. Here’s why...

‘Bone Crossed’ is a very slim read (a trifling two hundred and ninety two pages long) and it’s all credit to Patricia Briggs that she uses the pages so effectively that she is able to keep the reader guessing the whole way through right up to the very end. If this wasn’t good enough Briggs then throws the reader not one but two curveballs. One of these is a fairly conventional conclusion to the haunted house sub-plot but the other comes right out of the blue and casts the story in an entirely different light. I was left in no doubt as to why Mercy felt particularly murderous towards a certain character by the end of the book...

As well as this, ‘Bone Crossed’ ticks all the boxes in terms of what made the preceding books worth reading. Mercy remains a very accessible character that I was interested in finding out more about. I’m also enjoying the down to earth way that her relationship with Adam (the werewolf pack alpha) is progressing. Nothing too angst ridden, just the kind of issues that you would expect to come across in any relationship and this simply made it more readable for me.
If this wasn’t enough, when things get going Briggs isn’t afraid to really let things fly! Coupled with a real sense of otherworldliness, this makes for some very exciting moments...

‘Bone Crossed’ is a fine addition to the ‘Mercy Thompson’ series that fans will enjoy, I certainly did. I wouldn’t mind a bit of a change in the next book though...

Eight out of Ten

5 comments:

Hagelrat said...

I love the Mercy Thompson books too.

Calibandar said...

Have you given up on Madness of Angels? Seems like you keep on choosing different books to read instead of finishing that one ;)

Graeme Flory said...

I haven't given up on 'Madness of Angels', it's just that it's a pretty thick book and the blog would grind to a halt if I didn't read other stuff as well...
The plan is to get it read for next week, we'll see what happens... ;o)

SciFiGuy said...

I'd drop my other reading if a new Patricia Briggs crossed my doorstep :)

wend said...

I've just bought this ... looks like my Feb must reads may be delayed a day. Just love the characters in this series. Glad you like them too :o)