Friday, March 11, 2011

Book Review - Patricia Briggs' Bone Crossed

Bone Crossed (Mercy Thompson Book 4) by Patricia Briggs
Published by: Ace
Publication Date: February 3rd, 2009
Format: Hardcover, 309 Pages
Challenge: Shifter Challenge 2011, Vampire Challenge, Horror and Urban Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★
To Buy(different edition than one reviewed)

If dealing with the fall out from her rape weren't bad enough, try a vampire falling straight into your living room while your mother is visiting. It's no wonder that Mercedes is at the mercy of her panic attacks. Stefan's arrival is a warning. The vampires know that Mercy not only killed the demon ridden vamp, but also one of their own, the one responsible for creating the demon abomination. Also, if Stefan happened to kill Mercy in his starved state, well... that's one problem solved. It soon becomes clear that Mercy's life isn't going to magically snap back into place like a rubber band.  Her garage, her sanctuary, was violated by Tim and his attack, and now the outside has been trashed by his cousin looking for a little justice. It would offend Mercy more if they had bothered to spell the insults better. But underneath the tagging lies a message. Written in paint and magic. Two crossed bones. When Stefan finally recovers he not only carries more information about the threat that is posed to Mercy, he also changes her life dramatically. Freaking out at the link between the vamp and the shifter, her mate Adam hastily brings Mercy into the pack. Something that no one thought was possible has now become a reality. Mercy, a little coyote shifter, is now a member of a werewolf pack. She has the bonds and might of the pack. A pack that isn't really pleased to feel the coyote in their midst.

But Mercy being pack gives the wolves leverage with the vampires. They will try to organize a cease fire to their mutual benefits. The wolves are sick of being singled out, Mary Jo has already paid the price with her death, albeit "mostly dead." Though Mercy's absence might be beneficial at this delicate time. Mercy decides to take up an old college "friend's" offer to help her with a ghost problem. So off to Spokane Mercy goes to do some Ghostbusting at Amber's, being warned to avoid the one vampire whose territory it is, James Blackwood. As to the ghostbusting itself, she's not sure how she'll do it... the knowledge that her ability to see ghosts is part of the "walker" package is new knowledge she hasn't had time to fully explore. But at Amber's it is quite clear that her young, deaf son Chad, is being haunted by a seriously nasty poltergeist. It's also equally clear that avoiding Blackwood is out of the question, seeing as he's Amber's dinner guest... only who's for dinner? Mercy suspects she might be the main course when she wakes up with two puncture wounds on her neck. But Blackwood is something like she's never encountered. A vampire who controls a city as large as Spokane who can also walk around in daylight! After a very brutal attack against Chad, Mercy convinces the family to leave and heads home. It's not long before the vampire politics of the Tri-Cities, coupled with Chad's kidnapping lead her once more to Spokane... but can she survive?

This story had me up late, reading into the wee hours, but ended for me on a dissatisfying note. I loved the integration of Mercy's new knowledge of what her being able to see ghosts means coupled with a traditional haunting in a spooky house, but I felt the resolution was sloppy. Having yet another kidnapping is hackneyed, I mean, seriously!?! This series really focuses too much on kidnapping. I for one don't want to be a werewolf, not because of the whole hairiness, but because of the high risk of being held hostage! And why can't they ever just want money? No, it's always something ingrained in their lupine lifestyles or tied in with their vampire politics. Also, you'd think that they'd be better suited to stop this from happening, what with their supernatural prowess, but no. Aside from the kidnapping issues, which will arise again in this series I am sure, I felt the tying up of all the loose ends, the Blackwood connection, the haunting, the reason Amber contracted Mercy all these years later to be rushed. To end the story on the aphorism "you are what you eat" seemed like a really bad pun. There was such flow and fun to the story and it ended with a groan. Also, can we just not add zombies to this series. I think they're a little overplayed don't you?

But while I did have these issues with bad jokes and overly complicated vampire politics, it didn't take away from my enjoyment in reading. In fact, I think that Mercy's character development really soared in this installment. Her vulnerability that now resides within her core, that used to be so strong. Her learning that she does need to lean on someone from time to time and that that's ok. She doesn't need to be the damsel in distress or the heroine each time, she can reside in the shades of grey between the two. As for her panic attacks. I thought these were wonderfully handled. Patricia Briggs really got you into the zone and made you feel what a panic attack feels like. I can attest with first hand knowledge, she captured the suddenness, the unexpectedness and every other conflicting emotion perfectly in Mercy. Mercy just keeps growing on me, so human despite her occasional furry form.


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