Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Book Review - Patricia Briggs' Iron Kissed

Iron Kissed (Mercy Thompson Book 3) by Patricia Briggs
Published by: SFBC Science Fiction Book Club
Publication Date: 2008
Format: Hardcover, 710 Pages
Challenge: Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★
To Buy (different edition than one reviewed)

Never be in debt to a fairy. Never say thank you to a fairy. But most importantly, when you borrow something from them, just do what they tell you, nothing more. Mercy did a little something "more" and now has a debt to pay off. The fae have been sequestered in their own little camps ever since they came out a dozen or so years earlier. Whether it was for their protection or ours is a matter for debate. The fae are a secretive lot, not trusting the police or government. So when a killing spree happens in the Walla Walla Reservation, they aren't likely to turn to the police. They'll police there own. But sometimes it's good for a little outside help. This is where Mercy comes in. She knows enough to keep her trap shut. Plus there was that whole "favor." Also, in human form, but even more so in coyote, she has remarkable smell, which most fae lack. After persuading the rent-a-cop on duty who works for the BFA (Bureau of Fae Affairs), O'Donnell, Mercy is let into the reservation. Cookie cutter houses in perfect rows that surely are an illusion, or so her nose is telling her. From crime scene to crime scene she is led as she tries to sort out the various smells to find the one link. But her nose does tend to lead her into trouble and she stumbles past the glamors and sees the sea. The faries higher ups, the Grey Lords, are not going to like this one bit. And neither does Mercy, she can't figure out why the murders are happening. What is there link besides the person who killed them?

Things don't start to look up for the fae when Zee is arrested for the murder of O'Donnell, the reservations guard. Zee won't suffer in prison like other fae, seeing as he has an affinity for the substance that harms most, iron. Despite Zee's protestations that Mercy is done with this case, that she can't stick her nose into fae business anymore, she's not one to listen. She's a very nosey coyote, especially when her friends are at stake, despite the Grey Lords ruling that Zee is the fall guy. Soon she's embroiled in anti fae groups with an Arthurian nut Tim and has attracted a fae artifact to her, the walking stick comes and goes as it pleases, but if she wanted to have lots of sheep, she's all set. But maybe this loyal stick is a clue. What if the other victims were also guarding objects of power? Objects that held magic so great that they are a danger. Magic that not even the fae can do anymore in this waning world. Objects they will do anything to get back and to silence Mercy about. But in a world filled with the supernatural, sometimes it's just the plain natural that can do the most damage and can ruin your life. Just when Mercy had sorted through her feelings about Adam and Samuel, everything changes by the violent act of one human being.

The magical masquerading as the everyday. That which is normal posing the greatest threat. This book just completed my love of Mercy Thompson and became my favorite book in the series. The intermingling of fairy tales and myth becoming real, but in the most dangerous and threatening of ways. Fairy Tales are real. Just that thought sends chills down my spine. I love the idea that these simple bedtimes stories are really warnings. We see, more than before, how much power the fae have at their disposal and how nice they have been playing, without killing children and eating their bones, which many, I'm sure, want to do. There is more of an old world, mythic feel. The vampires, for the most part, just keep themselves to themselves with their little herd of sheep that feed them. The fae are an entirely different situation. They have been exposed to the world for a long time. Exposed in a way they controlled, just as the werewolves are trying to do. As meek and magicless. They spend everyday hiding what they are. And now, being attacked, they lash out and show their might. But their artifacts are even more dangerous. Because while the fae just protect them. When a power hungry human gets his hands on them, it shows that humans and their greed and avarice are far more of a threat than the fae are. Because the fae, while hiding their "monsters" are still known to be something "other" not far below the surface. Whereas a human as a monster... it just makes it that bit more scary. There's no way for Mercy to sense magic or otherness. There's no way for her to protect herself. What Mercy goes through and how she deals with what happens has made me connect to her on a new level. Seeing beneath her bravado, giving her vulnerability makes her more relatable. More like me, though I have never been through what she has on a human level. I've never had men fighting over me, which thankfully is resolved in this book on the flirty end of the spectrum, to the horrors of the attack at her garage. But I have had moments of panic and despair, and tearing down a little of her armor has made her a little more human.


"What Mercy goes through and how she deals with what happens has made me connect to her on a new level. Seeing beneath her bravado, giving her vulnerability makes her more relatable."

Agreed. And I think Briggs handled everything really well, and allows Mercy to keep being a little vulnerable, and to show us the healing process, rather than 'it happened in 1 book, it's over by the next, and by the one after, you'd never know except when I mention it on occasion, clearly as an afterthought.'
Everything was followed through, and it added depth and reality to the story.

Totally! Depth and reality. Just because this is labelled as sci-fi/fantasy doesn't mean that you throw out everything human. It's her humanity that makes this series so compelling. I think Mercy has totally surpassed Sookie as my favorite heroine in this genre right now. Sookie has become a joke with her overexposure, the series is getting crappier and there's no development! Problem is, now that I've finished River Marked I'm jonesing for a fix!

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