Characters: In Mercy Thompson, Briggs has a lot of potential for a really interesting, relatable badass heroine. In a world on invincible god-like sarcastic heroines, Mercy at first seems like a breath of fresh air. She is strong, but not invincible. As a coyote skinwalker in a world of werewolves and vampires and fae, her powers are cool, but are not enough to put her anywhere near the top of the food chain. And yet despite this, Mercy is capable and manages her life well, holding her own with her skills, wits, and sheer will, and keeping her independence from the overpowering control of the hidden werewolf society with her defiant attitude and behavior.
But Briggs' overtures at making Mercy a strong, independent character are superficial and token. She almost immediately confuses - and in our case, frustrates - the reader by giving Mercy a defiant attitude, but submissive behavior in the face of any and every aggressive character more powerful than her. And because of the way Briggs' world is structured, just about every supernatural character - and certainly all of her love interests - fit that description. This is one of the most prominent and frustrating flaws in Briggs' series, and is an example of a larger issue that we'll discuss later on, in the World section.
Mercy's two obligatory love interests are sexy Adam Hauptman, the local pack Alpha, and Dr. Samuel Cornick, the ancient werewolf 'prince' (for lack of a better or shorter explanation) and Mercy's first love. In them, our opinions differ.
Cyna: For me, neither Samuel nor Adam presented any kind of likable love interest. Adam was knocked out half the book, and spent his waking scenes being a big, studly werewolf MAN, telling Mercy where to go and what to do, because of course, he has a penis and thus knows best. Samuel was hardly better, spending more time conscious than Adam, but treating Mercy with much the same patronizing condescending. Bossing around is apparently what Alpha werewolves do best, as even their supposed good qualities - i.e., protectiveness, loyalty - all seem to stem from a need to control. And both seemed to be moved more by their desire to dominate and possess Mercy, than by any love or attraction they might have for her. This does, in no way, an OTP make.
Kayla: For me, both of them have likable qualities, but neither won me over completely. Though I didn't like Adam until the end of the book. Adam in the beginning, was very dominant and controlling with Mercy, and then, as previously mentioned, was unconscious for most of the book, until the end when he showed his drive to protect his daughter, which made him likable. Sam, to me, was likable and understandable from the beginning. Though you don't find out until the middle of the book why he wanted Mercy for himself, to me, his desire to have living children with her was very sympathetic. Mercy describes him as more compassionate and easier going in comparison to other werewolves, and I saw that in his character, making him my preferred love interest.
There are an abundance of side characters - gay werewolf Warren, his human boyfriend Kyle (two of our favorite characters, probably because they don't spend half the book bossing Mercy around); Stefan, Mercy's vampire contact (another of our favs. TEAM STEFAN); Zee, Mercy's gruff and loveable fae mentor; Bran, the big werewolf bossman; and Jesse, Adam's human daughter. The side characters are where Briggs shines. Each has a distinctive personality, and are fairly well-developed when they appear, perhaps even more so than the primary love interests.
World: The world that Briggs creates, with her vampires, werewolves, and fae, runs the gamut from intriguing to downright offensive. Fae and vampires don't play too big a part in this particular novel, although we are rather pointlessly given a brief look at the vampire coven seethe that will play a larger part in books to come, probably just so that we have a tie-in motivator for the next novel. But the stars of Moon Called are really the werewolves.
Briggs wolves differ from your average werewolf in that they are near-immortal, physically, and stop aging when they become wolves. The manner in which they become werewolves is also a bit different - rather than needing to be bitten or scratched, a person must be mauled to within an inch of their life and recover, to become a werewolf. They are also unable to reproduce among themselves, as female werewolves miscarry when they must change during the full moon. Reproducing among humans is possible, but very difficult, and results in completely human children. Finally, a big, grand deal is made of pack dynamics, and a wolf's "dominance". Their position in the pack affects their behavior, even in human form, in an almost compulsive manner. And women - HA. Even by Mercy's admittance, werewolves are centuries behind the times in the role that women play in their society...
Read full review at You're Killing.Us