3,5 out of 5 stars.
I came across that book because of a YouTube video.
More precisely, because of a comment made in the “comments section” below the video I had watched.
Still not kidding.
There’s a channel on YouTube I watch semi-regularly. It’s made by a bunch of (mostly) men, doing (mostly) silly things, but I’m quite amused by it. One of them is gay, which is neither something they tried to hide nor something that interesting. He just is and everyone knows it.
After the last video one of the apparently new viewers made a derogatory comment about there being a “Schwuchtel” in their team, and, of course, said team took offense (and rightfully so). They said that narrow-minded assholes had no place on their channel, but that they were very interested to hear the opinion of the rest of their viewers on that particular topic.
Needless to say almost all of them agreed with the team, proving to be maybe a bit crazy to watch a channel like that but also open-minded and tolerant people. Well done, fandom! 😉
That said, in those comments someone said that hating gays is stupid and that they had always seen it like Adam Hauptmann from Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson novels, who said that he “didn’t care if a (were)wolf wanted to screw ducks, as long as he’d listen to orders”. Plus, the one who made that comment said that Adam was one of her favourite characters in the whole series.
So… I’d never heard of Patricia Briggs, Adam Hauptmann or Mercy Thompson, googled it and promptly went over to Amazon to read the reviews. There weren’t all that many, but at least no 1-star-review, which I think it pretty rare, because there’s usually at least ONE person who hates a book that others love.
I skipped through the reviews – which were more or less all positive – and ordered the first book without actually thinking too much about it. It sounded interesting, and even though I fell off the Fantasy-wagon a long time ago, I like to read some now and then, as long as it is well-written. Which seemed to be the case here, according to the reviews.
It never once occurred to me to use the “look inside” option.
Or read the reviews more closely.
For once that was actually a good thing, because if I had, I would never have bought the book.
A) because of the first person narrator (YET AGAIN, GOD!) and b) because of the love triangle (ARGH!). Two things I just HATE. Usually.
I started reading anyway, and lo and behold, it wasn’t half bad!
Yes, there are “werewolves, vampires and witches, oh my”, but it actually IS well-written (imo) and the heroine of the book, Mercy Thompson, is not too Mary-Sue-ish but rather sensible and comprehensible (again, imo), so that first-person-narrator-thing didn’t bother me too much.
The love-triangle-thing didn’t bother me too much, either, which is a miracle in and of itself. Yes, it’s there, but it is actually pretty subtle. There are a few times when it threatens to get annoying, but so far the author has always managed to get everything back on a non-romantic (ha!) track before that happens, so… Points for that, really.
The storyline is also very interesting and the only one in the past two weeks that made me WANT to continue reading a book instead of feeling obligated to do so. Someone apparently turns humans into werewolves, experiments on them with drugs in order to find one that could knock a werewolf out (or even kill it), and then tries to pitch two of the biggest and oldest werewolf packs against each other, also involving the local vampire seethe. But why?
Okay, truth be told, I figured that out about halfway through the book, but I didn’t peek at the end to see if I was right and so a fraction of a doubt remained. I could’ve been wrong, after all. I wasn’t, but that didn’t lessen my reading pleasure.
What DID was the “usual problem” with the first books of any series: there is a huge load of exposition to tell the reader about the main characters’ past, and how they came to be where they are now. Kind of establishing a mind set. And while I accept that this is (mostly) necessary, it also always slows the story down, nevertheless.
But be that as it may, I really liked the main character and quite a lot of the supporting characters. They were very well thought out and described, there’s just the right amount (and kind) of humour without being silly, it’s an interesting storyline, and the world Patricia Briggs had created is still “normal” enough for me to feel real. It’s no Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones, it’s just like our present but with a slight twist.
Of course, there were also things that bugged me, otherwise I would’ve given more than 3,5 stars.
If I were around a werewolf pack, which apparently has a very strict pack hierarchy, I would either be dead in under 60 seconds (for being disrespectful or some such nonsense) or yell a lot, because in a social structure where I would have to submit for no other reason that I’m FEMALE, heads would roll. Either mine or all of the other’s.
If I were around two werewolves who constantly fight about to whom of them I’d belong, without EVER having asked or even informed me first, and then think they could tell me what to do all the time, I. Would have. A cow. Seriously. Especially in the light of aforementioned pack hierarchy. Go, f*ck yourselves.
I get that this is obviously a werewolf-thing, but it was very annoying to read.
Why does everybody and their dog (or wolf) seem to be in love with Mercy Thompson? At least, all of the male everybodies, since there are almost none female characters that have a major role in this book. (And just mentioning that someone hates Mercy every once in a while or had done so in the past, doesn’t count.) I get that she has some very assorted friends, but why can’t they just be good friends? Does it always have to have something to do with sex and/or love? I mean, I like her, too, but she’s not THAT special. And the only thing that saves her from being too Mary-Sue-ish is that she thinks so herself. Still. Thin ice. If any more characters bend over backwards just for her, this will get very old very soon.
Let’s see what the next books will bring. So far 3,5 stars rounded up to 4.