Perhaps the most famous of all fantasy fiction lore are the stories of the werewolf, the vampire, the shapeshifter, and the fey. Patricia Briggs incorporates all these into one beautifully crafted storyline that gives hope to the readers aching for a good fantasy story (one without all the teen angst and melodrama of certain popular fiction).
Mercy Thompson (the main character of Moon Called and subsequent novels) is a car mechanic who specializes in foreign automobiles... and a walker. Thanks to her ancestry, Mercy can take on the form of a coyote, something she finds use for time and again as Moon Called progresses.
What makes her different from werewolves is simple: while Mercy maintains control of herself at all times, werewolves are ruled by their instincts. How does she know this? She lives next door to the Alpha male of the local werewolf pack in the Tri-City area of Washington State: Adam Hauptman.
Oh, and did I mention that Adam, in addition to being the Alpha (which means he is the strongest werewolf and the leader of the werewolves), Adam is also quite attractive? Of course, Mercy knows how stupid it would be to get involved with a werewolf - especially one as strong as Adam - but sometimes, logic just doesn't seem to be all that great. And of course it doesn't help that there's another werewolf who's also trying for Mercy's heart - Sam, the same one who broke Mercy's heart when he left her years ago to join the wolves in the first place.
But of course, love is not the main plot of this story. Right from the start, you are thrown into the complex and delicate rules of Mercy's underground world - the position of the wolves, how they handle newcomers like Mac, and what they do to those who are different or against the grain of the pack. As a walker, Mercy knows she has no chance against a werewolf, so she keeps them as friendly as she can without getting too close, and mostly tries to stay out of their business.
Which fails when, in an attempt to protect Mac, Mercy kills an attacking werewolf and gets Adam and the local wolves involved... and only drags Mercy in deeper when she rescues a wounded Adam who failed to protect his daughter from being kidnapped. Now, Mercy is surrounded by angry wolves, caught in the middle of a love-triangle that brings a good deal of pack tension along with it, and the desire to find Adam's daughter Jesse before something terrible happens to the all-human girl.
Briggs' writing is quick and perceptive - the novel is written in first person from Mercy's point of view, giving the story some inside narrative and a close, conversational style that keeps you close to the action and closer to the characters. So far there are five other Mercy Thompson novels, with the sixth set to be released in April 2010. Those who are fans of writers such as Jim Butcher and his Dresden Files series or P. N. Elrod's The Vampire Files will love Briggs' Mercy Thompson novels.
For more information on these or Briggs' other books, check out Briggs' official website. To buy this fantastic book for yourself, head to Amazon.com - or, to own it today, head to the Midland Mall and buy it from Barnes and Noble. Ebooks from B&N.com are also available, or you can check out a hard copy from Midland's Grace A. Dow Library.
Trivia Question: What is the name of Mercy's vampire friend, and where does he sleep when he stays at her house?