Terry’s Review of River Marked, by Patricia Briggs

River Marked Cover

Publisher’s Summary: “Car mechanic Mercy Thompson has always known there was something different about her, and not just the way she can make a VW engine sit up and beg. Mercy is a shapeshifter, a talent she inherited from her long-gone father. She’s never known any others of her kind. Until now.

An evil is stirring in the depths of the Columbia River-one that her father’s people may know something about. And to have any hope of surviving, Mercy and her mate, the Alpha werewolf Adam, will need their help…”

River Marked is the sixth book in the Mercedes Thompson urban fantasy series.

Be advised there may be some minor spoilers below.

It may just be me, but one of the big draws in good urban fantasy is a strong female protagonist. Patricia Briggs delivers in spades with Mercy Thompson. She’s tough, independent, smart, and a truly good person. That makes her very easy to root for and makes for an emotional ride when she hits a rough spot. And the author isn’t shy about putting her through the wringer on occasion, either. That makes this series one of the best in the urban fantasy genre.

In this book, Mercy finally ties the knot with sexy Adam Hauptman, the Alpha of the werewolf pack that lives behind her lot, and they’re off on their honeymoon. Their relationship has been moving this way for quite some time, and seeing her making her personal life work was very satisfying.

Of course, being off on their own without any of the secondary characters I’ve come to love made for a different tone. There was a bit more romance, which I liked, and fewer subplots, which I didn’t like so much. That lack hurt my enjoyment of the book a little.

We did get to see a few new secondary characters, though, and some of them look like they might be recurring. The main one was Coyote of Indian legend. As one would expect, he both helps and hinders her as she tries to stop a monster that has been killing people. He also provided some surprising and interesting insight into her mysterious father, a man who died before she was born. I’m hoping he makes further appearances later in the series.

The tone in River Marked was a bit different from the earlier books in the series, and it detracted from my enjoyment. While I welcomed the added focus on her relationship and the romance, the pressure seemed too light on Mercy, which slowed the pace more than I liked. I really think not including the established cast of characters also hurt the story a little.

Even so, it was a good read and a solid addition to the series. I’ll eagerly be awaiting the next book to see what happens next. I’ll give it four stars and recommend it strongly.

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