REVIEW: Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs

Tuesday, February 10, 2009 1:00
Posted in category Review

Book CoverLiviania’s review of Bone Crossed (Mercy Thompson, Book 4) by Patricia Briggs
Urban fantasy hardcover released by ACE 3 Feb 09

I discovered Patricia Briggs on accident.  I picked up Dragon Bones (possibly her best book) from the library and fell in love.  I couldn’t be happier with the success of the Mercy Thompson series because it means I’m getting even more of her a year, especially with the spin-off Alpha and Omega series.  At the end of Iron Kissed she made a plot point I wasn’t sure I was cool with, so I was eager to see how she dealt with it in Bone Crossed as well as to see what trouble Mercy gets into.

So here’s your warning: I cannot discuss Bone Crossed without mildly spoiling the plots of both Iron Kissed and Blood Bound.  I’m being as vague as I can, but most of Bone Crossed deals with the fallout of the events in those novels.  Let’s give Briggs props for continuity.  (One of my favorite continuity nods: Mercy asks Bran about the teenage werewolf girl he took in last book.  I’d been curious what happened to her.)

Mercy’s love life should be on track since she realized she loves Adam and only loves Samuel as a friend.  Of course, it would be easier if she didn’t still have panic attacks.  At the end of Iron Kissed it seemed a bit early for Mercy to be ready to have sex again, so I was glad Adam and her ended up taking things slow.  Mercy’s recovering from what Tim did to her and it doesn’t help that the incident made national news.  Adam’s temper could worry me in the hero but Briggs does a great job of displaying his self-control.  He accepts Mercy taking care of some things herself more in this book, and Mercy works on accepting the help others can offer.

One thing that makes me sad about this series is it shifts focus between creatures.  I love that Blood Bound and Bone Crossed focus on the vampires since Stefan is an incredible character.  He’s loyal, has a strong sense of humor, but is willing to kill innocents to further his agenda.  Wulfe is still an enigma but we get the teensiest glimpse more of what drives him. But focus on vampires means some other characters don’t get much screentime.  Jessie barely shows up in this book, but she’s quite funny whenever she does.

Briggs excels at characters.  It drew me to her traditional fantasy and serves her even better in the longer series format.  You come back to a series to see what the characters are doing now, because their lives absorb you and you want to know how things turn out for them.  Her characters a multi-dimensional, engaging people and I can’t think of one who I’d wish she’d kill off.

As for plot, Mercy accepts a former friend’s offer to examine a haunting since she needs to get out of town.  Unfortunately, she runs into the only vampire in Spokane almost immediately.  Even worse, the haunting is more than Mercy can handle and it’s centered on a great kid.  Chad is only ten, but he does very well considering his father doesn’t believe the ghost exists and he still has to deal with being haunted.  In addition to those troubles, things have to be worked out so that it’s safe for Mercy to return to her shop and home.  Briggs makes the politics interesting and indicative of the creatures involved without spinning those parts out long enough to get boring.

Briggs mixes the two plots going along well, with each getting a decent amount of focus and neither becoming overly muddled.  Adam and Mercy made good steps forward in their relationship and I really believe the two of them can make it together.  This isn’t my absolute favorite urban fantasy series, but it’s definitely up there.  I can’t wait for the fifth book.  Briggs proved herself worthy of the jump to hardcover with Bone Crossed.

liviania.jpgGrade: A-

Read other reviews and info for this series by following its tag.

Summary:
In a world where “witches, vampires, werewolves, and shape-shifters live beside ordinary people” (Booklist), it takes a very unusual woman to call it home. By day, Mercy Thompson is a car mechanic in Eastern Washington. By night, she explores her preternatural side. As a shape-shifter with some unusual talents, Mercy’s found herself maintaining a tenuous harmony between the human and the not-so- human on more than one occasion. This time she may get more than she bargained for.
Read an excerpt here

Other books in the series:

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