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Book pick: ‘River Marked’ — slow first half but second part makes up for it April 17, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in Book lists.
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Who doesn’t love the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs? But I think only her diehard fans will like the latest installment —  RIVER MARKED —  because it is such a disjointed novel.

The book’s title refers to an ancient evil monster that Mercy doesn’t even learn about until the second half of the book. And that’s the problem with the overall novel. Nothing really happens in the first part of the story.

We meet up with Stefan. who we haven’t seen since the horrifying events of BONE CROSSED. Mercy visits him and learns that he and his band are wasting away in some sort of weird apathy. And Mercy is determined to shake him out of it. Then we have Adam and Mercy’s long delayed wedding and honeymoon. We see just about every character important to Mercy. It was pleasant but in no way did it propel me toward the story in the second half of the book. And it just made me not want to read it. I had to force myself to keep going! (And I’ve never done that with a  Mercy book.)

But then, the second half of the story emerges and it is exciting. We finally get more info on Mercy’s father, her Native American heritage. Coyote, Hawk and Wolf return. And we find out why Mercy is always in the middle of trouble and change. We learn why she is able to do things others around her cannot. And we learn more about her strength and abilities.

Finally, we get to a great battle with the river monster — who shouldn’t be in the river but is and is causing death and destruction — and only Mercy and her friends can kill it. The lore and world building behind this part of the story is great. (And the magic fae walking stick makes an appearance and it plays a crucial part in the story. I wonder what will happen to it in the next story?)

I also like that Adam is with Mercy for most of this story. And while he wants to go alpha — and does a few times — he’s definitely married and cares for Mercy in a way we haven’t seen before.

Of all the books in the series, this one misses the mark in the first half, but than Patricia Briggs brings us right back into the thick of things later in the book with rich lore and great storytelling. (Where did she think up those creepy river otters?) I’ll be curious where she takes the next book. I’d hate to see Adam and Mercy fall into a boring domestic bliss. (We’ll know next spring!)


1. Diana McCabe - April 17, 2011

OK — is it me or is this series losing some steam? What is it with a series? We want them to go on but hate it when they go flat. How long should most series run and does anyone have a long-running series they’d recommend?

(My fave? The Fever series — but it wrapped up in 5 books!)


2. Van - April 17, 2011

Blah! I still need to get this book! Do you think it’s worth continuing? I didn’t even read the last book, Silver Borne! It’s been sitting on my shelf ever since I got it signed last year -_-”

What do you consider a long running series? Well there are some series I would recommend (3-4 books so far in the series)

– October Daye series by Seanan McGuire (4 books to date)
– Kate Daniel series by Ilona Andres (4 books to date)
– Kitty Katt series by Gini koch (3 books to date)
– Blood Singer series by Cat adams (3 books to date)
– Spellcracker.com series by Suzanne Mcleod (3 books to date)

There are some series that I’m thinking about GIVING UP on. Have you read Richelle Mead’s Darn swan novels or Faith Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock series? Been on the fence whether I should continue or not.

Diana McCabe - April 18, 2011

Hi Van — I personally would either borrow this latest Mercy book or get it from the library!!!!

re series — I just was curious about how folks felt about series …. when has a series gone on for too long? For example — I love the Sookie Stackhouse books, but I’m losing interest. So book No. 11 — Dead Reckoning due out in May — is pretty pivotal for me because I think she has a couple of more books planned. If that one doesn’t do it for me — I may not be so keen to get the next one! And I’ve sort of given up on the Anita Blake series.


3. Van - April 18, 2011

Hmm, I thought Mrs. Harris was ending the series at book 12? I never started the series because it had so many books, same with Rachel Caine’s Morganville
Vampires novels.

What are you currently reading nowadays?

4. pawsitivelife - April 20, 2011

Its always hard when the characters finally hook up. I personally think its an quality series, as oppossed to carrie vaughn Kitty series, and night huntress series (and dont even get me started on anita blake train wreck). After so many books its still a great read

Diana McCabe - April 24, 2011

True — I still think Patricia Briggs has done a good job with the series. Lots of potential for some good story lines!!! (re Anita Blake — I wonder how long LKH will continue that series?)

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