Book pick: ‘River Marked’ — slow first half but second part makes up for it April 17, 2011Posted by Diana McCabe in Book lists.
Tags: Mercy, Patricia Briggs, River Marked
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!)