Okay, I’m book pushing again, and it’s a book series that I know I’ve pushed before but seriously guys, more people need to read the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. The characters are great, funny, realistic, and memorable, no one is portrayed as infallible, and moral dilemmas are often brought up and reacted to with many people acknowledging that there may not be a perfect solution but accepting that decisions still have to be made.
The pacing is great as well. It gives you action and when it does it moves fast and keeps your attention with great flow and timing, but it slows down enough to also let you catch your breath an build characters or lore. Still the slow parts never seem to drag and you can frequently find yourself just enjoying the slow parts as if you were having a lazy hangout day with friends.
This is one of those fantasy creatures in our world type of series (specifically vampires, werewolves, shape shifters, ghosts, and fae) so if you aren’t into that I can’t promise that this’ll change your mind. However if you’re on the fence or kind of like them (and especially if you really like them) then it’s sure to peak and keep your interest.
Another interesting thing it does is bring up a lot of interesting social and sort of political issues and tackles them in a way that’s both relatable to the reader yet not out of place in the books. It is interesting a head strong woman have to work her way around a mildly patriarchal system trying to both help and work against people who are very set in their ways (this is in part due to some wolf magic stuff and the fact that half the people the main character, Mercy, interacts with are a century or more old). Some of the other issues looked at in this books are people’s reluctancey to change their ways, at what point reasonable awareness becomes prejudice, homophobia, racism, panic attacks, rape, (both female and male and neither of them are treated as a joke or as less significant than the other) and a few others that do work there way seamlessly into the stories we’re given.
To be honest, the book series is great and highly recommended, I can’t think of anything I don’t like about it.
“Mercy…” The nervous voice woke me up in the middle of the night. Over-controlling boyfriends, my ass, try an alpha werewolf husband. I can’t spend five minutes asleep in an awkward position before he thinks something in my body is going to break.
“What?” I groaned while carefully stretching so as not to blindly hit Adam in the face while my eyes were still closed. Finally I blinked my eyes open and shifted into a sitting position.
He immediately leaned his ear against my chest and held his finger to his lips.
“Adam, what’s wrong?”
“I think you have a heart murmur.” He whispered, pressing further against me.
“I think you’re hallucinating.” I yawned and tried to move him off of me. “Can I go back to sleep?”
“You need to go to the hospital.”
“You just noticed this, I’m sure I won’t die from it.”
“I just noticed it, what if something is wrong?”
I rolled my eyes as he went through the motions of getting himself out of bed and pulling clothes on. He hit the light switch and momentarily blinded me long enough for him to pull a sweater over my tank top with enough extra time to start shoving shoes on my feet.
“I’m fine.” I protested as he began hurrying me out the door. He picked his keys off of the neatly organized key ring and all but carried me into the car.
“Adam, I can hear for myself, I don’t have a heart murmur. I am in no pain. I am ok.”
“Something is different.” He shook his head.
It took a two hour wait in the emergency room to discover I was pregnant. Money? Money wasn’t an object with Adam, he wasn’t going to complain about the bill no matter how miserable it made me. The fact that I had to spend two of my sleeping hours in an emergency room just to pee in a cup and get blood drawn was an inexcusable offense.
The look of shock on his face when the doctor shared the “good news” with us turned to excitement faster than a race car can jump 0-60. His smile made the butterflies melt away.
I was in no way ready to be a mother, not after only just being returned from an adventure through the spirit realm thanks to Coyote.
I pulled my hair into a nicer braid as we drove home. I already knew a whole pack of people were waiting for us to arrive to share news. Cars were lined up down the street and flooded the driveway—save for “Adam’s spot” of course. Still beaming, Adam unnecessarily assisted me in exiting the car. I slapped his hand away and stood up myself, only ruining his joyful expression for a split second.
We hadn’t talked on the way home, we hadn’t really spoken once since the news had been broken to us that I was expecting. I didn’t feel like talking. I was cranky after having been awoken for no good reason and dragged to a hospital against my will, and now I was going to have to deal with his pack.
“Mercy, what’s wrong?”
“Dad, what happened?” Jesse’s voice parted the crowd like the red sea and she soon followed, flaming red hair to match. “I woke up when the cars started arriving and you guys weren’t here, the pack was but none of them knew what was happening—“
“We have big news.” Adam interrupted happily.
“Small news, it’s really honestly very small.” I corrected smoothly. Ben grinned at me and I had to smile back, despite my frustration.
My cellphone buzzed from where it was located on the countertop being charged overnight. Adam turned to frown at me, he hated it when I “didn’t take care” of my electronics because I’m “not supposed to leave them plugged in overnight.” I shrugged and reached for it.
“Hello?” I answered.
“When were you going to tell me the news?” The Marrok’s voice was amused. I was happy to know he was getting a kick out of this, if he knew I was pregnant he must know I was extremely exhausted.
“Right now. Hold on.” I put him on speaker, utterly useless because he would have heard even if I hadn’t, and nodded at Adam.
He took a deep breath.
“Mercy and I are expecting—“ The room broke out into excessive applauding. It was four in the morning for God’s sake. Numerous shouts of “congrats,” “way to go, boss,” and “I thought she’d been kidnapped again honestly” filled the entry.
“I’m expecting…” I said to myself, half asleep on my feet. “Not Adam…wait…I’m expecting.” I said it a little louder but no one seemed to accept the words. They were all too busy hugging me and patting Adam on the back. I could vaguely see Honey and Auriele standing off to the side. While Honey was closer with me now, I could understand why the news would provide a little prickling pain. Werewolves can’t have children, not unless they adopt, and it’s hard to deal with mortal children when you seemingly live forever—especially after the death of her mate. Aurielle, she was clearly more than unhappy, but I wasn’t going to let it get to me. I would talk to Honey in the morning, the real morning, when I was awake.
Right now, all I wanted to do was to sleep.
“Congratulations, Mercy.” The voice was Bran’s. I don’t know how I had finally reached the stairs without being interrupted and I certainly don’t know when my head hit the pillow, but I know I could have sworn he said “Congratulations, my dear little Coyote” before I closed my eyes and returned to my sleep.
“…that we could have a fun and crazy life, just the two of us…I never thought we needed anyone. I use to hate everyone else…I use to wish we could make them all disappear forever…Patty laughed so hard that day…it was like she was making up for all the years before. Looking back…..I think maybe the Shinigami did take our lives after all…in a sense…“
Do you ever find yourself finishing a book series and finding yourself still so wrapped up in the world that was created that you find yourself going back to the first book to re-read the entire thing again?
Someday I’d like to extend this into a proper arc (perhaps I will in the future!). And I figured I’d share it because I love the concept of Rey and Kylo as a coyote and werewolf respectively in a ‘verse inspired by Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series. So thank you @xjump-for-joyx for the ask that led to this rambling attempt ;D
Context: Rey is a coyote living in a territory run by the First Order werewolf pack, led by Alpha Kylo Ren/Ben Solo. He consistently antagonizes her in his efforts to get her to acknowledge his authority, she refuses to submit. Shenanigans ensue.
Rey shimmied out of her oil-stained trousers and pulled
off her shirt, stepping out of her trailer and onto the grass stark naked and
itching for a run. She inhaled deeply and she smelled everything, asphalt and
gasoline and metal tangy on the back of her tongue. A half mile away, though,
and she’d hit the park. It was the only bit of woods in her new home – she grew
up in the desert, so hunting rabbits in the lush green undergrowth of the
northwest was something she was still getting used to - that the First Order
didn’t have a claim on.
Rey loosed her hair from the buns and dropped the rubber bands
on her rickety porch, crouched down, and shifted. Gray fur raced down her back
and head, the belly white and ears tipped brown, fingers shortening and jaw
elongating with her nose to form a narrow muzzle, and within seconds Rey landed on
her paws and shook off the stress of her thankless job, a boss she couldn’t
stand, and the pricey repairs she’d have to do to her trailer after the First
Order’s alpha lost his temper and shredded the metal siding with his claws.
Sharing territory with a pack of werewolves wasn’t
anything Rey signed up for, but she was too stubborn to pick up and move again.
She liked this place. She wanted to stay here and, damnit, Kylo Ren was not her alpha and she didn’t have to answer
to him. Rey suspected it got under his skin that she wouldn’t submit because of
what he was. Werewolves were a hierarchical species, their traditions strict and
punitive in nature. There were power dynamics and politics at play that she
didn’t understand and wasn’t interested in. But she figured out pretty quickly
that the stronger the wolf, the worse his instinct to dominate. And Kylo Ren
was Alpha with a capital ‘A’. He walked into a room and the air rippled with
the ebb and flow of his power. When he was angry, his wolves cowered.
And she fought tooth and nail to keep him from affecting
her the way he did the rest of his pack. He didn’t make it easy.
With a frustrated yip, Rey bared her teeth and pushed Ren
out of her mind. The coyote felt playful and wanted to hunt, so she trotted
towards the park, darting in and out of the shadows to avoid frightening any
humans. The grass felt cool and springy between her toes and she dug her claws
into the earth, chasing gusts of wind and the sound of crickets until she
spotted the rabbit out of the corner of one eye. Swinging her head towards her
prey, Rey lowered herself to the ground and inched forward, crawling stealthily
through the underbrush until its scent filled her nose and she could taste its
rapidly beating pulse on her tongue. Her muscles coiled and she lunged- then
tripped over herself as the sound of a wolf’s howl tore through the air.
She lost her concentration and the rabbit took off with a
twitch of its ears, bolting under a log and out of sight while she stood
stock-still and strained to catch the scent of a predator much bigger than her.
Rey pivoted where she was, tail drooping between her legs in dismay, and cut
her hunt short. She ran back the way she’d come because no matter how much of a
right she had to these woods, she
wasn’t looking for a fight.
A black blur burst out of the trees to her left and Rey
turned with an instinctive snarl as he tackled her, rolling them both onto the
ground. She scrabbled for purchase in the earth with her claws, twisting her
head around to snap at him, catching fur between her teeth but no flesh. She
bucked under his weight but the werewolf was so much larger. She was not as strong as him - but she was faster.
He burrowed his muzzle into the back of her neck and Rey’s
spine bowed as she writhed out from under him, jerking away from his teeth
before he could bite the skin there, commanding her to submit. Instead she weaved
and squirmed and slung her weight into him until they both toppled sideways and
then she sprang to her feet and darted out of reach, lips drawn back when she felt the grazing of his teeth on the back of her left leg. Her ears
flattened against her skull as she lowered her head between her shoulders and
glared at him.
Kylo Ren got to his feet with a grace you wouldn’t expect
from a wolf so big. His coat was thick and black, his teeth the only thing that
gleamed in the darkness, dark brown eyes fixed on her. He feinted a lunge
forward and she retreated a half-step with a growl, and then he stepped to the
side to scoop up something from the ground. She hadn’t noticed he had that
between his teeth, until he raised his head and shook it in front of
her so she could see what he’d killed. It was the rabbit. Her rabbit. The one she was
Rey twitched mistrustfully as Ren advanced and dropped
the rabbit at her feet. He nosed at the dead thing, pushing it towards her in a
gesture so far removed from what the wolf would do… she knew she was dealing
with the man. With Ben, even though
he refused to answer to that name. Werewolves were different from other
wolf couldn’t be reasoned with. The man… sometimes could. Rey wasn’t in a very ‘reasoning’
kind of mood though. She was furious. With an aggravated bark, she sank back on
her haunches and shifted into human form. When he saw what she was doing, Ben
did the same.
“Scavenger.” His voice was as deep as his growl, and she tilted
her chin, kept her eyes focused on his and not the scars covering his naked
body, teeth and claw marks, the result of his many fights and the vicious attack
that made him a werewolf. A couple of the shinier scars, more recent and mapped onto his face and his shoulder, those were from her.