I received this book for free from NetGalley, the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: Mercy Thompson #9
Published by Ace Books on March 8, 2016
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Amazon • Barnes & Noble • iBooks • Add to Goodreads
Tensions between the fae and humans are coming to a head. And when coyote shapeshifter Mercy and her Alpha werewolf mate, Adam, are called upon to stop a rampaging troll, they find themselves with something that could be used to make the fae back down and forestall out-and-out war: a human child stolen long ago by the fae.
Defying the most powerful werewolf in the country, the humans, and the fae, Mercy, Adam, and their pack choose to protect the boy no matter what the cost. But who will protect them from a boy who is fire touched?
We all have authors who only have to put their name on a book for us to buy them. Patricia Briggs is one of those for me. In fact, I’ve bought books just because she’s recommended them. So I jumped at the chance at an advance copy of Fire Touched, book 9 in her bestselling Mercy Thompson series, and in the month or two since I got my hands on it I’ve read it no fewer than four—yes, four!—times. And apart from wanting to post this as close to release day as possible, I think I put off writing this review for so long so that I’d have an excuse to read it yet again. Which I did last night. So let’s hop to it.
But first a word of warning: if you haven’t already figured it out, while this review may be honest, it’s only about as objective as I can make it while inwardly squeeing with every keystroke.
When the right thing to do isn’t always the smartest political move, coyote walker Mercy Thompson-Hauptman and her werewolf husband Adam, along with the rest of their pack, find themselves having to back up their claim to protect their territory. What follows is a study in the right way to mix action with diplomacy, marital dissension with sweet romantic moments, pack dynamics with individual heroism, and gruff friendship, respectful less-than-friendship, and polite enmity. This book is full of ways things could have gone wrong but didn’t as well as ways things did go wrong but were righted. And that’s just one of the things that makes it awesome.
Another thing is the reliable badassery of the main character, Mercedes Thompson. She’s never been the strongest character in this series, if you go by firepower. But if you go by sheer heart and heroism—that core of integrity, gumption, and determination that keeps her swinging even when she should by all rights be dead or at least comatose—then you won’t get much stronger. And by her side is Adam, who increasingly shows he’s more than just pretty face and awesome wolfish butt-kicking power. If you’ve been following the series and been waiting for Adam to really, really step up and be Mercy’s partner whether she likes it or not, then this is the book for you.
I had thought at first that this might be a “filler” novel. Each installation in this series has been epic battle after epic battle. And while the battle here doesn’t have quite as many explosions, it’s even more epic in its scope than any of the ones in the other books, if you ask me. That’s because this time the characters are fighting not just to save the city or certain individuals. They’re fighting for themselves, their way of life, and for what they believe is right. And if that means going up against every monster in the world that wants to come at them, in this book, they take a stand and say, “bring it on.” Even the characters who’ve been minor or nuisances in the past.
And despite everything that’s going on, you get to see the awesome things that happen in filler moments, like the characters being themselves, at home, and having normal-people problems. Or you work out the undertones of friendships that develop or see how supporting characters have become robust personalities in their own right. And that’s just amazing to me.
If you’re new to the Mercy Thompson series, you’ll be pleased to know that just about any book in the lot is a pick-up-and-go kind of read—they all hold up even if you know nothing about what’s happened in the books before. That being said, the feels are of course more intense when you’ve followed the characters from the start, through their ups and downs, and you get a real sense of why they are in the head space (and heart space) they’re at by the time you get to this book. Because by this book, Book 9, the people in this series are more than just characters in a novel; they’re old friends you’ve seen the insides of the heads of.
So if you’re looking for a fun read, yes, definitely read this book. If you’re looking to have your heart and mind touched by awesome characters whose way of looking at the world and dealing with problems will inspire and challenge you to be a better person, then read this entire series. And even if you don’t want to do all that stuff, read the entire series anyway, and then read this book, because it’s not to be missed for any fan of urban fantasy.
Feel Factor Rating:
Series Reading Order: