Happy (too many days after) release day to all Mercy Thompson fans! I received the ARC for “Soul Taken,” book thirteen in the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs, and I was over the moon (thank you, Netgalley and Berkley!). The Mercy Thompson series is one of my favorite urban fantasy series, and book one (Moon Called) may be the first UA book I have ever read. It was the start of a beautiful relationship. Soul Taken, while quieter than some of its predecessors, was just as fun, action-packed, and slow burn sexy as the rest. So without further ado…
From the Publisher:
“The vampire Wulfe is missing. Since he’s deadly, possibly insane, and his current idea of “fun” is stalking me, some may see it as no great loss. But, warned that his disappearance might bring down the carefully constructed alliances that keep our pack safe, my mate and I must find Wulfe—and hope he’s still alive. As alive as a vampire can be, anyway.
But Wulfe isn’t the only one who has disappeared. And now there are bodies, too. Has the Harvester returned to the Tri-Cities, reaping souls with his cursed sickle? Or is he just a character from a B horror movie and our enemy is someone else?
The farther I follow Wulfe’s trail, the more twisted—and darker—the path becomes. I need to figure out what’s going on before the next body on the ground is mine.”
What I Loved:
- Supernatural Politicking. When Wulfe goes missing, bodies begin appearing, a Reaper on the loose, and there is a threat that Adam’s werewolf pack will be blamed for it, there is a lot at stake for Mercy to get to the bottom of the mystery. In pops the goblins, a group of Fae, who offer an alliance with the werewolves going forward. Then you have Underhill forming a door in Adam’s backyard, Sherwood’s identity (and strength) coming to light, and all of this in one book packs a hell of a punch. I love the politics, the alliances, and games that the vampires play and the werewolves walk all over. It was a wild ride.
- Wulfe’s Backstory. Wulfe has always been one of the most complex characters in the Mercyverse. His motives are unclear, his alliances (except to Marsilia) are muddy, and his mental state s questionable at best. He is a warlock and a vampire, and no one seems to know the depth of his powers. However, Wulfe was a young man (teen?) when he was turned, and there is a certain childlike quality to him. In Soul Taken, we got to learn a huge portion of Wulfe’s story: who turned him, his friends, and why he is less than stable. And what a story it was. I can only hope we get more over time as his obsession with Mercy eclipses.
What Wasn’t as Good:
- The “Jam-Packedness”. There is such a thing as too much action. Soul Taken incudes kidnappings, bodies, vampiric grudges, Adam’s new monster, werewolf issues, boyfriend issues, anti-supernatural hate, and a mythical artifact. Adam and Mercy get stabbed, shot at, slashed, poisoned, and even pumpkined in the head. Not a single character got enough dedicated page time, and one’s character got major “development” except for the obvious. For a book so stuffed with action and plot, Soul Taken felt somewhat like filler and less like a plot-pusher.
- The Pace. Related to the above, because Soul Taken was so jam-packed, the pacing was all over the place. The first third-ish of the book was a slow burn, the middle was a race and a confusing muddle of details, and the last third was quintessential Mercy Thompson. I was sometimes devouring the pages and others skimming.
Soul Taken was another solid, fun, fantastical Mercy Thompson that scratched an itch but didn’t satisfy the core. I love this series and still do, but I wouldn’t call this installation groundbreaking for all that ended up happening. However, still delightful and entertaining, a perfect four wave beach read. Order your copy of Soul Taken here, and if you are new to the series, check out Moon Called here in paperback!