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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

'Fire Touched' Mercy Thompson #9 By Patricia Briggs

From the BLURB:

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?

‘Fire Touched’ is the ninth book in Patricia Briggs phenomenal ‘Mercy Thompson’ urban fantasy series.

It’s not long after the events of ‘Night Broken’, and Mercy’s death’s-door experience, when ‘Fire Touched’ kicks off with a troll on a Tri-Cities bridge. The troll is the latest tactical move by the Gray Lords fae leaders, who are testing human resistance and werewolf involvement when their territory is breached. Adam, Mercy and the pack do indeed intervene, and find themselves agreeing to harbour a fae fugitive in the process – a young fire touched 10-year-old boy called Aiden who was kidnapped as a child many decades ago and taken to Underhill, where he mysteriously developed fae powers.

The whole book is about Adam and Mercy taking on the Gray Lords and potentially causing ramifications for werewolves everywhere – they’ve mostly been content to sit on the sidelines and not pick fights with the fae, but lines are being drawn in the sands in Tri Cities about what territory and pack truly means, and the humans who are also encompassed in pack protection.

Fae have always been in the ‘Mercy Thompson’ series – right from book one. Mercy’s VW mentor was Zee (powerful fae Siebold Adelbertsmiter), and his son Tad was like a big brother to Mercy. And nobody will soon forget the devastating impact that fae magic had on Mercy in ‘Iron Kissed’. But in recent books of both ‘Mercy Thompson’ and ‘Alpha & Omega’, the fae storyline grew more political and grand-scale with more descriptions of the Gray Lords and worldwide ramifications when the fae revealed themselves to the humans. Around this bigger arc, I haven’t so much enjoyed the fae – especially when it was revealed that Samuel’s mate was a random fae we’d never heard of before (Ariana), that’s around the time when the more complex storyline for them felt like convenient filler for loose ends.

However, I did enjoy ‘Fire Touched’ because it actually feels like Briggs was finishing up the fae and Gray Lords stuff … or, at least, pulling back on it a bit. There are just a lot of questions answered in this book, and a feeling of satisfactorily putting aside this larger arc and setting Adam and Mercy off on something fresher.

Actually, this whole book feels like Mercy’s going through a lot of contemplations and accepting how much her life has changed in recent years; particularly her switch from a lone coyote to a pack wolf,

Adam was mine, and I was his. I chafed a little at all the belonging I’d been doing lately: belonging to Adam, to Jesse, to the pack, and having them belong to me in return. Oddly, the responsibilities of taking care of them didn’t bother me at all, only being taken care of brought out my claustrophobic reactions. I had spent most of my life being independent, and it took an effort to have to answer to other people, no matter how much I loved them. Loved him.

This feeling of reflection and acceptance, and the plugging of Gray Lords plot points, feels like ‘Fire Touched’ is gearing the series up for a new arc … I don’t know what it could be, but I did love that in this book Adam also finally settles Mercy’s position as his mate in the pack and the two of them feel stronger than ever;

Adam tried to downplay it with a military haircut and clothes that were subtly wrong color – I’d just figured that one out – but he was beautiful. Like magazine-model beautiful. I didn’t always see it anymore, the inside being more interesting than the outside package, but with his eyes sparkling and his dimple flashing …
There’s a sense of stability to Mercy’s life now, which begs for maybe a little shake-up in the family department … maybe in the sense of expanding Mercy and Adam’s family? I don’t know. I just loved that ‘Fire Touched’ felt like the end of a storyline I was ready to see the back of, and a stabilising of Mercy’s family and pack life has me excited to see what the next stage in this series will be.


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