Shockingly, I was disappointed when I first learned that Patricia Briggs was going to write urban fantasy instead of fantasy. I was already a fan and read her fantasy novels. The urban fantasy market was bloated and repetitious in my mind. But Patricia Briggs is a superior writer, and she has a fresh, exciting urban fantasy series. Smoke Bitten is the twelfth book in the Mercy Thompson series, and I eagerly anticipate more books. The series that has not grown stale with age. The characters grow and develop. The plot is full of action and twists. There is both European and Native American mythology invoked. Then there is Mercy Thompson, who has a unique style.
Mercy Thompson is an auto mechanic with an unusual genealogy. Her father is Coyote, the eternal trickster. As a result, Mercy can change into a coyote at will. This development came as a major shock to her mother, who found a coyote puppy in the crib. Feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of raising a baby who can turn into a coyote, her mother took Mercy to be raised by a group of werewolves.
Being raised by werewolves didn’t make it any easier for Merry when she married Adam, the alpha of the tri-city pack. Many of the pack still resented Merry. Merry could handle the cranky werewolves, but something is bothering her husband. He had shut down their mating bond. Mercy must manage the more resentful members of the pack and figure out what is bothering her husband.
But in the meanwhile, she must deal with a supernatural invader from Underhill. This creature can take the form of smoke. Its bite enables the monster to control the body and mind of the victim. The supernatural escapee then murders in the body of its victims. The casualty rate is rising. Worse, it can control more than one victim at the same time. Even worse, it can attack the supernatural as well as humans. Mercy must handle it. For some reason, Mercy is immune to the bite of the smoke monster. Yet Mercy has no superpowers, other than she can only turn into a coyote and engage in some mischievous payback.
Throughout this series, there have been challenges and resulting character development for the main characters. Mercy is hard-working and compassionate. She is respectful, but she takes no guff. In this book, Mercy has marital issues, but she doesn’t share this information. It is refreshing to read about a romance involving mature adults. But this book isn’t about Mercy so much as the other around her. Adam, the alpha wolf, has an issue. Mercy can help him only so far with this issue. In the end, he must resolve it.
The action is non-stop and fascinating. There are hints concerning the future of other characters in the book. In particular, I am expecting some exciting developments for both Tad and Jessie. By the end of the story, the reader has enjoyed a satisfying mix of adventure, action, mystery, and romance. Patricia Briggs could write twelve more books in this series, and I will gladly read them all.
My collection of Patricia Brigg novels are below. I can’t locate my copy of Smoke Bitten. I had to hide from my cat which was chewing on it.