I have a hit or miss relationship connection with Mercy. Some of her books are great, but some are mediocre - with one or two being downright dull (yes, River Marked, I'm looking at you.) Thankfully I've really enjoyed the seventh and eight, finding them hard to put down, rekindling my enjoyment for the characters and bizarre situations they end up in.
Mercy and Adam have been a strongly established couple for awhile now, so Briggs introduced some ex drama to shake it up. Not only for that effect really, but to show how there are still power struggles amongst the females in the group over Mercy being a pack alpha. While I found Christy as annoying as most of the naysayers out there, I appreciate the purpose of the character and where the author was heading. I know many reviewers were annoyed with how Adam handled things, but in him I see genuine guilt and confusion on how to proceed, so I accepted it. These are flawed, realistic characters and not perfect, one-dimensional ones - and it shows here as Adam is led astray by his ex's machinations.
Still, I never doubted his devotion to Mercy and the ending wrapped that up with a nice punch. I also get him not getting too much in the middle of things with Mercy and Christy as that would just make her look weak in front of the pack. Those weird shapeshifter politics I'm glad don't really exist ....
Along with Christy comes a truly formidable foe that must all battle and face. Briggs doesn't fall into the annoying trope in UF by having the main, Mercy, be the apple of everyone's eye - here she shows it's Christy for this weird volcano god guy, but Mercy is tugged along for the ride and trying to rescue those she cares about. Through these battles, she must seek assistance from other sources, do some sleuthing, and rely on instinct as well as backup and trust from the pack.
I was delighted to see some Stefan too - he's not in there tons, but he plays a large enough part later, and there's a surprising twist I was happy to see. I never liked that a connection was severed before, so I was fangirling here. I don't expect her to ever leave Adam, and I like Adam for her, but I also like the bond with Stefan. I do think Stefan loves her, but I don't think he thinks she'll leave Adam either, and I don't think he's necessarily seeking an everyday relationship anything. He's a little too old fashioned in thought and distant in emotion for that IMO.
Gary Laugingdog was a fun character to introduce - he brought some sparks to the books. It also let open some more revelations about Mercy herself, her family, and kept it feeling fresh after book 8 - there's still more to learn and develop. Coyote just rocks at the end too, loved it.
The ghost signature prints are just sad....
Yes, it's a great book. Not perfect but close enough. We have intense battles, suspenseful lead-ups, funny moments with twisted characters, dark and morbid scenes with evil characters, the vampires and their twisted world again, shapeshifter politic topsy-turvy, Mercy as her epic self, and an ending that serves all kinds of justice. Now I'm sitting here salivating for the next book.
“Love means leaving yourself vulnerable, knowing that there is someone to catch you when you fall."
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