Have Mercy! The World of Patricia Briggs

Welcome to another entry in my UF category, saga, whatever you want to call it. Anyway, today is Patricia Briggs and the world of Mercedes Thompson, which also includes the Alpha and Omega books, since they are a spin-off of the series.

At first glance, Mercedes Thompson looks like a Native American mechanic who specializes in working on Volkswagens. And yes, she’s heard all the jokes about Mercedes the mechanic who works on German cars. But, when you start to look deeper at her, you find out that there is a lot more to her than you think. One of those things is that she turns into a coyote. Unlike the werewolves in this world, which take a long time to change and who go through a lot of pain during their change, Mercy can change immediately, with no pain at all. That’s because unlike the werewolves, who have to be changed into being a werewolf, Mercy’s power as a skinwalker is innate. In the first book, we learn that her mother didn’t know what to do when she went into see her baby and found a coyote pup in Mercy’s crib instead of Mercy.

Because of that fact, Mercy isn’t brought up by her mother. She had an uncle who knew Bran, the Marrok. The Marrok is the Alpha of Alphas. He is the head of all the werewolves in the US, and while he doesn’t rule the other countries, he does have some influence, mostly because he is very old and very powerful. And when I say very old, I mean centuries, as in double digits of centuries. Grendel from Beowulf may be based on Bran. Anyway, he has a pack in Montana and finds Mercy a place with a foster family, where she spends her childhood until she’s a teenager when she gets sent to live with her mother and her mother’s family, in Washington State.

Back to Bran for a minute. Bran is Welsh and has two sons, Samuel and Charles. Charles is the only born werewolf. His mother was a Native American and had her own magic. She managed to hold off the change while she was pregnant so that she could give birth. Generally, female werewolves can’t carry children because the change is too violent. Charles has his own magic through his mother, and his change is more like Mercy’s, and he can come back fully clothed. He’s only a couple of hundred years old. He is also the main character of the Alpha and Omega series, with his wife Anna. She is a rare Omega wolf who is outside of the normal pack structure and acts as a calming influence. Omegas can help out with wolves who are out of control.

Samuel is Bran’s older son and isn’t too much younger than his father. When Mercy was a teenager, he romanced her and she fell in love with him. He wanted to have children, and he saw Mercy as a way to do that, since she wouldn’t lose her children due to her shifting, since her powers are in-born.

Mercy’s garage used to be owned by Zee, a fae who identifies as a gremlin. He’s one of the few fae who can handle touching cold iron. Zee has a long and storied history that he keeps pretty secret. He is powerful enough that the Grey Lords, the leaders of the fae, don’t like to bother him much. The fae are out and have been for years, and many of them live in reservations. The one nearest her is in Walla Walla.

One of Mercy’s loyal customer is Stephan, who loves Scooby Doo and owns a VW bus that has been painted to look like the Mystery Machine. He also just happens to be a vampire, and owes allegiance to Marsilla. Stephen and Mercy are friends.

And that brings us to Adam Hauptmann. Adam is Mercy’s neighbor. He is also the Alpha of the Tri-Cities pack. He also declared that Mercy is his mate. Mercy thinks it’s just to protect her and doesn’t realize how serious it is that he did that. He gets over-protective and she does what she can to annoy him, like leaving an old VW in a field between their homes that she vandalizes, just to ruin his view. Spoiler, Mercy does eventually find out how serious Adam is about the mate thing.

I really love these books, and I run through them about once a year. Patricia Briggs has great world building, and not only has characters you love to love, but she also has characters you love to hate, *coughChristiecough*. While there is sex and language in the books, they are relatively mild, and absolutely kink free. There is violence, but that’s to be expected in books like these.

The orders of the books is:

Mercy

  • Moon Called
  • Blood Bound
  • Iron Kissed
  • Bone Crossed
  • Silver Borne
  • River Marked 
  • Frost Burned
  • Night Broken
  • Shifting Shadows
  • Fire Touched
  • Silence Fallen 

Alpha and Omega

  • “Alpha and Omega”  published in On the Prowl and Shifting Shadows 
  • Cry Wolf
  • Hunting Ground 
  • Fair Game
  • Dead Heat 

Coming up in the next couple of days, reviews of two ARCs, Tears of Surrender by Sophie Kisker and Kavven by Hannah Davenport.

Urban Fantasy Pt. 1

Urban fantasy is also called urban horror or some mash-up between the two. It’s a relatively new genre, having only been around about 20 years or so. One of the pioneers in the genre is Laurell K. Hamilton, with her Anita Blake series.

When most people think about fantasy, they tend to think about JRR Tolkien, elves, hobbits, barbarians, and sorcerers. That’s not what urban fantasy is. Well, UF does have some of those things, but they are taken out of the realm of Middle Earth and moved into the mid-city. Traditional horror characters like vampires, zombies, ghouls, and were-creatures move into the mid-city as well.

UF worlds are generally alternate Earths. On that Earth, magic exists, and all sorts of magical creatures live in the same world as you or I do. In some universes, all the creatures and magic users are open knowledge. For example, LKH’s Anita Blake series is one of these ‘verses. That series is based in St. Louis. Anita Blake is an animator, someone who raises zombies. It’s an inborn power, and if she doesn’t use it, then it just oozes out of her and zombies are accidentally raised. Everyone knows about vampires and various flavors of shifters. While some of the magical people still live in the broom closet, so to speak, the fact that there are werewolves or fairies, as a species, is well-known. In this world, werecreatures and vampires are created in the way that we would expect, although there are some that are born that way. They also have the traditional weaknesses that we would think of, silver, holy water, crosses, etc.

Then there are the other ‘verses. The ones where all those magical creatures exist, but they are a secret. Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files is an example of one of these worlds. Harry Dresden is a wizard, who actually advertises in the phone book, which is a whole different story. There are elves, fae, vampires, Knights of the Cross, and a whole host of other bad guys, who are all magical but the world doesn’t know about them. There are a few non-magical people who do know about them, like Dresden’s police pal, Karen Murphy, but they are the exception rather than the rule.

UF is really popular, with a plethora of authors and series out there. Part of the reason is that it is really accessible. It’s easier for people to relate to St. Louis or Chicago than it is for them to relate to Middle Earth. They also tend to cross genre a lot. You’ll see a lot of UF fiction, especially if it’s written by female authors and feature a female protagonist, marked under romance as well. Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels gets this treatment. Because of that, a lot of people who wouldn’t ordinarily read books that feature magical mercs and pushy lion shifters pick up the books and get hooked on the series.

I really like urban fantasy, and I read a lot of it. Thursday, I’ll list up some of my series and authors.