Smoke Bitten (Mercy Thompson #12) by Patricia Briggs

SMokebittenMercy Thompson, let me count the ways in which I love you!  Seriously, this series is so good.  I admit I had a slight blip with No.11, well, that is, I didn’t love it as much as some of the other instalments and it had a little bit of a bridging feel to it – but that’s inevitable in some ways with a series this long – or at least that’s what I thought until I picked up No.12.  Smoke Bitten pulls out quite a few stops to ramp up the tension and stir up unease and also to shake readers out of their comfort zone.

Usual disclaimer – if you haven’t read any of the previous books then this review may very well contain spoilers for earlier editions, although I do try to avoid spoilers as a rule it’s more difficult given the nature of a series especially one with a lot of ongoing problems.

So, we kick off straight away with tension.  Mercy is in bother with both Adam and the pack – unjustifiably so as it happens, and concerning issues with Adam’s ex-wife, (I cannot even bring myself to utter her name because I am a bit sick and tired of her and the emotional trauma/blackmail she inflicts on everyone).  Anyhow, this is the least of the problems, it seems that Underhill has casually installed herself a doorway into Mercy’s backyard, releasing ‘something’ in the process.  A spate of unusual deaths quickly follows and on top of that Adam is not himself – very much so.

I confess that when I first started reading I wondered if this was going to have a more pedestrian feel to it – even though the action kicked off straight away it felt at first as though there were going to be lots of issues whirling around that maybe didn’t feed into the main plot or were simply distractions.  How very wrong could I be.  Let’s take this bit by bit.

Firstly, the doorway to Underhill.  You just know this isn’t going to be good news.  I won’t elaborate too much on this point but Underhill is very tricksy, scheming and self centred and what makes her worse is she’s a little unhinged (imho).  Unfortunately it seems that Mercy has now drawn her attention and that’s something that you can do without.  I’m not going to elaborate on this plot point other than to say it brings fairytales into play and I loved this aspect to the story.

Secondly, if you’ve been reading the series and keeping uptodate you’ll be well aware of the unwelcome attention that the pack is receiving as a result of recent instalments.  Adam’s pack are no longer under the protection of the Marrok and having stated themselves as protectors of their area it seems to have opened them up to all kinds of threat and very little in the way of allies.  It’s a bit like being the quickest draw in the old wild west – everyone wants to pitch themselves against you.  Plus, being without allies is a serious downfall, it leaves the pack open to potential takeover threats and puts all the wolves and their families at risk.  Don’t get me wrong, they have friends, sort of, but they all usually back off when the proverbial hits the fan.

Thirdly, Adam.  He’s also suffering fallout from previous books which leaves him not quite himself.  He’s very withdrawn in this book and seems to be pushing Mercy away.  Now, this may feel like a minor point by way of plot but you have to stay with it.  I was really intrigued by him and actually thought this was a great way for the author to upset the apple cart a little.  It made me realise how very strong the relationship between the two was in previous instalments and how very much you take it for granted.  Not only was Adam a little absent but he was also losing control.  I loved, and at the same time felt sad, by the way Adam’s wolf talked to Mercy to try and protect her.  Plus, the scene in the garage – my giddy aunt!  That is all.  You’ll simply have to read this to find out. Teasers be teasing!

Finally, Mercy.  She undoubtedly makes this series for me.  She’s grown such a lot during the course of the series but she still recognises that in terms of her own abilities she’s not the strongest supe out there.  And, in fact, this is one of her key assets because everyone continues to underestimate her. She’s not the toughest cookie, by no means the largest, her magic is fairly weak comparatively speaking, but added all together, with the friends she has made along the way, her crafty coyote heritage, her shapeshifting and her quick wits she’s becoming a real force to be reckoned with.  Plus, I love the way she’s coming to terms with certain things herself, like her other space (which feels a little like a dreamscape) and the way she is becoming stronger there.  Her abilities with spirits and her attachment to Stefan who I had strong fears for in this instalment.

The only thing I haven’t mentioned is the new found obsession for Mercy that a rather unusually powerful vampire called Wulfe seems to have developed.  It comes across as a little crazy and harmless but clearly this is another character who shouldn’t be underestimated and I can’t wait to find out how this development plays out.

In terms of criticisms.  Like Mercy, I’m coming to the end of my tether with Christy.  In a way she’s starting to feel very much like a device to wheel out everytime trouble is needed between Mercy and the pack.  I understand that she’s part of Adam’s life and always will be given they have a child together, but, I’m beginning to feel a little weary of the way she manipulates everyone and they fall for her same b/s over and over again.  come on people, try using the old grey matter every now and again.  Plus, if I was Mercy I’d be pretty sick and tired of being part of a pack who seem to overlook all the good things she does for the pack whilst siding with someone who seems to bring them nothing but bad times.  Take off the rose tinted glasses already.  Still, wolves and their protective nature I suppose. Plus, I guess Mercy can be a bit unpredictable and impulsive which has also brought some bad attention to their doorstep.  I guess Mercy is a much, much nicer person than me because I would definitely be in a sulk or a strop by now.

All being said, I thought Smoke Bitten was a very good read.  It was quick paced, entertaining and intriguing.  I liked that this episode demonstrates that Mercy isn’t yet firmly established as part of the pack and it also shakes things up with the Adam/Mercy comfort zone.  On top of that it gives a feel for something ominous looming on the horizon.  I wouldn’t say this is a bridging book but it definitely sets out the stall for something bad in the offing.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 4 out of 5*

 

 

9 Responses to “Smoke Bitten (Mercy Thompson #12) by Patricia Briggs”

  1. Tammy

    I wish I was reading this series, but at 12 books now, I have to admit I may never start it. But glad you are keeping up and loving it😁

  2. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    Since I did read book 1, and therefor made the first step into this series, I should make the effort of moving forward since it sounds as if it’s still going strong after 12 volumes…
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  3. boxermommyreads

    I need to catch up on this series. I think the last book I read was the one where Adam’s ex showed up. Man, I love that these covers have stayed so consistent. Great review and I need to know what happened in the garage!

  4. sjhigbee

    What a great review, Lynn. I’ve read a couple of the books, but this is one series I’m not going to persevere with at present – there are others I’m wanting to complete, first. But we do have all the books because Himself is a huge fan:)). So I can always catch once my TBR shrinks a bit – that’s the theory, anyway…

  5. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    I enjoyed this one and will be writing my review later this week. Agreed with a lot of your points, and I liked that there was some tension between Mercy and Adam this time…as manufactured as it was, lol. I liked it better than the last book though. I felt there was an actual conflict and danger rather than the usual pack drama. I also think it’s time to tell Christie to get lost once and for all, I hate that she’s written to be this master manipulator who can wrap the pack around her little finger!

  6. Jules_Writes

    GREAT review! I’ve never read this series but it has been on my radar for some time now.

  7. waytoofantasy

    Skipping parts of your review because I’m super behind on this series, but glad you liked it overall. Hopefully I can start to catch up some time this year, I think I’m on book 6–so only 7 books to catch up. Not too bad!

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