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Storm Cursed Paperback
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With a high body count, this story has a darker tone than some of the previous books in the series and less of Mercy’s cheeky humor. Her relationship with Adam continues to strengthen even though much more strain and demands have been put on them since her declaration on that bridge to protect all the citizens of their territory, be they human or supernaturals. Fans of Stefan will be happy to see him helping Mercy; their relationship continues to be complicated because of the blood bond connection. The story focuses mainly on witches: white, grey, and black including how they produce their magic and gain power. As Adam and his workforce spend copious amounts of their time dealing with politics and politicians, Mercy takes the lead in figuring out where and who their problems are coming from with the help of Zee and his son, Tad, both of whom are also working in her newly reopened garage.
This far into the series, many relationships, friend and foe have been established and so with a new paradigm set for Mercy’s pack, those bonds become very important and the enemies more deadly. Mercy’s “father” Coyote is around but whether he is a help or hindrance always remains a big question. Readers will be glad more is revealed about the enigmatic Sherwood Post who has some surprising hidden talents. And the very creepy and powerful Wulfe comes out to play as well so there is a plenty of drama. As always, Mercy’s big heart and penchant for trouble provides readers a lot of action, adventure, and emotional turmoil to experience whether good, bad, or just plain scary, this book will take everyone on quite a journey.
Without going into spoilers, I'll say that I was very grateful that I had the urge to read all ten of the previous books while waiting for this one's release: a lot of what goes on in "Storm Cursed" provides texture and payoff to details both large and small from Mercy's previous adventures, and prominent roles for a few characters who were only small-time support players before this or else built up with no prior payoff.
So, read the rest of the series before "Storm Cursed" or you'll miss out on a lot of that. Even setting that aside, this book is a fun time and a masterclass in the Mercy series' method of going from snarky lighthearted fun to grim darkness at the drop of a pin, opening on the uneasy alliance with Larry the goblin king and the mysterious, sudden appearance of "miniature zombie goats" (the "miniature" part is important, because "zombie goats" just sound Satanic) before deep-diving into the macabre world of the blackest black magic and the worst of witchcraft--making this the first book in the main Mercy Thompson series to turn its attention fully toward witch antagonists (a thing that has hitherto been more prominent in Alpha and Omega). In typical Mercy fashion, however, this crisis brings the werewolves, fae, vampires, and humans together in interesting ways, and the story never quite unfolds in the exact direction either the reader or the characters themselves are expecting. I didn't quite expect it to be as emotional a story for Adam and Mercy as it ended up being, either... once more proving that Patricia Briggs is far better at writing an already-committed romantic relationship than she is the admittedly kind of hackneyed love triangle nonsense that was being played up in the first couple Mercy Thompson books. You'd think knowing that Mercy and Adam--or Anna and Charles--are basically an unbreakable item would dampen the passion of reading about them, but nope. Still going strong. (Resist the nudge.)
In terms of print quality for the hardcover edition, it's as solid a book as you could expect, although in my case I did encounter one page with semi-faded-looking ink, so print errors are a distinct possibility here. A small annoyance in an otherwise fantastic reading marathon, and not nearly as important as the story itself. Excellent work, Briggs.
A side-note about some reviews decrying "leftist" propaganda in the Mercy Thompson books:
Of all the "feminist" girl-power heroine stories I've read, Patricia Briggs writes what are probably the most politically balanced. Racists are present and acknowledged, but usually offset by rational people working in the same space; sexism is alive and well in these stories but dealt with in balanced ways that neither minimize nor villainize the men who are masculine in heroic and admirable ways; and if you see anyone telling you that the story is all pro-Democrat or anti-NRA or any of that rot, you are being point-blank lied to. Mercy herself is a gun owner; references to Democrats and Republicans throughout the series seem highly critical of both (there's even a mention in an earlier book of Democrats wanting to hand out scholarships to fae in order to--I may be slightly mis-quoting, but only slightly--"show how enlightened they are") and one of the major characters in this novel in particular is a Republican senator who is not exactly in love with the supernatural community but is also not halfway stupid enough to support any political direction likely to result in conflict between humans and supernaturals, resulting in a genuinely interesting beginning to an alliance between him and the Columbia Basin Pack in this story. And I don't really remember anything substantial about the NRA, but... Mercy is a gun-owner who keeps guns at home, at work, and often in a concealed carry holster on her person, so... yeah.
And if you're worried about Mercy being an overly perfect power fantasy for the feminist left, rest assured: she's just about the realest female protag I've ever read in any story ever, with all the strengths and character defects that implies. It makes her relationship with both the male and female cast very interesting, especially when she gets past her often-wrong first impressions of people and her relationships get turned on their heads--characters she initially dislikes or who initially dislike her turn out to be her closest friends and supporters as the story moves forward, and characters she initially liked end up in fairly adversarial relationships with her when their true colors come out. It's that kind of story. Mercy's perception of people and things is never perfect and Briggs is a master at using that to provide substance to her supporting cast.
If you're the type to believe kneejerk reviews decrying a book for daring to try "brainwashing" its likely very adult audience with politics the reviewer doesn't agree with, this is one where you want to read it yourself and make your own decisions.
Death witches, politics, vampires, fae and a few other "things" are all involved in this one and you will love it and I can see future threads for future novels, glad to see Patricia Briggs back into exceptional form.
So without trying to write a novel or spoil any of the MANY surprises in this story I will just say if you have enjoyed ANY book in this series, you will love this one and as usual it is a great ending and a few threads thrown around to work into another story next year. 5 Stars and as always exceptional literary entertainment.
Top reviews from other countries
Other than that, I felt the book was bland, and never really got going. It was also short, or at least it felt that way.
Hopefully Ms. Briggs will be back to form soon, either in this series or her Alpha & Omega series set in the same world. All in all, not worth the GBP12.99 I paid for it, and I have never said that about a Mercy Thompson book before.
Has this series run its course? If the next book isn't any better, then I'll have to say "probably, yes", which would be sad, as I've loved this series dearly.
We finally get to learn more about the mysterious Sherwood Post. He plays a big part in the story of black witches and all their dark magic.
The whole story is set around a proposed meeting between the US government and the Fae. A very important meeting that will bring peace between humans and the fae. Adam, Mercy's devoted mate, is set to be security for that meeting, along with the pack. To make sure things run smoothly and no one gets eaten!
While all this is going on a group of dangerous witches decide it's time for a power play and it's the local witch, Elizaveta, who's family stand in the way.
There are zombies galore in this book. They come in all shapes and sizes. As a fan of The Walking Dead, my only grumble is I'd have liked to see them in action more.
Altogether, an exciting read. I'm looking forward to the next instalment.
Trouble is coming to the Tri-Cities while the pack is preparing for the up coming peace talks between the Us Government and the Fey, Mercedes and the pack get drawn in to problems closer to home when death and destruction strike one of the Packs biggest allies and whose reliability comes into question in the aftermath with the Peace talks threatened and a new threat rising in the form of a Black Witch Family, Mercedes will need the help of allies new and old to face the threat.
Look obviously I loved this installment and it’s a credit to the author that at book 11 not counting the other series set in the same universe that things can still seem fresh and exciting So if your a fan of the series then this is a no brainer I have some other thoughts because I don’t want to spoil I am putting under possible spoilers.
I loved that we finally got Clarity on A) Witchcraft and it’s relationship to the pack and especially on grey magic, black and white seems fairly clear cut White is the power of self sacrifice and black is the torture and murder of others so where does grey come in?
Simply put grey is the sacrifice of others but with there consent and is portrayed as a fairly slippery slope more power, usually then white, but only a short slip up from the black with less, possibly, power then a full embrace of the black would give you but the same vulnerabilities such as being open to demon possession the lore in Mercedes series as often been inconsistent on witchcraft so it’s nice that this book did a lot to clarify and solidify things as Witches become a more active part of the series.
B) why Mercedes and Adam who are very moral people seemed cool with Elizaveta who most certainly isn’t
C) why frost a villain from previous books master plan seemed so idiotic it was meant to be.
D) the slow reveal reveal on Wulfe continues though as always raise more questions then it answers.
End of possible spoilers
The only other series that has continuity like this that rewards a faithful reader in this genre is the Dresden files and the Toby daye series as always the worst thing about finishing this book is the wait for the next one.
Patricia your books are a little too intense now and not an enjoyable, loveable read like they used to be in the beginning!