Mercy Thompson #1-12 by Patricia Briggs (2006 – 2020)
Fiction | Paranormal Thriller
The Mercy Thompson series currently includes 12 books with the latest installment released this year (and I think there may be more on the way?) but for this review I’m only covering the series as a whole. I was able to get my hands on all twelve books from my State’s Digital Library but I thought it might be way too much to write out twelve entire individual reviews and figured I’d consolidate it into a series overview. There are also more books in The World of Mercy Thompson which expand the world to include Mercy’s first encounter with Adam and her new job as a mechanic as well as to follow a new pairing, Charles and Anna (also called the Alpha & Omega series).
Warning: Go ahead and grab at least the first five at a time because this series is the kind you’ll want to binge. My local library had the 5-book eBook bundle and it was the best decision I made.
I immediately vibed with Mercy and the story. I found myself loving book one and instantly dove into book two once I’d finished. I’d seen this series mentioned now and again but it just didn’t seem like the type of thing I wanted to read. Then COVID-19 hit and I decided why not just try it? I waited two months to make it to the top of the waitlist at my library and I am bewildered as to why it took so long for me to creep up the list unless those before me were just too lazy to hit the “return” button on their eReader the moment they’d finished because I did not need the given 3 weeks to finish Moon Called, oh no, I finished the first book in a single day. I was absolutely hooked! The wait was long, my hopes were admittedly not sky high, but I am so happy that it was 1000% worth it.
Ugh I tried borrowing them from the library to save money and yet this dumb series just had to get into my head and make me love it enough to spur me into slowly collecting the paperbacks for my own personal library so I can read them all over again whenever I want. So much for saving money!
Mercy is a new favorite character and the type I’d want in my life and hope to be friends with. Like a total dork I have fanfic in my head of how I could join this world and be friends with them all, especially Mercy. She’s badass but not overbearing, she holds her own but not in an annoyingly aggressive way, she doesn’t care much about her attire though she doesn’t mind getting dressed up either (it’s just not often practical when getting coated in grease is a typical job hazard for mechanics lol), she’s good-hearted, loyal, funny, brave, and a balance between gentle and tough that makes her a good ally and friend and the reason why I was able to stick through for twelve, that’s right I said TWELVE, freaking books.
I’m not really sure why the covers sometimes make Mercy look a bit like a Playboy mechanic because I have never not once gotten that from any of her descriptions in the book and she only has ONE tattoo so I’m not sure where all these other ones on the covers come from but they are pretty covers I guess? lol.
I know I’ve mentioned it at some point before on my blog but I seriously struggle to commit to a series longer than a trilogy, maybe a 4-book saga, with the only beloved and genuine exceptions being Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia though Throne of Glass and The Others recently made it onto the list as well and all of those still only had at most seven books verses the twelve published so far for Mercy Thompson. (And yes I’ve read a few other series with more than 3 books but they don’t fully count unless I liked them enough to buy physical copies and read the series all over again…The Guild Codex: Demonized is a potential addition though…I’ll have to see how the series ends first. Tough to not have fun reading about a cookie-loving demon paired with an introverted girl on the run 😜). All I’m saying is that there must be something special about this series to keep me on the hook for that long.
One thing I love and that stands out for me is, okay well everything haha but how about I keep it to my Top 3?
#1: The Romance
There is a romance element (of course) but it is not the main plot of any book or series. Even when Mercy goes on her honeymoon the book is more about the adventure. But there is romance and to be quite frank it’s a type that is incredibly rare to find in the paranormal genre. We have an Alpha Werewolf and an independent female and I bet you can list off a slew of romance novels with that basic scenario and they’ll all essentially have the same results aka he’s an overbearing, controlling dick whom we forgive because he can also be sweet and is incredibly hot, and she’s an independent force who ultimately melts under his influence and despite trying to project that independent facade given at the start of the story she’s really a pushover because he’s just that good in bed. Bleh. Write something new! Oh hey, Patricia Briggs did!
Granted, as I said, this isn’t a romance series so yeah the dynamics are a bit different and the author doesn’t feel the need to push the sexy stuff since she’s writing for a different audience so maybe I shouldn’t compare them exactly side by side, but I’m telling you that I would LOVE more romance novels with a relationship like Mercy and her wolf’s. They are who they are and they don’t try to change that, instead they learn to compromise and do things for the other because they want to make them happy. They have a relationship and a marriage based on real foundations and they work at it to keep it going. They’re adorable, imperfect, equal partners, and it’s one damn happy healthy relationship that I am in love with. They have moments when they’re all wrapped up in their love for one another and moments when they argue, moments when they’re just living life, they both have jobs and boring daily duties and they’re both busy. More importantly, their relationship isn’t some unrealistic perfect love bubble but they love each other more than anything and they work to respect each other’s boundaries, their needs, their dreams, and they genuinely build each other up into better people. I. LOVE. IT. I’m not going to even pretend I’m not wildly jealous of them haha.
#2: The World Building (and Characters)
Briggs pulls myths, legends, and lore from anywhere and everywhere and I am here for it. We get the dark tales of the European Fae, we have the classic vampires and werewolves, we get Native American legends, South American legends, and so much more. It’s just so cool and clever how she takes inspiration from these ancient stories and adapts them respectfully into these twisty exciting books. Even with the oh so common use of vampires and werewolves she somehow manages to put enough of her own spin on it that it feels fresh rather than redundant in the genre today. And despite pulling from so many different inspiration sources, they’re all woven brilliantly together so that it feels natural and believable. This ties into the characters.
The characters, whether human or other, obviously are largely tied and/or affected by the world Briggs has built and I love how a character’s mythological origin/inspiration adds to their character rather than simply having a label slapped onto their shirt. And as many of you know, these old myths can be dark and terrifying (I’m looking at you, Europe) and Briggs doesn’t back down from that. She doesn’t water down the lore to make a character more likeable (assuming she wants you to like them) but rather crafts the character in such as way so as to simultaneously terrify you and endear you. Don’t worry, Mercy is just as wary about this effect as well haha.
And I’d just quickly like to mention how different and three-dimensional each character Briggs brings onto the page feels. You have a seethe of vampires and yet each one has their own individual personality despite their common driving force just like with the werewolves, the witches, etc. I have my faves, but I’ll let you figure out your own faves on your own.
Oh, something else that I found interesting was that Mercy goes to church and is a genuine believer in God. Often paranormal books tend to avoid that topic or they’ll at most allow the possibility of demons and the damned (I’ve even read books about Lucifer and Hell), but if you allow the dark half to exist then it only makes sense to include the good half, which is what Mercy embraces. She says herself that she’s seen too much evidence of God and dealt with too much darkness of the Devil to not believe. It’s a facet to her character that I really appreciated and feel gives her an added touch of depth and strength. I always thought it felt like a dumb lopsided cop out when books focus on Hell but completely ignore Heaven. Like come on, if the Devil is real then why wouldn’t you want God on your side to face that bastard? And why do they sometimes let holy water work but refuse to acknowledge God & company?? Just seems weird and stupid. If you’re going to mention one side then mention the other lol.
#3: The Execution
Maybe if I got super nitpicky and technical and grumpy I’d find a lot more things to say, but I’m currently a happy camper and sticking to the overall of things so yes I put “execution” as one of my top pros for this series. The relationships between characters grow and evolve with each book yet each book stands on its own featuring a standalone incident and following thriller-mystery-adventure. NO CLIFFHANGERS!! HUZZAH!! Each book opens with familiarity, gets blindsided by some baddies, then it’s a breakneck speed race against the clock adventure with lots of puzzle-solving, lore-learning, action interspersed with daily life that refuses to wait for a more convenient time, until at last we close the book with a sigh of satisfaction. There’s a lot packed into each book but I love how Briggs doesn’t forget to keep the heart in it. To me it felt like a good balance of both thriller and heart – not an empty string of action sequences and not a dramatic soap opera either.
But come on, twelve books?? The reason I seldom stick with a series longer than three or four books is because sooner or later they begin to drag or become repetitive and I in effect grow bored and annoyed. With the Mercy Thompson series though each story was just different and exciting enough to hold my interest anew and I found myself liking the characters enough to invest in their journeys. There are werewolves, vampires, witches, demons, all types of fae, (humans of course) and more introduced as the series grows ever more complex and despite what stories are told one never quite knows who may be friend and who may be foe.
Okay fine, I’ve been spewing a lot of positivity and maybe need to reel it back in for a moment. Is each book probably technically 5 stars?? REALLY?? These books deserve to receive the same ranking of the greats?? I mean, probably not but also why not? I’m sure you can find plenty of reviews that will break down each plot and dissect it to explain exactly why it isn’t 10 out of 10 or whatever, but for me? I devoured this series, I found myself telling everyone about it, my mind kept thinking about the world and the characters, and I was nothing but entertained from start to finish so yes, laugh if you want but I’m giving this series 5 whole stars and will be one of those rabid fans waiting for more haha.
The Mercy Thompson series is beyond a saga, it’s a commitment and well worthy of it. Pulling from legends and lore from all four corners of the earth and weaving it together into a thrilling and sometimes terrifying playground in which these characters carve out their lives gives it a uniqueness and strength upon which each plot can stand firm. Nothing is certain or steady, nothing is guaranteed or safe, yet each page matches the darkness with light as the heroine Mercy Thompson fights for family and what is right. Funny, chilling, grounded, fast-paced, and full of heart, the Mercy Thompson series is not a paranormal snack but a feast, a journey one simply must embark upon. It’s remarkably rare to find books within this genre that have any genuine amount of substance while maintaining in readers that addictive desire for more, but this one succeeds so do not pass it over too quickly.
Mercedes Thompson, aka Mercy, is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy’s next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she’s fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy’s connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water…
Meet Patricia Briggs!
Patricia Briggs was born in Butte, Montana, to a children’s librarian who passed on to her kids a love of reading and books. Patricia grew up reading fairy tales and books about horses, and later developed an interest in folklore and history. When she decided to write a book of her own, a fantasy book seemed a natural choice. Patricia graduated from Montana State University with degrees in history and German and she worked for a while as a substitute teacher. Currently, she lives in Montana with her husband, children, and six horses and writes full time, much to the delight of her fans.