Review: Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson #2)
Mercy Thompson, mechanic and coyote shapeshifter, owes a favour to a vampire, and he is calling it in. Stefan, Mercy's friend who seems nice for a vampire asks her to accompany him to meet with someone whom he believes has taken advantage of a younger vampire. To Mercy's horror, the vampire they meet is a sorcerer, a sadistic psychopath ridden by a demon who feeds on violence and chaos. The vampires and werewolves will have to work together if they are to stop him and they will need Mercy's help.
As with the first book in the series, Blood Bound has a terrible cover, with the hero exposing her bra for no apparent reason. I suppose she is at least realistically proportioned and not twisted into a freaky position where her boobs and bum face the same way. Fortunately, also like the first book, Blood Bound is better than its cover.
I'm a bit bored with vampires unless they are either truly scary, like the ones in John Allen Lindqvist's Let the Right One In, or there is something new and original about them, as in Scott Westerfeld's Peeps, or Trent Jamieson's Day Boy. Still, these vampires are at least what I think of as proper vampires, no going out in sunlight and sparkling. They just didn't terrify me. I suppose I should look to straight horror books rather than urban fantasy for that. I do like the way the Fae are described in this series. They're unpredictable and untrustworthy, and Mercy is warned by her mentor, Zee, never to say “thankyou” to one because she might end up owing it a favour.
The misogyny of werewolf society is horrible. At one point Mercy meets someone looking for a pack for his thirteen year old daughter to join after being bitten, and can only come up with a handful of alphas out of all those in the country who could be trusted to look after a thirteen year old girl and not abuse her. She also tells the girl's father that the wolves would never allow a female werewolf to live on her own since there are too few of them and they need protection. I can't help but compare this with Kelley Armstrong's Bitten, in which Elena, as far as she knows the only female werewolf in the world, refuses to join the pack and lives for several years disguised as a human because that's what she wants to do. Mercy accepts the situation as it is, even taking advantage of the status she is awarded since Adam has claimed her as his mate. I suppose she doesn't have the power to change the system, but it still rankles that the heroine I am trying to identify with isn't furious about the way the wolves treat women. In all other respects I think Mercy is a great character; brave, smart, funny and strong but not invincible. Although she is a supernatural creature she isn't immortal and can still get hurt as easily as a human, which makes the actions scenes a bit more exciting.
A love triangle starts to unfold in this volume, or maybe more of a love square, with Adam, Sam and Stefan all interested in Mercy. Adam's alpha powers come into play, with a slightly icky vibe of coercion. Meanwhile, Samuel must face up to demons (metaphorical this time) from his own past.
Lorelei King's narration of the audio book version continues to be excellent. All in all Blood Bound is an entertaining, escapist read and I will probably keep on with the series. The next book is Iron Kissed.
Rated: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆