Published by Ace (January 31, 2006 ) sold by Penguin Publishing
Read July 23& 24
Moon Called is the beginning of the story of Mercedes Thompson a coyote shapeshifter who is also a pretty decent mechanic. Mercy's world looks a lot like ours except that the Otherworld is beginning to be forced out of hiding by our modern technologies. Mercy shares her back fence with the local Alpha werewolf and works evenings on the vampire Stefan's VW bus. She's safe and content -- which doesn't make a very interesting story, does it? So, of course, matters begin to change on the first page. In this book Mercy faces trolls and gremlins, old boyfriends and older vampires.http://www.patriciabriggs.com/books/moonCalled.shtml
Pat Briggs creates a world subtly different from our own and not so overwhelmingly so that it took quite some time for me to realize the subtle differences. Most of the world is like ours with fast food burgers and fried chicken; then a young woman buys 30 cheeseburgers and you realize that some how Mercy Thompson's Washington state is not our Washington State.
I previously read Silver Borne, the most recent in the series, and was enthralled from page one. I have been reading a lot of YA and debut novels, but I am at heart a series hound and so I have slowly been drawn back towards this Patricia Briggs series. And, she has several series: some seem set in that PNR historical. But, this is the one most attractive to me. There are fae, vampires, werewolves, and Mercy herself, a skin walker. I love the diversity in physical qualities that Ms. Briggs describes and their influence on the action and plot. For example, Mercy instantly shifts to coyote, as she says, "complete magic," but werewolves bodies have to completely change and rebuild in a painful process. Werewolves are stronger, in human or wolf form, but Mercy is faster. These differences would not have an impact except that his book is filled with action and those differences influence tactic and outcome.
Briggs has really researched and thought through the creation of this somewhat different world quite completely. From the range of werewolf mythology she has carefully chosen her qualities for these creatures. In the two books, I have so read, I have been unable to catch any discrepancy in the qualities of the species, nor have I met anything ridiculous that would bug the heck out of me. Nor, have I found any incredibly stupid sentences as I have in many books (ex. "...The scrolls were forgotten and long lost;" how can you lose something forgotten?). Briggs is a practiced writer, there is a great balance between internal dialogue, dialogue, description and action. It isn't over worked or awkward -- the most common tell of the new writer.
Another good quality is that there are few strange names to things. The first is the Marrok who is the leader of the packs (sorry -- had to). The word was explained and can be pronounced in one's mind, and the other was seethe used to describe an organizational structure for Vampires. The ability to balance the various ways to tell a story along with creating a subtly different place, makes reading the book enjoyable. I like a book that flows.
The character development is great. Not knowing this was going to be a widely popular run (it was originally contracted for two books) Ms. Briggs had the foresight to develop some characters with a set-up for the future. Mercy, her Alpha-were neighbor, Adam and his daughter Jesse are drawn very nicely. Mercy has some real issues she is working on, she doesn't really fit in, she is a fiercely protective and kind person, but she is also a no-nonsense woman. She is an honest auto-mechanic!
As Alpha, Adam has to be the strongest in his pack -- even when he isn't. due to injuries. His decisions are not driven by his needs but his packs. His daughter, 15 year-old Jesse is fun and carefree at the beginning of the book, but her experiences give her some gravity towards the end. A relationship triangle is also obviously forming between Sam, Mercy's former boyfriend from the wolf pack that took in a poor little coyote, the Alpha, Adam and Mercy. Supporting characters are sufficiently drawn so we can believe in them.
Action is pretty much non-stop. Some how the pace mimics the way of the the were and coyote. Its always moving, but not always at breakneck speed, sometimes stories do move with action other than fights. A lot of character drawing and backstory occurs while driving, some action is the magic of using power to heal and to strengthen.
I would recommend this first book to everyone, from older teens to women and men my age. I can't speak to the suitability of the rest of the series; there is violence, but not much in the way of sensuality in this one. It's an enjoyable, engrossing read.
Have you read this series - what did you like or dislike?