Frost Burned (Mercy Thompson, book 7) by Patricia Briggs
Patricia Briggs's novel River Marked was praised as "an urban fantasy where our everyday world is believably twisted into the world of fey, werewolves, vampires, and myths made real." Now Mercy Thompson faces a shapeshifter's biggest fear as the realm she has embraced is thrown into chaos...
Mercy Thompson's life has undergone a seismic change. Becoming the mate of Adam Hauptman - the charismatic Alpha of the local werewolf pack - has made her a stepmother to his daughter Jesse, a relationship that brings moments of blissful normalcy to Mercy's life. But on the edges of humanity, a minor mishap on an ordinary day can turn into so much more...
After an accident in bumper-to-bumper traffic, Mercy and Jesse can't reach Adam - or anyone else in the pack for that matter. They've all been abducted.
Through their mating bond, all Mercy knows is that Adam is angry and in pain. But she fears Adam's disappearance may be related to the political battle the werewolves have been fighting to gain acceptance from the public - and that he and the pack are in serious danger. Outmatches and on her own, Mercy may be forced to seek assistance from any ally she can get, no matter how unlikely.
The Mercy Thompson's true power is in it's amazing cast of characters and world building. It's the truth. Because after raving about how awesome River Marked was because it was the first Mercy book that did not have a kidnapping of some kind for the plot . . . Frost Burn went and had the whole pack kidnapped. I actually had to set the book down take a deep breath and walk away. Of course I came running back frantically because I can't stay away from my beloved characters and I was worried if someone I loved would die! That's true book addiction power. Even more so is that I guessed the plot right from the get go, as it was a plot thread from a few books ago that I thought would show up again. As a “disguised” enemy that wasn't really an enemy because they were after someone else. Even when one of my top “book sins” was committed I couldn't give up and quite honestly enjoyed myself.
So what I will first address is why I find the endless kidnapping plots annoying and what my “book sin” is. Kidnapping plots, especially for Mercy Thompson books, annoy because now 6 of 7 books in the series have used them as pivotal plot moving. Secondly in some cases—most—it takes away fantastic characters that NEED to be developed. Or if say Mercy is kidnapped it takes her away from the other characters that I want her to have interactions with.
My “book sin” happens to be when an established series has a certain way of telling itself. Especially the Mercy books. They are first POV with Mercy always being the one telling the story. Sometimes a series will use the prologue or epilogue to let another character have a turn, which is totally fine. In the case of Frost Burned Adam took 2 turns—I think that was it, either way it wasn't much—and it worked. Because it helped to ease up my first complaint about kidnapping where we lose said characters that were kidnapped. It also worked because I LOVED being in Adams head. How he thinks of himself, the world, the other characters, and most importantly about Mercy. Between River Marked and his POV in Frost Burn it's helped to make up for some of the lack of emotion I felt from them having 10 years before the series officially starts and the spaces in between books that left out some of the romance. Which has always been a complaint for me. Especially since with everyone being kidnapped it always limited time Mercy and Adam had together, which meant very little actual page time together.
Now that I addressed all that I can move on to how amazing the world building is. So from the events of Fair Game—read Alpha & Omega and the Mercy Thompson books by release dates!!!!—we're left with the Fae retreating to their lands. The werewolves haven't made up their minds yet and are just barely entering talk with the Fae. It doesn't affect the book much, but then it does! Because the politics of how to handle human citizens, the government, and the supernatural hang in the balance. Which adds another layer to some scary events.
The characters are wonderful and it still baffles me how much I love Ben, even with him being wolf most of the time. Tad is actually in this more and I loved it! I've always wanted more of Zee's son. What hurts is that a very awesome character, to me, dies and we just really got to know that character. I'm also nervous of how this will make another character act in future books. (Because I feel like they could get annoying. So fast.) This was a great book to highlight other characters that we haven't gotten to spend time with, enjoy certain favorites, and Asil coming in! Yeah, loved Mercy's reaction and thoughts about him. (I look forward to characters from both the Alpha & Omega and Mercy books crossing over.) The reality is Mercy Thompson books are pretty small and kidnapping plots make things predictable and as I've mentioned make certain characters have less time.
Which is why Adam telling part of the story helped give us other characters. Not only that it helped me feel for him and Mercy as a couple even more. Adam is a truly intriguing male lead. Adam actually gets to rescue himself this time around , normally Mercy is always rescuing him in some capacity whether big or small. Because at some point it becomes unbelievable that Adam can't save himself, which is a reverse trope about the female being unable to save herself. I want them to save each other, team work baby!
I think Brigg's is aware of some of the flaws in the Mercy books. As Adam's own daughter makes a joke about Mercy not having to rescue him. Then Mercy towards the end of the book admits that even a ghost put the (super obvious clues) together before she did.
Briggs is also aware of what makes Mercy Thompson so awesome. World building and characters. It's what I come back for even after I realized that these books are predictable and easy to solve plot wise. The magic and the depth of world building are fantastic! The characters are beloved and I love the detail and minute details that go into them. They're relatable and a lot of times we get to see the good, the bad, and all the grey areas. Sometimes it's black and white, most of the time it's not.
Mercy is still one of my favorite characters! The humor and the natural way these characters interact is wonderful. Sure I'll always want more-more-more of the characters. Poor Stephan. The world is amazing and I love how much it goes with the Alpha & Omega books, but if you wanted it could still stand as it's own series. (Why would you not enjoy both series though!) I would still really love it if Briggs would stretch herself more with the plot, but I'll never get tired of this cast or world. (I'm fine with longer books if that's what it takes. )
Sexual Content: Pretty clean on the sex front even with Adam and Mercy having it. ^_- Violence and murder, but nothing to be shocked of from the series. The normal gritty and dark. Just like fans like it.
3/5 - A solid read despite minor flaws.
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