Author: Patricia Briggs
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 03/01/11
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Car mechanic Mercy Thompson has always known there was something different about her, and not just the way she can make a VW engine sit up and beg. Mercy is a shapeshifter, a talent she inherited from her long-gone father. She's never known any others of her kind. Until now.
An evil is stirring in the depths of the Columbia River -- one that her father's people may know something about. And to have any hope of surviving, Mercy and her mate, the Alpha werewolf Adam, will need their help...
Plot: 3 Stars
I know a lot of people are going to disagree with me, but this installment of the Mercy Thompson series just didn't do it for me. I have disliked Adam from the very beginning, and this novel was just too much Mercy and Adam for my liking. It started to feel very romancey, but not in the usual Paranormal Romance way. It felt like the novel after the HEA (happily ever after). The novel started off with a wedding, which doesn't really fit into an Urban Fantasy unless something paranormal attacks during a wedding in my eyes. It was nice to learn more about Mercy's background, but it didn't make up for the lack of the majority of the cast being present. Sam was absent for the entire novel, although after Silver Borne, this may not be a bad thing. The majority of Adam's wolf pack is absent, save a few of the larger characters. And don't get me started on Stefan. At the end of Silver Borne, Stefan's world is thrown into choas. At the beginning of River Marked, lets just say it's still chaos. Mercy makes a big deal out of the state of things, but then she leaves and Stefan is barely mentioned again, even though things still aren't great. Maybe the next book will address this, but if it doesn't I'm going to have to divorce myself from the series because Stefan is my favorite character.
Pace: 2.5 Stars
The pacing of this novel was my biggest issue. It seemed like the first ten or eleven chapters were all talk and no action. And then the action in the last two chapters was finished so quickly, it definitely didn't make up for the lack of action throughout the rest of the novel. I feel like the talking and the researching and the planning could've been spaced out so that there was action inbetween all of the chat sessions. Instead, the book felt split up into two parts: the detail part and the action part. There were a few chapters that moved so slow, that I feared I would have to return this novel to the library without finishing (or risk late fees) because the due date was approaching and I wasn't making much progress.
Characters: 3 Stars
Even though a number of regulars are absent or present for only a short time, we are introduced to a number of new characters while Adam and Mercy are off camping. Although these new characters served multiple purposes (to help Mercy learn more about her heritage, and to help defeat the evil in the lake), some weren't as developed as others. Coyote had a different way of looking at things, and was probably my favorite new character. He was snarky and mysterious, and used very unconventional methods to figure things out. Gordon Seeker was also mysterious, but it was more of an annoyance. Although he did come through in the end, he definitely rubbed me the wrong way.
Cover: 3 Stars
This was the weakest cover in the series for me. Whether the cover model is laying on the ground, or leaning against the wall, the pose and the expression on her face reads a little streetwalker to me. The biggest thing missing is the details. All of the covers up until this one have had so much relevant detail included. But this one only includes the cover model and some sort of large symbol. It stands out from the other five due to so much of the background being the same. Some trees, a lake, and some Native American art would've made a much more interesting and detail-oriented cover. But I do love the cover model. She embodies Mercy's character so well. And I love her tattoos. I like how she has the pawprint tattoo that Mercy actually has, and how the rest of the tattoos change depending on the plot of each book. I'm always able to look at the tattoos on the cover and know if the book will focus on vampires, werewolves, fae, etc.
Overall: 3 Stars
Disclosure: I borrowed this novel from the local library.