Big city life with a side of the supernatural.
Have you ever been curious about urban fantasy? Exactly what is it? In general, urban fantasy novels are set in contemporary times, and contain supernatural elements. One Friday out of each month, I’ll highlight an urban fantasy book for the interested.
Having rang in the new year with fireworks at the Space Needle, I’ve traversed the Cascades to visit with another auto mechanic who isn’t quite all that she seems. Witty, fierce women are standard affair in most urban fantasy series, and Patricia Briggs’ Moon Called is no different–except, as a heavy hitter in the genre, Briggs has the ability to captivate from the first words branded onto the page.
The Fae? Check.
Gratuitous action, love triangles, deceit, and double-crosses? Check, check, check and double-check.
When a young werewolf stumbles into her shop, hungry and lost, Mercy Thompson knows she has to help. She offers the inexperienced wolf a job, but after a pair of thugs come looking for her latest employee, the local Alpha werewolf gets attacked in his home, and a corpse lands on her front doorstep as a warning to mind her own business, Mercy suspects she may be in over her head–not that she’s going to back down.
I love this series because it’s a fast-paced adventure with a well-rounded lead who skirts the common stereotype of the urban fantasy “tough” heroine. Oftentimes tough heroines struggle with issues of vulnerability or establishing emotional connections with other characters, but Mercy is able to avoid this common trope. Her compassion and talent for sensing emotions allow her to set aside her pride when necessary (and managing two domineering Alpha male werewolves makes this ability very, very necessary!). She’s tough because of her compassion, and her empathy (though often creating problems), serves only as a source of strength that protects all those she cares for.
I enjoy that Mercy is part Native American, and that the history of American treatment of Native Americans–from systemic racism to corralling them on reservations, is reflected through the treatment of the Fae population who have recently “come out” to human society. As both mixed race and mixed species, Mercy has a unique insight into both worlds while not really fitting into either.