I love the last installment in the Mercy Thompson series, and was excited to get my teeth into this one. Ever since Mercy joined the pack and got married, a new life has been breathed into the story. In a lot of serialized supernatural stories, settling down and getting married is an indication of the story slowing down, of domestic life taking the reigns from the fantastic. What’s great about Briggs’ stories is that many of her characters find love and then go on to have further adventures, meaning that the reader gets to have their cake and eat it too.
I’ve also loved watching the pack itself be further fleshed out- seeing them as people and wolves, rather than just a group who either benignly dislike Mercy or outright hate her. Mary Jo, for example, has been truly hate-able in the past, as has Honey, who has less of a presence in this book. What we’ve been seeing in the latest books, and especially early in Storm Cursed with Paul’s sacrifice, is the pack’s loyalty to Mercy, whether they like her or not. Eventually, people come to like Mercy, in spite of themselves, or because they see how devoted she is to Adam. It is remarked upon that she’s not anyone’s “little wife,” but even the most stubborn of wolves can see that Mercy is loyal to her pack, which is as close to making her “worthy” of Adam as anything could be.
I obviously have a lot of problems with the way people define Mercy- the idea that she has to be worthy of someone to deserve their respect is pretty misogynistic. The internal structure of most werewolf packs is incredibly sexist, and it would be nice if we can see some changes in that in the next couple of books. Mercy’s strength is usually in being underestimated by others, but in some ways it’s also a weakness: she underestimates herself. The way that Mercy has had to define herself, by her relationships with men, is kind of uncomfortable. To most people, she’s the mate of the alpha of the Columbia Basin pack. To some, she’s Bran Cornick’s adopted daughter. To even fewer, she’s Coyote’s daughter. Defining herself by the people she loves and protects would be fine, but a lot of her story has been about people trying to use her to control those who she is affiliated with. Other adventures have been about her heritage, and her using her powers to help others. I would like to see more of Mercy’s story being about her, and less of it being about the men in her life. I really loved the last book, because even though she was kidnapped as a bargaining chip, Mercy managed pretty decently on her own, and seeing her faring for herself made Silence Fallen a really exciting read.
Storm Cursed had a lot of what I’ve been looking for in move Mercy books- lots of Zee, one of my favorite side characters, for one. I love Zee and Tad, and seeing them around the garage is a ripe opportunity for both humor and exposition. I loved getting more into the witches- Elizaveta has been spoiling for more time on the page, and I couldn’t be happier. Her story is bittersweet, but very well done. I also love how vain and catty the witches are, it really strengthens the witch mythology of this universe, wherein different families usually don’t get along, and might actually kill each other rather than sit down to tea. One thing I was less jazzed about was seeing Mercy in the hospital so much- it’s just a lot. I get that she’s more breakable than the other characters, who have enhanced healing due to being werewolves, but seeing Mercy get hurt is just heartbreaking every time. Ever since the horrifying rape she experienced in Iron Kissed, seeing Mercy get injured cuts deep. I feel like she got extra beat up in this book, and while that’s believable given the circumstances, it doesn’t make it any less palatable.
A lot of neat threads were weaved in for future intrigue, like the senator who is a descendant of Hawk, and I’m excited to read the next one. Hopefully, book number twelve will be out in 2020.