ARC Review: Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs

Fire Touched by Patricia BriggsFire Touched by Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson #9)

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Ace on March 8, 2016

Source: Publisher via NetGalley

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My thanks to Ace and NetGalley for providing me with a digital review copy. No compensation was provided for this review, and all opinions are my own.

Tensions between the fae and humans are coming to a head.

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Coyote shifter Mercy Thompson has faced some truly formidable foes in the past, ranging from vampires to fae assassins and even a god….not to mention Adam’s horrible ex-wife Christy. Somehow Mercy always survives, even if it’s just by the skin of her teeth. But the latest threat is one that Mercy alone cannot hope to beat alone: the Grey Lords, the elders of the fae community. The Grey Lords are tired of living as second-class citizens when they’re actually apex predators, and they’re finally ready to show the world just how powerful they can be. Mercy, Adam, and all their allies will need to work together if they want to stop a war…

Although I’ve enjoyed all the books in the Mercy Thompson series, I couldn’t help but feel that the last installment, NIGHT BROKEN, was something of a filler novel. Not a whole lot happened in that book generally, and even less occurred to drive the series’ plot arc forward. But Patricia Briggs is in fine form with FIRE TOUCHED, juggling characters both old and new with the increasingly complex inter-species politics that makes up the foundation of the series.

A new species or supernatural type is introduced in this volume: the titular fire touched human. All I can say about that character is that they’re incredibly dynamic and potentially a real game-changer for the Pack. It’s may be an embarrassingly bad pun to say that he’s got a fiery personality, but it couldn’t be a more appropriate description! As the ninth book in the series, FIRE TOUCHED has a lot to live up to and a less accomplished author might have struggled to make it seem fresh. But with the addition of new characters and the deeper examination of series favourites, the Mercy Thompson books are far from stale.

The relationship between Mercy and her husband Adam remains one of my favourites in UF. They don’t always agree and both can be fairly pig-headed, but they talk things out and actually confront their emotional issues rather than barreling through armed only with snark they way so many other couples do in this genre. I’ve never really understood why the Pack has such a problem with their relationship – sure, Mercy’s not a werewolf but she has proven her mettle and her love for Adam time and time again. In FIRE TOUCHED, Patricia Briggs finally addresses the resentment that so many Pack members have for Mercy; while it isn’t resolved completely, I’m happy to report that real progress is made and the lines are drawn in the sand. Hopefully this means we can move on to new sources of emotional conflict, since that one is pretty tired by this point.

Action-packed and with more than a few satisfying emotional payoffs, FIRE TOUCHED is Patricia Briggs at the top of her game.

Are you a fan of the Mercy Thompson series? What do you think authors can do to keep long-running series fresh? Inquiring minds want to know!

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  • I so loved this book. I agree with you that Night Broken wasn’t one of the best books in the series. The main thing that I remember about it was how Mercy was treated by Adam and the pack. I will say that this was taken care of this book. Adam really dropped the mic on that. I loved this book. It might be one of my favorites in the series. Great review.

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Rabid Reads

    • Yeah, I also found myself becoming really frustrated with Adam and the rest of the pack in Night Broken. Don’t they realize how much Mercy has done for them?! Ugh. I agree that those tensions were handled way better in Fire Touched, but I kind of feel like it was too little too late for Adam. Mercy’s his wife and he hasn’t been standing up for her enough (in my opinion) for the last 8 books. I’m glad he sorted his stuff out but man, I wish he’d done so sooner!

  • I keep thinking I should try the Mercy Thompson series, but the sheer number of books in it puts me off a bit. I am always daunted by lots of books to read. I’m lazy, what can I say?

    I do love the sound of this, though, I keep reading reviews of them, because who likes surprises when you can just keep spoiling yourself? You always make the books sound so interesting, though. I definitely thinking keeping long series interesting it hard, that’s part of the reason I stopped reading the Stephanie Plum series. If you don’t keep things fresh with new characters and different storylines you lost readers. I think it’s good there is a very solid relationship in this series, I hate when series have a very obvious lover interesting, they get together than a couple of books in they split them up and introduce new characters to create weird love triangles, or pentagons, or whatever.

    Maybe I should just suck it up and give in? It’ll probably take me about two years to get caught up anyway.

    • HA! No, I know exactly what you mean. I read so many UF series that I’m not particularly intimidated by 9 released books, because the crazy truth is that 9 books isn’t actually that much compared to other series (like The Hollows and The Dresden Files with 13+ books).

      The relationships between the main and secondary characters are really what keeps me invested in these books. Eww love triangles and pentagons! Ugh. I really don’t like it when authors use them as a tactic to keep things fresh, it just feels like a betrayal of the characters when it’s contrived in that way.

      The first two or three books are a little rough in my opinion, but they’re super quick reads (~300 pages) so it definitely won’t take long to catch up. Let me know if you do decide to jump into this series, Becky!

      • See, I am continually dainted by the number of books ina series. It’s why I can never seem to get through Game of Thrones. I read the first two books but they’re so long and I haven’t found the motivation to keep reading. It’s probably a good thing as the next book won’t be out for a while yet. And 13+ books is an insane number of books. I definitely couldn’t motivate myself to read that many. I can easily find an excise to put me off doing things, though. Laziness for the win!

        And I know what you mean, if they can keep the characters true to themselves readers are far more likely to keep reading. As long as you keep the stories themselves interesting then it’s fine.

        See, I can totally power through a few 300 page books. I can do that in a few days, it’s just getting my hands on them. I have the first waiting for me on my Kindle so I can always give that a try before trying to search the library for books. We shall see.

  • Interesting! I agreed that Night Broken felt like a filler (though it sure was entertaining with the shenanigans with Christie) but I also felt this was a filler-type one as well. A little weirdly paced, since all the action seemed to happen at the beginning and the end, with a lot of politics sandwiched in between. It definitely wasn’t one of my favorites, but I’m glad we’re on track to somewhere now!

    • Are you reading the companion series, Alpha and Omega? I feel like people who are reading both series simultaneously have a better idea of where the series is going, because the events from one series inevitably influence/explain the events in the other. Kind of weirdly planned in that way, since I know many people aren’t reading A&O.

      It’s crazy to think that the series has nine books out now! Hopefully the tenth book is fantastic so the series doesn’t start feeling played-out. 🙂

  • Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    Another series I haven’t started 🙂 Some year/decade I might start catching up

    • Ha! This is how I feel about all those long-running high/epic fantasy series like Michael J. Sullivan’s books.

  • stupid pack *mutters something* But I am glad it works out

    • Ugh, too right! Thankfully they’ve finally got their act together now. 🙂

  • The pack in the last book really annoyed me. I’m a little disappointed to hear that this one doesn’t address the Christie stuff again from the last book. I felt like that whole situation hadn’t been completely wrapped up at the end of the previous book.

    • It does sort of address the Christie issues, but yeah…not as thoroughly as I wanted it to. Adam is usually pretty great these days (latter half of the series) but he’s a real dumbass when it comes to his ex-wife. And I don’t get the pack’s obsession with her either – it’s not as though they were the ones married to her!

  • Ooh, I’m really excited to go back and reread these and then get to the new ones now!
    Great review!

    • Thanks Annika! Welcome. 🙂

      I’m a big fan of this series, and the great thing about it is how quickly you can catch up because the books are such easy reads!