I was lucky enough to read an advanced copy of Patricia Briggs' ninth Mercy Thompson book, Fire Touched. I really enjoy the Mercy books. They are like meeting up with an old friend after a long separation. You just pick up right where you left off and it's like you were never apart. I love my time catching up with Mercy, Adam, Jesse, and the rest of the pack. Fire Touched is a great addition to the series. We meet some new characters, catch up with some old ones, and encounter a few surprises along the way. I don't want to give anything away so, I will try to keep this as spoiler free as possible. Keep reading after the jump to see what I though about the newest Mercy book!
As I said above, I really cherish my visits with Mercy and the gang. Fire Touched is no exception. I actually liked this one more than I liked the last installment, Night Broken, which I enjoyed quite a bit. Just like with Night Broken, I wish I had had the time to reread at least the last book, if not the whole series. I just didn't have the time. Plus, it's been two years since the last Mercy book, so I had forgotten to look at release dates and this one crept up on me. But, as I said in my Night Broken review, Ms. Briggs is great at slipping in enough details to remind you of what's happened in the past so rereading isn't an absolute necessity. I still wish I had time for it, and I may go back and do that reread, including this one, once I'm done with my Chicagoland Vampires reread. Anyway, Fire Touched has a great story, great new characters, and some interesting long term developments. It's a great addition to the series that opens up a lot of possibilities for future books.
As I said above, I love catching up with the Pack during these books. I love hearing from Ben, Warren, Darryl, Honey, and the rest of the gang. The one downside to this book is there wasn't much time with the Pack. We, of course, saw them. But, we didn't get to spend much time with them, except for Darryl and Warren. My beloved foul-mouthed Ben made only a brief appearance. We do see their new submissive wolf, Zach, a fair bit. He is a nice addition to the pack, especially after Peter's untimely death. We also see the newest, non-werewolf pack member, Joel, a lot as well. His fiery presence makes itself known several times throughout the books. One thing I loved about this book was how much time we spent with Tad and Zee. This book is Fae-centric. That means Tad and Zee are central figures in the story. It was really great to see them after their isolation of the last couple of books. We also see a few other minor characters that we've seen before. Some fae, a vampire, some humans. We can't get through a book without an appearance from Adam's ex Christy, as well. She's always a....treat. I really hope that someday, we can get through a book without Christy's unique brand of manipulation and grief. Christy aside, this book is chock full of appearances from plenty of Mercy's friends and acquaintances. These people are Mercy's greatest assets. They are how she has gotten as far as she has. Alpha husband and Pack membership aside, her friends, both Pack and non, are the one that will keep her alive and safe.
In addition to revisiting old characters, we meet some new ones as well. First and foremost, is the titular fire touched boy, Aiden. He was kidnapped long ago by the Fae and was given powers by one of the Fae we are acquainted with, Underhill. Aiden looks like he's around 10 years old. But, he's been off with the Fae for longer than he remembers, so while he looks young, he absolutely isn't. After his escape from the Fae, he comes across Mercy and Adam, who decide to protect him, no matter the cost. Aiden is interesting. Young, but not young, old but not old. He's quite an enigma. I think you might just like him in the end, regardless of your opinion of him at the start. We also meet a new wolf, sent to the pack by Bran. I can't wait to see where Ms. Briggs takes his character, she obviously has plans for him. We meet quite a few Fae and Fae creatures as well. One Fae princess and quite a few Grey Lords, that we haven't seen before. As always, the Fae are infuriating and intriguing. And, of course, I'm sure this won't be the last we see of some of these Fae.
Mercy has a unique set of alliances, from the Pack to Stefan to Tad and Zee. This book will call on several of those alliances before it's conclusion. The Pack, is, as always, called upon to do battle several times. Tad and Zee are featured prominently and are very influential to the story line. Several new alliances are formed in this book as well, for better or worse. I won't go into too much detail, so as to not spoil anything. I will say that some of these alliances could be extremely useful. They could also be extremely harmful. One of Mercy and Adam's more notable alliances is tested past it's breaking point. It is also not resolved by the end of the book. Could it be a permanent dissolution? We will have to wait and see.
While Mercy suffers this (I think) temporary loss of an alliance, she suffers a permanent loss as well. I am not going to tell you anything else. I will say that this will be a hard loss to bear with potentially far reaching consequences. But, as she usually does, Mercy bears the loss well. At least, as well as can be expected. Others may not handle news of this loss so well. But, that will have to wait until the next book. I supposed Ms. Briggs could pull a comic-book style resurrection to correct this. That's not usually her style. But, with the Fae around, who knows what is possible.
All in all, this is a great addition to the Mercy Thompson series. It has all of the classic Mercy elements, plus some new things to make it interesting. I would like to know how many books Patricia Briggs anticipates writing for this series. I like to know how far I have to go before the end. How many questions I still need answers to, etc. But, for now, this was a great way to quench my thirst for Mercy knowledge. I think all of you Mercy fans out there will enjoy it. I know I did. I hope the next one isn't another two year wait.
So, Readers, are you looking forward to this release? Did you do a series re-read to get reacquainted? Let me know in the comments!
**All gifs come from Tumblr.