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on March 1, 2011
One of the reasons I have come to love urban fantasy is the strong, female protagonists. Patricia Briggs writes one of the best heroines in the urban fantasy genre today in Mercy Thompson. Mercy is not only strong and tough but she's smart, loyal and genuinely good, making her a heroine that is so easy to love. In as much as I love her character and don't want her to change, I do want her to be happy with her growly, sexy Alpha werewolf Adam. That's why I was very excited to find that in River Marked we get to see a more romantic side of Mercy as she and Adam take their relationship to a whole new level.

River Marked had different feel to it than the previous Mercy Thompson books. While I've loved the whole series I have been frustrated at times in the past with amount of time Adam and Mercy have spent apart, but in River Marked we get plenty of Mercy and Adam quality time. In fact they are together the entire book. With Adam being so Alpha I half expected him to steal the show and over power the awesomeness that is Mercy but it didn't happen. While River Marked is a bit different from the previous books in that there is more romance, there is still gritty violence and some intense action and Mercy is still the star of the show.

At five books into the series I've become completely comfortable in the intricate world of Mercy Thompson. I love the cast of series characters and so I was disappointed by their absence. River Marked takes Mercy and Adam completely away from the pack and their group of friends and allies right into the heart of trouble. There are a few brief appearances of some familiar characters (Stefan, YES he's back people!) but for the most part it's only Adam and Mercy with the introduction of several new characters, with one or two having potential staying power for future installments in the series.

Mercy's father has always been somewhat of a mystery and her true heritage kind of hazy. Although we don't get any clear cut answers this time, we do get some insight to Mercy's heritage a whole new twist on her father. I look forward to more on that in the future.

While River Marked had a slightly different tone than its predecessors, I welcomed the change of pace and focus on the relationships and romance. Mercy has grown and matured but she has still maintained that edge that made me love her when I first became acquainted with her in Moon Called. This series continues to be a favorite and I eagerly look forward to the next book in the series.
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on March 1, 2011
I read this series for two reasons. One, I adore Mercy and Adam. Both separate and together. Mercy is such a strong, level-headed heroine who can claim her independence while surrounded by pack, vampires etc, yet she is so polite and warm. And Adam - well - he fulfills all my dirty needs when it comes to an alpha male. In River Marked we get a lot of Adam and Mercy. And by that I mean, almost the entire book is the two of them together. I was shocked, and I loved every second of it. We get a very intimate glimpse into their relationship. We see another side of Adam, and wow. What a sweetie. I love him even more.

We also learn a lot about what Mercy is. Her heritage is presented in much detail. At times I found these parts to be very slow. There is a point towards the middle that the pacing slows down so much I got worried for the rest of the book. But then something big happens and the rest finished quite nicely.

The second reason I read this series is for the amazing intricacies of pack life Patricia Briggs has created. I love her wolves, and their politics. How they live so closely as pack, yet are always on the verge of violence. I adore their dynamics and how Mercy has come to fit in. But - we don't get that in this book. Adam and Mercy are removed from pack (or as much as they can be) in this one. I miss that. I know I sound greedy because we do get awesome Adam and Mercy stuff, but I will be looking forward getting back to pack life hopefully in the next one.

Overall I enjoyed this book. Like I said, we see a side of Adam that made me smile. Don't worry, he totally loses it a few times and his alpha, growly, wolf takes over. But it is a very romantic, quieter side we see.

The mystery and conflict are interwoven into Mercy's ancestry and I think this look at who Mercy is and where she comes from really makes you understand Mercy better.

Patricia Briggs continues to write one of the best written urban fantasy series out there. If you don't read this series, pick up Moon Called immediately. You will not be disappointed.
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I love the Mercy Thompson series and have looked forward to each book, but I have to say this installment fell short. The title refers to an ancient evil monster that Mercy doesn't even learn about until more than halfway through the book. So, what happened in that first half? Not a whole lot, as it turns out.

The first half is almost a house-keeping exercise. We haven't seen Stefan since the devastating events of Bone Crossed (Mercy Thompson). So, Mercy visits him only to learn that he, and consequently his menagerie, are wasting away in apathy; he needs a friend to shake him out of it. Then we have Adam and Mercy's long delayed wedding and honeymoon. Readers get cameos from just about everyone important to Mercy. It's not to say I didn't enjoy reading the first half (especially the wedding) - I love the characters and even their mundane activities kept me turning the pages. But, as far as plot goes, this book felt like a short story stretched unnecessarily into a novel. There was a lot of incredibly detailed, and I think unnecessary, description in the story. It felt like every character and setting introduced was described down to the smallest stitch of clothing.

The second half was an exciting read. Readers get more information on Mercy's heritage, the return of Coyote and his contemporaries (Hawk, Wolf, etc.), a great battle and more world-building. The book also had a lot of the humor that makes Mercy so much fun to read - she's not kicking a$$, she's winning through courage and cunning, with a lot of help from friends. Overall, fans will no doubt enjoy this but I'm not sure it's worth the price of a hardcover. Here's hoping the next book gives these wonderful characters, and readers, a more complex plot to chew on.
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on March 4, 2011
Um, well, it was definitely different from her other books. It was shorter, less cohesive, and I felt as if the author was distracted while writing this book. I get the feeling she rushed through this one just to meet her deadline. At first I didn't blink about spending $12.99, but now after reading the book, I would like at least half of it back! Even though I am not thrilled about this book, I will still continue to follow the series. I just love Mercy's humor, selflessness and courage.
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on March 4, 2011
Well, I loved all the other books in this series, so I was kind of disappointed in this one. What I loved about the other books was the diversity in the dialogue, getting to know all the main characters and everything involving the pack. This book had none of that. The book starts off good with the marriage of Adam and Mercy. Then the go on their "honeymoon" and things go down hill from there. They basically go camping for their honeymoon, and that is where the rest of the story takes place. There is very little interaction with the pack, Jesse, Gabriel, or other characters I have come to love. There was no Samuel, Bran, Charles, Zee,etc, though they were mentioned some. There was the introduction of some new characters, and Mercy learns some more about her father. It becomes pretty violent and action packed near the end, but this book just drug along for me. I really just didn't enjoy the plot which was basically a lochness monster type theme. I can typically read a book in a day or so. This one took me 4 days to get through. It was easy for me to put down until near the end. I will continue to read the series because I do enjoy it, but I hope the next book refocuses on the pack, and the original characters.
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VINE VOICEon March 31, 2011
I adore Mercy Thompson. She's what I want in a heroine--she's loyal, she's vocal, she's determined, she's tough yet loving. She doesn't take crap from anyone, which is, of course, one of the reasons Alpha werewolf Adam Hauptman has fallen in love with her. In short, there's very little not to love in such a fierce, demanding, emotional character; yet it is to Ms. Briggs's talent that the other people inhabiting Mercy's world can often be just as compelling. With that in mind, I have to admit that I was exceedingly happy to see Stefan back in action early on, as well as the fact that I got to visit with Warren and Kyle and Jesse. Just wish I'd seen more of them as the novel progressed.

River Marked is different than the other books in the series in that almost 90% of it takes place away from familiar settings and among people we haven't previously known. Mercy and Adam have finally tied the knot (love the surprise wedding!) and have embarked on a perfect honeymoon camping in the woods not too far from home. But this being Mercy, things are of course complicated, and it doesn't take long for Mercy and Adam to realize that the loan of a camper and the offer of a free stay at the campground might have come with a hidden price. The problem? Seems there's a humongous river monster living in the local river, devouring pretty much everyone it comes in contact with. Its minions include some fierce fey known as otterkins, and once it gets a taste of Mercy, it knows high quality when it sees it. Mercy, a walker who can shift into a coyote at will, soon finds out that she is needed to fulfill an ancient Indian tale of a coyote defeating the river devil, something neither she nor Adam are happy about. Oh, and did I mention Mercy's father makes an appearance?

Like many other reviewers, I am so enamored of Mercy and her world that I still loved River Marked despite the fact that it isolated Mercy and Adam and introduced a slew of unknown characters about whom I frankly could not get excited. In a series filled with fey and otherworldliness, the river devil aspect sort of left me cold; I mean, would a town really not mark an area off bounds when families and individuals seem to be disappearing at a rather alarming rate? And while I loved Coyote and the whole mystery surrounding Mercy's birth, I found myself missing my good buddies Zee, Jesse, and even Stefan (though I'm very glad I got to spend a bit of time with him). The story itself is well done but I hope Ms. Briggs keeps things in the arena we've come to know and love in the future; there's a reason she has so many loyal fans, and she needs to have mercy on those of us who have developed such a strong relationship with her characters.

Still, I can't really say anything bad about the storyline, and Mercy is naturally her usual kick butt self. I love the relationship between she and Adam, and his exasperation with her is greatly tempered by the deep bond they share. The author can certainly use the power of words to make us understand the horror of the monster causing harm to small children, and the fact that the monster is virtually unseen until late in the story adds a creepiness factor. I can still recommend this installment and look forward to more time spent with Mercy in the future.
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on March 9, 2011
I love the series and downloaded and read River Marked the day it was released. For the first time, though, I felt a bit let down by the experience.

Pros:
1. Mercy and Adam together in a good way. Some humor and fun without quite so much relationship angst. Glad to see some growth there.
2. We get some insight into walkers and Mercy's family.

Cons:
1. Skimpy plot that made this feel more like a short story gap filler between books. I read this on Kindle and it seemed like I'd just started it and was already 40% through. Definitely more lightweight than previous Mercy books.
2. I felt way ahead of Mercy in figuring out what was going on in this book. I kept waiting for her to catch up, which was frustrating.
3. Mediocre villain/monster I felt was not up to par with previous outings.
4. The only interaction with the supporting characters we've come to know and love was in the very beginning and end. Most of the book has Adam and Mercy on a trip. The monster plot introduces a number of new characters without much detail. I'm not sure if we'll meet them again, and finished the book not really caring one way or the other (with a single obvious exception).
5. Too much description of minutiae in the settings. For the first time, I found myself skimming some passages a bit.
6. Mary Sue rears her ugly head. Mercy continues to get more special and unique by the minute.

Patricia Briggs is still one of my favorite writers. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for a swift return to form.
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on March 2, 2011
So, I have loved all of the Mercy Thompson books so far. The series ranks in my top 3. But this one just wasn't as good as the first four I thought. I still love her writing style, and I love that we got to learn more about Mercy's background - Coyote is a great character, but so many of the other characters were left out or just showed up as cameos. I really thought that the book needed a second plot or a sub-plot. Maybe more about Stephen or Jesse and Gabriel...

I really like Adam and Mercy together, but there is so much more going on in Mercy's world I finished the book feeling a little short changed.

Especially at $12.99 for a Kindle edition!

What was there was good, but it just wasn't enough...
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on March 4, 2011
Hmm.....Well, I am a diehard Mercy Thompson fan and have been eagerly looking forward to her new book - that I purchased at Borders for $2.76 w/my points -but this book fell short of her other novels, which I assumed to be her best efforts.

It was enjoyable but it didn't fit in w/Mercy's world. The tone and sincerity seemed off. After all, Patricia is writing about entities that don't exist. I acknowledge that those authors have to invent and update their worlds frequently. The mistake she made was leaving Mercy's world stagnant. No (except for two characters) development and in books of this type the author also spends a certain amount of time rebreathing life into the main characters. Writers of fantasy and sci-fi books have to constantly recolor their protagonists or they fade away. I felt like I got a B&W outline - like the author was too tired to bother.

I worry and am left to assume that Patricia felt her introduction of American Indian mythology and world beliefs could function as a character in the book. They don't. These stories and beliefs are not news to me. Maybe she spent the time and energy on her research instead of on crafting a Mercy novel. Maybe she just didn't get it right.

In past books, Patricia has brought credible life and backstories to vampires, ghosts, the fae & accompanying tuatha de danann, & sorcerer. Let's not forget the witches! I think the American Indian history that she learned didn't provide her w/the ability to incorporate their ideas and bring a credible vibrancy to that part of her book. It needed many more pages. At least the same amount of time she speant creating the other worlds she writes about.

ONE SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE between her other worlds and designing this one w/Amer Ind mythology is that there is a population of people who believe in them. None of her other worlds include entities that are still worshipped or revered today - in our current times. ???

SPOILERS OF A TYPE
Five things happen in this book: Stefan gets help, Mercy gets married, Mercy fights monster during honeymoon, Mercy meets other walkers, and lastly, Mercy meets her father.

Now, I'm one of those fans that can't get enough Adam. He's the only character from Mercy's world that plays apart in River Marked. So, it was nice to see more of him although we don't learn anything new.

I'm really sick of today's book editors. Don't they read these novels critically for story development? I think editors have put an end to the careers of numerous writers by not challenging them w/positive and productive feedback. Every book needs polishing.

Patricia Briggs is a great storyteller. This novels falls short of her other work. Oh, yeah, there is no ending. Start at the beginning of the Mercy Series and the Alpha & Omega Series. I highly recommend them. This book doesn't fare well in comparison to those that came before.

BAD NEWS - there are TWO sharp NEGATIVES - Patricia has contracted some "Laurell Hamiltonitis." If Bran's age changes one more time, I'm going to SCREAM. And, if the metamorphosis from human to werewolf continues to get increasingly painful from book to book, I have to wonder why they just don't end it and go for a swim. And, how scary is a were-animal that's takes 15 minutes to change, You could get on a bus and be miles away by the time they recover. LOL Right?

I'm a re-reader. I reread all of my books. Ya know, I just didn't care enough to reread River Marked. This deserves 2 1/2 stars. It could have easily have been 5 stars.

It all felt like an AFTERTHOUGHT. Check it out! If you pay for her HB, I'm afraid you will be diasappointed. PB price okay.

Over and out,
UNHAPPY
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on December 10, 2011
Summary
Coyote shifter Mercy Thompson knows that life with her mate, the Alpha werewolf Adam, will never be boring, but even their wedding doesn't go as planned. Nevertheless, a ten-day honeymoon camping on the banks of the Columbia River, alone, just the two of them, should make up for it. But the trip--is courtesy of the fae. And nothing from the fae comes without strings attached...

Being a different breed of shapeshifter--a walker--Mercey can see ghosts, but the spirit of her long-gone father has never visited her. Until now. An evil is stirring in the depths of the Columbia River--and innocent people are dying. As other walkers make their presence known to Mercy, she must reconnect with her heritage to exorcise the world of the legend known as the river devil...

The Good
I truly love the Mercy Thompson Series. Patricia Briggs writes wonderful books full of magic, amazing characters, and one of the best protagonists.

The first one-third of this book really pulled me in. We get Mercy confronting Stefan (vampire) about his self-inflicted seclusion. We finally see Mercy and Adam (werewolf) marry in the most hilarious of ways. You have to love their friends and family for without them the series would not be the same.

Then, of course, the newlywed's honeymoon goes awry. There was some very creepy and freaky scenes in this book. I was actually biting my nails, a nervous wreck, waiting to see what happens.

I loved that we finally get more insight on Mercy's heritage and father. I really look forward to seeing her history reveal ever so slowly.

It was really nice to have a book focus a little more on Adam and Mercy as a couple. We all love Adam, and them together is truly adorable. Mercy needs him and his family, I think. It will help develop her into an even more appealing character.

The Bad
This book had a different feel from the others. I think the biggest problem is that this should have been a short story. I was bored half the time. So much could have been cut out and the story would have had a better pace.

The plot was slightly weak. There were a lot of lull moments that made me want to skip pages. Too many new characters made me lose interest.

I thought I would love this book because it had a lot of Adam and Mercy together. But Briggs really didn't capitalize on this at all. We only got snippets of them together and the rest was a lot of history and Native American folklore and legends.

The Snuggly
No sex scenes, just the precursors to the actual act.

Overall
I would recommend this book for people who have already read the series as a whole. This book does have vital information in it that will help the series move along. I enjoyed about half the book but felt a lot could have been cut out. But as a stand alone book, it lacks appeal. However, I know a lot of people who loved this book and totally disagree with me. So let your gut persuade you on this one
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