(Orbit e-book, 2007)
I remarked in my review of the first of this series that, while I enjoyed the book, it wasn’t sufficiently different from other such paranormal fantasy novels as to make it worthwhile reading the rest of the series. Then a friend suggested that I try the second, and so I read Blood Bound.
While she’s still mixed up with the werewolves of the Tri-Cities and – in particular – with the pack’s Alpha, Adam, Mercy spends much of this book embroiled in vampire power games, through her friendship with Stefan, with the discovery of a rogue vampire who is also a magic-user. Again, while I enjoyed this, and Mercy’s own unique abilities as a Walker, there wasn’t really enough about this to make it stand out in my memory.
One thing also really bugged me, and that’s the overwhelming presence of men. Mercy appears not to have any women friends. At all. She’s hampered making friends with female werewolves because of the patriarchal pack structure (Honey, for example, is a ‘dominant’ but because she’s married to a ‘submissive’, she has to take his role in the pack rather than her own) – and in any case makes very subjective judgments about them, particularly Honey. Her relationship to her ‘home pack’ in Montana is similarly skewed towards the males because the females don’t accept her. Her relationship with Adam’s daughter Jesse is more maternal than friendly.
So this makes me wonder why Briggs wrote the pack structure like this. Why are Mercy’s closest vampire and fey friends male? While I accept that there are some women out there whose interests and preferences mean that the majority of their friends are men, they usually do have a few women friends. Briggs seems to be so concerned to make Mercy tough, independent and anti-feminine (witness her initial contempt of Honey’s high heels and smart clothes) that she’s in danger of not being a realistic woman at all.
Before Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake books got overburdened with sex and were-creatures, Anita had a few girlfriends with whom she would spend time, and she was just as tough as Mercy. I haven’t read any of Kelley Armstrong’s werewolf-specific books (such as Bitten) so can’t comment how Elena interacts with other women, though one of the good points of Armstrong’s books is the help and support that is evident between the women in the books, whatever their relationships are.
So, having tried two of this series, I don’t think I will read the others.
I’m sorry…. given I’m *the friend*
I guess I saw that the lack of anyone made her a vulnerable person – a bit like ‘Sookie Stakhouse’ she was unusual and certainly believes that she is the only ‘walker’.
She doesn’t fit with the werewolves cos she’s a coyote. She’s not human (because she can inconveniently turn into a coyote) and her ‘human’ family doesn’t accept her… Stefan and his VW bus accepts her for herself.. or is it because he loves her? that’s this second book.. the fae (as Zee to begin with) don’t trust her nose and that the fact she can see through their glamour.. since the power to create a glamour that can fool Mercy’s nose is beyond the power of most fae.
She has tried to hide (as in fact Elena did in Bitten) in a world where she doesn’t quite belong.. by more or less being an outsider…. working as a mechanic (since the coyote shape shifting makes her strong) in a male oriented world.. with lots of rules having come from the Marrok’s pack in a mostly male oriented world with lots of rules.
She is slowly in a sense growing up and learning to trust having never really been able to trust before – after all, the person who was ‘in charge’, Bran, the Marrok, was the one who sent her off (in her mind) when she decided not to marry Samuel, his son.
That said, I think some of the books you read are rather strange too! and whilst I enjoy these ones (and like a CD in the car) whilst pottering around with the android voice burbling through the kindle.. I’m happy that you aren’t so keen!
Sorry if I gave you the impression that I didn’t like the book – I certainly don’t regret having read it!
You’ve summarised excellently why she’s a good protagonist, and I do get why she’s an outsider, and even have some sympathy with it. What I was bothered by was that all of her support structure – such as it is – was male. After all, she left the pack when she was very young, and had been living on her own for some years before the series starts – I suppose I can’t believe that she wouldn’t have made any woman friends during that time. Perhaps my antennae are a bit sensitive after reading too many Anita Blake books, where Anita’s female friendships seem to dissolve and make way for the army of men (or men-shaped creatures) who are seemingly in love or lust with her. I’m not saying that this is what will or does happen to Mercy, just that when there are so few female relationships depicted, I have to ask why the author chose to write her that way.