(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.