Smoke Bitten

(Mercy Thompson #12)

4.5  stars, actually.

Thank you Patty, for the gift of a new Mercy Thompson Hauptman book during the covid-19 lockdown. I don’t think I’ve felt excitement or pleasure at anything except for a strawberry shortcake made with fresh cream since this lockdown started.

But opening Mercy Thompson’s world and getting to see Adam, and a bit of Sherwood, Stephan, Tad, Wulfe, Bran and even (but no, that’s a spoiler so I won’t say it, but an old friend I thought we’d seen the last of) was just simply awesome.

Everything you read Mercy Thompson books for are here: Mercy’s non-nonsense approach to pack dynamics and politics, her love and teasing of Adam, politics that take into account witches, vampires, the werewolves, her own pack’s separation from the Marrock, and for this book most of all: fae.

It’s a fae-centric book with most of the issues instigated by fae players. There’s even a well-known fairytale that plays a part– of course changed utterly by Patty’s authorial ingenuity.

Mercy and her pack has multiple problems. There’s another pack nipping at the edges of their territory putting loved ones at risk, an unidentified monster taking out folks, and more inner pack issues because of Adam’s ex-wife. But also something’s up with Adam and while my romantic heart takes a bit of a beating here, it was well done and served to keep their romance fresh. (beware the waking of the nudge).

Mercy does a lot of thinking and planning and theorizing by herself. The biggest change in this book that i see is the loss of many of her friends/pack members as actors, most everyone was passive either because they are lower pack, young, or taken out by baddies. Mercy felt as alone in this book as she was in Europe which was strange because she also reaches out to many for advice.

The climax of the big bad scene was awesome! However,….after that there are some time jumps and summarizing of stuff I didn’t care for, and some open-ended leaving of issues that do not get resolved. I know that means more books, but I wished for some resolutions (we still don’t know who Sherwood is at the end of this  for example).

Anyway, it’s a pleasure for all Mercy Thompson fans. As I usually say, don’t read this one without reading the others in order so you understand the in-jokes, references, and history behind many decisions.