Book Review: Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs
I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.
Mogsy’s Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Book 11 of Mercy Thompson
Publisher: Ace (May 7, 2019)
Length: 368 pages
At eleven books, the Mercy Thompson series has become a veritable saga at this point. Pack drama and supernatural politics, this one’s got it all! And believe it or not, many of these story threads are still developing and building upon everything that has come before.
This is the case in Storm Cursed, which takes us back to the Tri-Cities area after our eventful detour through Europe in Silence Fallen—which also means we return to Tri-Cities politics. Repercussions of Mercy’s past decisions have caught up to her, and while it felt like the right thing to do at the time, nothing could have prepared her for the pressures involved in taking responsibility for the safety of everyone living in the territory of the Columbia Basin pack.
As always though, Mercy has the full support of her husband and pack leader Adam, even if some of the other werewolves only barely tolerate her—and only because they have to. But what’s done is done, and now everyone is busy dealing with the aftermath of Mercy’s proclamation, including getting rid of any intrusions on their territory or threats to their people.
Still, some major power shifts are happening. The Tri-Cities area now has the reputation of neutral ground, where negotiations can take place between the US Government and the Gray Lords of the Fae. As a whole slew of important people descends upon their home territory, Mercy finds herself playing reluctant liaison between the politicians and the supernatural community. Meanwhile though, other troubling things are happening around the place, including the emergence of zombie animals and a massacre on the local witch’s coven. With all these fires needing to be put out, Mercy barely has time anymore to put in hours at her car mechanic day job, even though the garage has reopened since being burned down a few months back.
I’ll be honest—this wasn’t my favorite Mercy Thompson novel by far, especially coming on the heels of the thrilling installment that was Silence Fallen. After that nice little break, it appears the series has settled into holding pattern again, in that this one felt like a bridge book whose purpose is to establish a foundation for what’s coming next. There also wasn’t one central conflict in the story; instead, there were several all being developed in tandem, which resulted in a lack of focus. In addition, the political aspects dragged on, not to mention how some of those parts felt awkwardly shoehorned in when there were more urgent problems to worry about, like, oh, I don’t know, how about Elizavetta’s entire family being brutally tortured and murdered and the imminent takeover by a rival coven of black witches? It certainly didn’t feel like that bombshell was given the gravity it deserved, and it’s possible all these reasons made Storm Cursed feel comparatively less engaging than some of the books that came before.
That said, if you’re still following the series at this point, you’ll know what a delight these characters are to follow. It’s impossible for Patricia Briggs to write a bad Mercy Thompson book in my eyes, because each volume always introduces something new and interesting. One of my favorite aspects is seeing all the relationships develop, not just on a personal level between characters but also on a larger scale between all the paranormal communities (Fae, Witches, Werewolves, etc.) in the Tri-Cities. I also love how this book brought back a ton of familiar faces like Zee and Stefan, while still having room to introduce newer names like Sherwood and Larry. It’s true that all the characters get hard to keep track of sometimes, and even as someone who has followed this series closely, occasionally I get forgetful and lost when the story references some past events. This is definitely a series where you have to be up-to-date with the books, and to an extent also be familiar with the Alpha & Omega universe (which I don’t read, which is probably why I’m at a slight disadvantage).
At the end of the day though, even with the Mercy Thompson series’ highs and lows, each book is still an adventure where you never know what’s around the corner for everyone’s favorite coyote shapeshifter and the rest of the gang. While Storm Cursed was a bit of a mixed bag, with a lot of things going on and sections that were less engaging than others, overall I had a good time, and as always, I can’t wait for more.