Audiobook Review: Soul Taken 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 13 of Mercy Thompson
Publisher: Penguin Audio (August 23, 2022)
Length: 10 hrs and 33 mins
Narrator: Lorelei King
In this thirteenth installment of the Mercy Thompson series, the vampire Wulfe has gone missing, sending the Columbia Basin Pack in the Tri-Cities into a tizzy. After all, having a vicious and possibly insane killer unaccounted for and on the loose can’t be a good thing. On top of that, he also has a dangerous fixation on Mercy, giving her and Adam good reason to try to track the vampire down before he can do any more damage, especially since the pack is currently under suspicion for causing his disappearance.
But during the investigation, our protagonist discovers that Wulfe isn’t the only one who has gone messing. Her good friend Stefan is also gone, and not long afterwards, their community is rocked by a string of disturbing deaths. Does Wulfe have anything to do with this, if he is still alive? Or are there other shadowy forces in play that are responsible?
There’s something to be said about settling in with the latest book of a long-running favorite series. The characters are like good friends by now—you know their habits and the relationship dynamics, to the point where you’re just as excited to catch up and hang out with them as you are at getting a new story. The ritual becomes so familiar that you might even be willing to let a few issues slide.
This is where I am with Soul Taken right now. There’s no way a new reader can jump on board with any of these later books because there are built upon years of history—and in this case, there are a dozen volumes that came before. This one started slow, weighed down by a lengthy intro precisely because there was so much backstory to cover. Pack dynamics have always been a huge part of this series, and not surprisingly we must spend an inordinate amount of time going through the ins-and-outs of them in every book. While it’s fascinating to watch the way these characters are constantly evolving, sometimes getting through can get a little tedious.
Once the mystery is established and gets going though, things move along at a good clip. I also loved how Mercy had plenty of opportunities to use her coyote form and magic. The intricate plot explores the lore and politics of all the paranormal communities including the fae, werewolves, and vampires, a balance that was well handled, building upon events from the previous books which has always been my favorite things about this series. Between the Mercy Thompson series and also the Alpha & Omega series, Patricia Briggs has created a living, breathing world that feels real and alive, and the events of Soul Taken has simply added another layer to this fascinating narrative, with hefty repercussions that will undoubtedly last for a long time.
Am I getting tired of the lengthy rehashing or the repetitive, rambling internal monologuing done by Mercy every time we start a new book? Okay, maybe a little. I do love these characters and getting to know them, but at the same time, let’s get real—at book 13, everyone still reading the series will have also read all the previous books and know what’s up. We can probably skip the formalities and head straight into the action.
Still, despite the slow takeoff, I did really enjoy Soul Taken. Ideally, I would love to see a better balance between character development and series arc progression, with more attention given to advancing the plot in each book. The last time the series achieve this was probably in Silence Fallen, and now we just need that same energy to come back because there are clearly still plenty of good stories in this world to tell, and I plan to be here for all of them.
Audiobook Comments: The earlier books in the Mercy Thompson series were some of the first audiobooks I ever listened to, and I owe much of my love for the format now to the narrator Lorelei King whose talented performances made it so easy to get into. After so many books she is still the voice of this series, and she is still brilliant.
More on The BiblioSanctum:
Reread of River Marked (Book 6)
Review of Night Broken (Book 8)
Review of Fire Touched (Book 9)
Review of Silence Fallen (Book 10)
Review of Storm Cursed (Book 11)
Review of Smoke Bitten (Book 12)
Review of Shifting Shadows (Anthology)